10 Questions to Ask Your Internet Service Provider
For most homes, internet access is just as important as other utilities, if not more! Deciding on the right internet service provider can be daunting if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why we’ve put together a list of questions to ask so you can stress less while making the right decision for your needs.
Most internet service providers offer different speeds at different price points. What speed you’ll need depends on a variety of factors. The key points are how many devices will be used in your home, and what you and your family will be using them for. Streaming, gaming, and hi-def downloads are going to require higher download speeds than moderate web browsing (email, Facebook, some streaming). Don’t forget to count your smart home devices too! Yes, they use data!
- 1.) What speeds do you offer? What speed do I need?
Every provider will have varying download and upload speeds depending on the services they offer. If you don’t know what your usage looks like, you should ask the provider what they recommend based on your day-to-day habits. Devices could mean TVs, laptops, iPads, Google/Alexa’s, and Nest devices (or any smart home devices). For a quick reference, these are our recommendations:
- Up to 15 Mbps is ideal for 1-3 devices, light internet usage.
- Up to 40 Mbps is best for 4-6 devices, moderate streaming and downloading.
- Up to 60 Mbps is great for 7-9 devices, ultra HD streaming, online gaming, and downloading music and movies.
- Up to 120 Mbps would be needed for more than 10 devices, heavy HD streaming, gaming, and downloading.
- 2.) Do you have data caps?
Data caps are limits that some service providers place on the amount of data that each client can use per month. Essentially, your provider is monitoring your internet usage, and if you go over your set data limit, you’ll either be cut off or charged for overages.
Simple tasks such as email and google searches take up minimal data, however streaming movies and tv shows, or online gaming, require much more, so make sure you know what your caps are (if there are any), and how the provider deals with overages. No one likes a huge bill at the end of the month, or their internet cut off halfway through!
Prices and Contracts
- 3.) What speeds do you offer? What speed do I need?
Many service providers sign you to a contract with a discounted yearly price. However, once that contract is up, your bill tends to rise as well. Another thing to keep in mind is that many providers also have a steep penalty for early cancellation.
Others will provide a month-to-month option that allows for flexibility and consistent pricing.
- 4.) What penalties are there if I go over my usage?
Know what charges you’ll be looking at if you have a set data limit that you go over. It’s easy to do when you have Netflix, Disney, Instagram, Facebook, games, youtube, and all the other streaming services. Make sure you know exactly what your financial responsibilities are so that you don’t get caught with a huge unexpected bill at the end of the month.
- 5.) What additional fees can I expect?
Are there activation and installation fees? You’ll want to think of the extra costs before you pick a plan. Depending on the type of internet you choose, there can be additional fees associated. For example, if you do not have home phone lines, and you choose DSL, you may be charged a rental fee for the lines that are required to run the internet to your home. The fees are usually small, but you’ll still want to know everything that you’ll be paying for.
- 6.) What type of internet do you offer?
Did you know that the internet can travel by radio waves, phone lines, cable networks, even electrical wiring? Though most residential data travels into your home using physical wires. DSL, Fibre, and Cable are the most common, but what you choose may depend on what is available in your neighbourhood.
- DSL utilizes telephone lines (but won’t disrupt your calls!).
- Cable reaches your home via the same coaxial cables that your tv services use.
- Fibre-optic lines are made of fine glass fibres that allow data to be sent at the speed of
light. However, fibre internet isn’t readily available yet, so many neighbourhoods won’t
have access to this type of internet.
- 7.) Is the modem price included, or will I be charged a rental fee on my monthly bill?
Some providers supply your modem price included in your monthly fees, but some will charge you a rental fee on top of the internet usage price. You should also ask if the modem has wireless router capabilities, or if that is another cost you’ll have to factor into the price.
- 8.) Who is responsible for the equipment if something were to happen?
Is there a warranty on the modem/router? What happens if it stopped working? Will the provider supply you with another one, or are you expected to purchase a replacement yourself?
- 9.) Can I use my own equipment?
Do you have a modem, or router, that you love and want to use? Check with each provider to see if it is compatible with the service.
- 10.) What is your technical support like?
If your internet goes out, you won’t want to wait days, or weeks, to get it fixed. Between working, and a lot of our downtime spent on streaming sites and surfing the internet, you don’t necessarily want to be without the internet for long periods of time! Are the technicians local? Does a technician have to come to the house, or can the provider access your modem off-site to assess what is happening with your connection?
When you call your local providers, keep these questions close by. You’ll get all the information you need to know to make an educated, thorough decision about your internet service provider. You want to be happy with who you choose, not locked into a multi-year contract with a company you don’t like!
Make sure to put Apsis Communications on your list of internet service providers to contact. We’re confident that we have an unlimited usage package that would exceed your expectations.