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Choosing the Right Internet Plan for Your New Home

Team FYI

Team FYI on June 30, 2020

Find Your Internet - Choosing the Right Internet Plan for Your New Home

Everything You Need to Know in 3 Steps

Moving is the perfect time to evaluate your internet service—but moving is also stressful. You’re worried about everything from purging your overflowing attic to transferring your family’s medical records to making sure Grandma’s china shows up unharmed.

Thankfully, choosing the right internet plan for your home doesn’t have to be as difficult as unleashing your inner Marie Kondo on that attic.

Whether you’re moving now or just looking to review your internet options at your current home, it all comes down to three main steps:

    1. Decide what internet speed will support your online activities
    2. Determine what providers service your area
    3. Find the right package for your needs

Read on for the details.

1. Decide what internet speed will support your online activities

Broadband speeds are measured in ‘megabits per second’, often shortened to Mbps. The higher the number of Mbps you have, the faster your online activity should be. Most people assume that the higher the internet speed, the better off they are. But not everyone needs lightning-fast internet—and you may be overpaying if you’re subscribing to a service that’s faster than you need.

Consider these general guidelines for an idea of where your household might stand:

    • 10-15 Mbps: Ideal for small households with basic internet needs, such as emailing, web browsing and some music or video streaming.
    • 35-40 Mbps: Great for multi-user households that will be downloading and streaming. Also, typically sufficient for light work from home.
    • 75+ Mbps: Best for heavy use of downloading, streaming, online gaming and other connected devices. Best for home offices that download large files and/or conduct video calls.

Want to get a little more specific? Check out how many Mbps you should have for common types of online activities:

If you want …

You’ll need about …

Basic email and browsing

1 Mbps

Streaming video in standard definition

3-5 Mbps

Streaming video in standard definition

3-5 Mbps

Streaming video in high definition

5-8 Mbps

Light online gaming

3-5 Mbps

Video conferencing

1.5-4 Mbps

Frequently sharing large files

50 Mbps

Heavy online gaming

100 Mbps – 1 Gig*.

 

If you want to complete more than one of these tasks at once you will need to add up how many Mbps it will take. Don’t forget to consider how many internet users are in your home—and how much bandwidth they may be using simultaneously.

*Ever heard of 1 Gig Internet? It’s the speed of 1000 Mbps. With internet speeds that fast, you can stream, game, and connect multiple devices to your in-home WiFi at once, without experiencing delays or buffering. 1 Gig Internet is ideal for the heavier internet user, who wants the freedom to connect at the speed of lightening.

2. Determine what providers service your area

Know what speed you need? Good. On to the next step: determine which providers serve your area with which types of service. There are few types of internet connections you may want to consider, although availability will vary by location.

DSL: DSL is short for Digital Subscriber Line. It is delivered to your house through your existing telephone line. Generally, DSL is the cheapest form of broadband internet available to your home. Most DSL connections are available at different speeds up to 25 Mbps, though newer phone services are coming online that can raise that to 100 Mbps. The biggest drawback with DSL service is that it’s entirely based on distance. The further you are from the service provider, the slower your service (as a general rule of thumb).

Cable Internet: Cable internet is delivered to your home via your cable service. The advertised speeds for cable service are higher than for DSL, often ranging above 100 Mbps. However, the big drawback with cable service is that you’re actually sharing the service with people in your neighborhood, which means that it can be much slower during busy times; that’s rarely true with DSL.

Satellite Internet: Satellite internet is delivered to your home via a satellite service. Compared to the ones above, satellite service is slow, generally sticking below 20 Mbps. If you live in a highly rural area, satellite may be your only option for broadband service.

Fiber Optic Service: Fiber-optic internet—fiber optic network to the home—is available in some areas and rolling out rapidly. It functions much like DSL service, but it can offer speeds up to 500 Mbps in some places and getting even faster as technology improves.

3. Find the right package for your needs

Next up is sorting through all of the packages and offers. Make sure to keep these things in mind while you dive into the nitty gritty details.

Bundles: Many providers offer bundles (combinations of phone, internet and television service). They might sound like a deal, but use caution when signing up—some providers will try to lock you into a bundle with more services than you will use.

Promotions: They sound great at first, but make sure you’re ready to either pay full price or cancel your service at the end of the promotional period. Nothing lasts forever!

Negotiating: Among consumers who attempted to negotiate a better deal, Consumer Reports found that 40% received a new promotional rate, 16% received extra channels, and 12% got faster internet speeds. Don’t be afraid to haggle.

Data Caps: Does the company put a monthly “cap” on how much data you can download? Ugh. Make sure to avoid these providers if you do any activities that use a lot of Mbps (think video streaming, gaming, lots of uploading and downloading, etc.).

Add-Ons: You don’t need antivirus and spyware protection from your internet provider—don’t pay extra for this sort of add-on. Instead, look for free versions online.

Don’t get stuck without service

Don’t get stuck without internet service if you’re moving into a new home—that might be even worse than chipping Grandma’s china.

Find your new internet service provider and plan today.

 

These tips were partially compiled from The Simple Dollar.

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