How To Choose A Regional Internet Provider
When you are choosing a regional internet provider, there are many things you need to consider. You must choose the right provider, as choosing the wrong provider can leave you locked in on a long-term contract, with poor quality internet service, and terrible customer support.
In this article, we outline the things you should consider when choosing your rural internet provider.
The number one concern for rural residents is the potential availability of internet based on their location. You need to find a provider that has the infrastructure in your area that you can connect to. If there are no providers with the relevant infrastructure then you might need to consider satellite internet. But step one is to ring some rural internet service providers and tell them your address, to find out if they can provide an internet connection to your address.
Once you have established that internet is available, it is important to find out how reliable the connection is. When we talk about reliability we are talking about how consistent the connection is, and whether it is prone to technical difficulties or service outages.
The internet service provider is unlikely to give you an honest explanation of their outages so it will be important to seek out other sources of information. Good places to look would be Google Business reviews, Facebook profiles, and other online rating services.
But the best and most accurate sources of information about internet quality will be your neighbors. Given that one internet service provider could have good quality infrastructure in one area, and poor quality infrastructure in another area, you need to get good information about the reliability of their infrastructure in your particular area, and the best informants of that, will be the people that live in your area, so start there.
Customer support is often not thought about until you need it. If you are in a rural area then your internet access may be needed to help you make a critical decision about your business operations. As a result, if you are having internet issues you need to know that you will be able to get help to sort them out quickly.
Check with your potential internet service provider what types of support they offer (phone, online chat, email, etc), what hours that support is available (24/7, business hours, or other), and what kind of turnaround time the service provider guarantees.
If phone service is important to you, it is also good to enquire where their telephone support team is located. Teams located in certain countries can have staff that speak English as a second language and as a result, it may be hard to understand them and to get them to understand you.
Knowing how long you will have to wait to get support, is another important factor you must consider, and enquire about.
The ability to attend an office in person can also be a great way to get support for some. If you are in Kentucky for example, the Broadlinc offices, are available for customer access if needed.
Speed & Data
The importance of speed of your internet depends on what you need the internet for.
- Do you want to stream video content?
- Do you want to download lots of data?
- Will lots of people be using it at the same time?
- Does anyone play online games?
- Is the usage the same during the day as at the night?
Once you know the answer to these questions, you can discuss these needs with the service provider and they can let you know how much data you need, and at what speed, to meet your internet needs across the whole day.
If you have multiple providers that can confidently service your area, and provide adequate speed then price and contracts should be your next consideration.
Price is often advertised, but make sure you look at the fine print to see what contractual terms you are committing to. Often there will be incentives in the way of cheaper service, or included bonuses (equipment and gear) to entice you to sign on to a longer deal other than a simple month-to-month contract.
Month-to-month contracts will often be the most expensive, so you have no other option to consider than signing up for a 12 or 24-month contract may not be a bad idea. But if you are not certain that you will be in that location for more than a year, or have other internet service providers that you may wish to try, then you may be better served by signing up for a monthly contract.
It is important to take all of these things into account when considering which regional internet provider to sign up with. It is important to be very careful in your research phase because there are fewer options to choose from.
The good thing is, you will be able to get feedback from your neighbors and other locals about which internet service provider they use and get their feedback to help you make a decision.