Editor’s note: This article will be focused on US broadband services and does not include comparisons outside the US.
If you’re anything like us and you’re getting frustrated as you’re watching the cost of your internet service going up every year, then now is the time to shop around for a new deal.
While speeds have increased over the years, so to have the costs. And now, while still rare for most consumers, many are charging overage fees for people that use an excessive amount of data in a given month.
Still, the best thing you can do to keep your costs down are to shop around and make the ISPs compete for your business about once every 1-2 years. And seeing as you’re here looking for information on the best broadband internet deals in your area, we’ll outline some of the best ways to ensure you’re getting the best monthly price for internet.
First, we always recommend comparing different internet plans in your area. The best thing you can do is contact 2-3 ISPs available in your area and getting a baseline price you can be guarnateed if you sign up for their service.
We always recommend starting with comparing at least two of the big names, seen here:
Now that you have a list of 2-3 ISPs in your area that you can compare…
Before signing anything, you’ll want to confirm some of the following things:
- Is the ISP you’re considering signing up for going to require you sign any sort of long-term contract, or can you cancel anytime? This matters for many people, and is especially important if you get hooked into a “deal” price for the first year of a contract. Confirm that there aren’t any big price jumps in year two, where you’ll be under contract.
- Most of the above services offer broadband internet (at least 25Mbps+) for somewhere between $40-120 a month depending on how much of an increase you want to see in your speed. If you’re getting estimates outside of that range (on the high end), we recommend you keep shopping around. Rock-solid internet connections are averaging north of 100Mbps for less than $60 a month now, which should be your baseline.
- Check the list of additional fees. You might be staring at a good price, but then be tricked into being forced to use proprietary equipment or rent only from the ISP, which can easily raise your monthly bill $10-30 a month, depending on the type of equipment. Confirm ahead of time so there aren’t any surprises when you go to get started.
How do I find the best internet near me?
- We always recommend checking to see if you are one of the lucky people who have access to municipal broadband. Many cities don’t currently have it, but we expect this to change in the coming years as more and more voters demand their local officials build the infrastructure to create internet-as-a-utility.
- After that, it’s always a good idea to check with one of the major cable companies as their service, despite sometimes being a little more expensive, being the most reliable. They also often times have better customer service (believe it or not) than the smaller companies that tend to be less staffed.
- We also always recommend checking out local broadband providers in your comparison shopping. There are a lot of regional companies that offer decent broadband internet connectivity as well as have a good support team in case anything goes wrong.
How do I compare the best local internet companies?
Once you have the above information collected, here’s how we’d break down comparing internet service providers in your area:
- Price – this is always going to be the first thing people want to know, including us, when it comes to signing up for internet.
- Speed – depending on your needs, this is going to be the single biggest determiner of how much your monthly cable bill will cost. Faster speeds generally mean a higher bill, but if you’re a household that has a lot of devices that demand internet connectivity, don’t skimp here.
- Reliability – check online reviews for the providers your considering. You’ll see a lot of people who are leaving honest reviews, and it’s worth giving those a look to see what people are saying about reliability. Try and weight this of course, as any company with a lot of customers will probably have a higher volume of online reviews.
- Hidden fees – try and get a full breakdown (total monthly bill) of how much you’re going to end up paying. Look for things like equipment rentals and service fees, as those can add up.
- Contracts – Double and triple check the rules here. We can’t tell you how many times people have gone to switch their ISPs only to be faced with a massive unexpected cancellation fee. Be extra careful before signing anything that talks about the length of the term of service. Be on the lookout for two and three year contracts hidden in your agreement.
Frequently asked questions about choosing the best ISP near you
How do I know if my city has municipal broadband?
Contact customer service through your city hall. You can also check your city or municipality’s local website to see if they have a “broadband” section underneath their utilities listings.
How much is a good price for monthly internet service?
We expect that the average monthly internet bill will be somewhere between $40-100 depending on the city you live in and the speeds you choose. Keep in mind that faster internet will always be a bit more expensive, so make sure you’re checking speed comparisons as well before signing up for a specific provider.
Can I get out of an ISP contract?
You can, but there will likely be a substantial cancellation fee. Always double check this before signing up for internet.