Spotting A Good Deal From A Broadband Internet Carrier

Modern broadband standard speeds, according to the FCC definition, begin at 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload. As such, any assessment of the value you're getting from a broadband provider should begin by comparing what you're getting to that defined standard. In addition, there are also some other characteristics of broadband offerings which can increase or decrease the objective value of a product. With this in mind, be aware of things like data caps, security software and streaming content available from a provider.  

Core Product Value

The core product of any broadband service is the connection itself, but in most areas there are normally only two providers to choose from. This can make comparison shopping go faster, but only if you choose to limit yourself to your local market. Make sure you compare rates for the speed you're after from other localities in your home state, both from the same provider and from their direct competitor in those markets.

While broadband itself has an unlimited access to the internet, providers occasionally implement usage limitations. These data-caps provide you with a finite amount of digital information which you can receive each month, occasionally applying an overage charge if you exceed that level. Don't be immediately resistant, though, as carriers often choose not enforce these policies. If the provider you're considering has a data-cap policy it's worth reviewing their history of enforcing those limits. While this isn't a firm guarantee that it won't ever be enforced you'll at least have some idea of what to expect.

Add-Ons and Features

While it is possible to find a provider who offers little more than a data line and a stable connection, most providers offer little extras that enhance the value of their products. A common offering is a free download of a computer security software designed to protect your computer from malicious programs you may encounter while connected. Purchased separately, these products typically require an annual subscription in order to keep them updated and effective against new and emerging threats, a fact which should be considered while comparison shopping.

For cable and other television providers, another common additional feature is access to streaming content from major broadcasters. This can be especially nice for users who don't watch much TV but do keep up with a few individual programs, as it makes it less necessary to add video service to a cable account, or search out a separate television provider if you go with a DSL product.

It's unfair to everyone involved if you base your value assessment strictly off the upload and download capacity of your connection. While that's the core product it's hardly the only factor worth considering. In order to get the best deal possible you'll need to educate yourself on the products available in your area, and assess them based on all their component parts.