Choosing Your Internet Service Provider
September 14, 2020
Over the past several decades, mobile phones and internet has become an integral part of everyone’s lives all over the world. From purchasing items online to staying in touch with your loved ones, the role of mobile phones and internet seems limitless in this day and age. Given the high demand for internet services, it becomes imperative for consumers to choose the best internet service provider and internet bundle/deals available.
The internet is seemingly everywhere, but choosing the best internet service can be a knotty undertaking. Consumers will need to determine local availability and the right fit in speed and delivery method. Then you may have numerous providers, plans and deals to compare.
These steps will help you choose an optimal internet service.
1. The Need for Speed
First, understand what internet speed or — more precisely — bandwidth means so you can select the appropriate level of service.
Bandwidth, commonly measured in megabits per second, is the maximum rate at which you can download data from the internet to your computer or devise. The more data-intensive activities you typically do and the more devices you have on the same connection, the more bandwidth you will need.
This table below gives you a rough idea of the bandwidth required to do common internet activities, assuming a single user at a time. But since your total bandwidth is shared among all connected devices, you will need enough to satisfy simultaneous activities.
What internet speed do you need?
|If you want …||You’ll need about…|
|General web surfing, email, social media||1 Mbps|
|Online gaming*||1-3 Mbps|
|Video conferencing**||1-4 Mbps|
|Standard-definition video streaming||3-4 Mbps|
|High-definition video streaming||5-8 Mbps|
|Frequent large file downloading||50 Mbps and up|
|*A connection with low latency, the time it takes your computer to talk to the game server, is more important than bandwidth for gaming.|
|**You’ll want at least a 1 Mbps upload speed for quality video conferencing.|
2. Location, Location, Location
Another important factor to consider when either looking for an internet provider or selecting a data plan is the location where you live or work. Most provider’s services do not work well, or at all, in certain areas of the country. If you are in a more rural area, you might have limited options. Only after you have gathered a list of internet provider options available in your location, then get started on the selection process. It is also important to check with your neighbours which network service provider they are using and the quality of their network. This will give you a fair idea about the network service provider that is best for your location.
3. Street Talk
It is also highly recommended to ask friends and families in the community about the network service they use, whether they are happy with it, and whether they face any problems and the questions should include and not limited to –
- How is the connectivity during peak usage hours?
- Do the service providers respond quickly to issues and provide good customer services?
- Is the data plan worthwhile to spend on?
Nothing beats talking to friends on the ground who use the service.
4. Selecting the Service Provider and Package
Now that you know what you are looking for, you will need to sift through the different packages and offerings. Your options will vary greatly depending on your location and budget. That makes it hard to give a general advice at this step, but here are few important considerations:
Many network service providers offer bundles with different combinations of phone, internet and television service. Think hard before signing up for these bulk deals; network service providers often try to upsell and lock in customers with more services.
Do you really need a landline? Can you get by with streaming television from your new internet service, rather than a whole cable package? In some situations, bundling services might make sense, but weigh the cost and value before deciding.
Be wary of the upsell in general: Know exactly what you want before you sign up and do not be tempted until you have done your research on a “deal.”
Often, you will be able to find promotions to entice first-time customers, say one year of internet service at $30 per month rather than $50. You can find good prices with such deals, but consumers should ensure that they do not get influenced by alluring marketing tactics and properly assess the deals being offered before making commitments.
- Customer Service
If you are looking for excellent customer service, look hard. Check online reviews as well as other users of the network
Limiting Data Usage
Consumers pay for the data they use therefore; should try to limit data usage where necessary to avoid having to subscribe to bigger and more expensive data plans. These are a few tips to reduce your mobile data usage;
- Wherever possible, use Wi-Fi instead of mobile/cellular data services. Set your phone up to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks that you use frequently (like your home Wi-Fi) and take advantage of free Wi-Fi hotspots
- Do not use apps or services on your mobile that use up a lot of data, like downloading or streaming video or audio, unless you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. You can often adjust the settings on your phone so that certain apps do not use cellular data services
- Turn off apps or features on your phone that automatically use up data, such as push notifications. These use up data in the background and can easily be turned off
- Manually shut down apps you use on your phone to make sure they do not keep using data in the background. Some apps keep running in the background even after you have exited out of them.
Consumers facing issues with their internet service providers or would like to seek advice or clarifications on any consumer related issue can contact the Council on toll free helpline 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji Mobile App. Alternatively, consumer can email firstname.lastname@example.org