Choosing an Internet Provider to Meet Your Needs

Choosing an Internet Provider to Meet Your Needs
An illustration file photograph shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and a laptop screen. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)
Mike Valles
When you want internet access, you want it to be fast and inexpensive. Because so many companies offer internet services in many areas, it's hard to find the best internet deals. Fortunately, many internet providers offer packages that vary enough that you can find one that will match your needs better than other ones.

Free Internet

President Joe Biden created a bipartisan government program called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which became law in November 2021. Part of the program released funds to enable many Americans to get low cost internet, and some will be able to get free internet service. The internet package is called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This program, which has no end date, replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
The ACP allows as many as 45 million Americans to access to the internet program. People approved for the program, says CNBC, will get a discount of up to $30, and people living on qualified tribal lands can get a discount of up to $75. The program also provides a one-time discount for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer after a copay of $10 to $50. It could be an easy way to get cheap internet because some broadband providers offer packages that cost less than $30.

Internet for Seniors

Seniors can get free internet service through Lifeline, a government program for people with low income. The program is free for people with low income, but you can also get it for a discount of $9.25 to reduce the cost. Seniors can also get cellphone service or a bundled package. At present, it offers unlimited data and phone calls.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) offers the Lifeline program, which enables low-income people to get a free phone with unlimited calls. It also comes with free data, which is currently unlimited.
Anyone receiving government assistance can get the phone. You need to fill out an application, and you must reapply each year. Only one account is allowed per household. You can sign up for this government program at Lifeline.

Many Internet Packages Available

When you buy internet service from a provider, you choose the services you want. You can choose between packages containing internet, TV, computer, and cellphone service. Most packages allow you to use multiple devices simultaneously on the same plan. You can also choose just one or two options with cost reductions.
After finding out which providers are in your area, you need to decide what kind of service you want. There are four choices: DSL, cable, fiber optic, or satellite. In some rural areas, you may only be able to get satellite.

Things to Consider When Choosing

After choosing the type of internet service, you want to look at the speeds offered. The speed determines how fast of a download or upload you get. If you intend to watch a lot of videos or movies, you will need to get 100 megabytes or better for smooth viewing. DSL offers the slowest speeds, and fiber optic internet has the best speeds, but it may not be available in your area.
Other concerns include the cost of any equipment you need for the service, installation costs, rental fees for the equipment, data usage, and possible cancellation fees. Some companies have no charges for installation and offer unlimited data.
  • HighSpeedInternet says that fiber is better than cable. Although both provide relatively good service, fiber optic may give you service that is more even throughout the day. Some providers’ speeds slow down during peak use hours.
  • AllConnect offers a rule of thumb to help you determine how much speed is needed. They recommend dividing the internet speed you have in mind by the number of people using devices in your home. The result should range between 25 and 40 Mbps.
  • T-Mobile offers a test drive of its internet service for free for up to three months. If you do not like it, you get your money back.

Be Careful of Promises

Most internet providers now advertise that you can get 5G services with their companies. Although this is the fastest speed available now in the United States, it may not be available if you live in a more rural area. In that case, it may be some time before you get access to that internet speed—and most smaller cities probably do not have it yet, either.
If you want to know how one particular company’s service is in your area, talk to your friends or neighbors that have that service. You can also conduct online speed tests at to test the speed of their provider (or yours) at different hours.

The Initial Offer

Companies that offer high-speed internet usually have a special low price for new customers. Once you sign the contract (if one is required), the price is often raised to the regular price within three to 12 months. Some companies wait longer than this before raising the price. The jump in price can be considerable, so be sure to find out what the regular price is beforehand.
A few internet providers offer no-contract deals and let you pay by the month. If you sign a contract, AllConnect advises that you know what the early termination fee is in case you move or want to switch companies. This fee usually charges so much per month still left in the contract.

Cancellation Charges

If you sign a contract, you will likely need to pay a fee if you cancel before the contract ends. Your best deal is to get a no-contract plan, letting you terminate it anytime if you cancel. Some companies offer money to switch plans—just make sure that it covers the cost of your cancellation fee if you decide to switch and make sure it is a better deal.


You may also choose to get a hotspot device for your internet service. It consists of a small box that delivers internet service. It may also come with a cellphone, and you pay by the month. Also, if you have a cellphone, it probably contains a hotspot icon, which uses data from your phone.

The cost of internet services is constantly changing because the providers are highly competitive. When you have more than one provider available, check the current prices of each one to discover your best internet provider.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.
Mike Valles has been a freelance writer for many years and focuses on personal finance articles. He writes articles and blog posts for companies and lenders of all sizes and seeks to provide quality information that is up-to-date and easy to understand.