With the amount of time many of us spend online, choosing the best internet plan to meet your needs can have a surprisingly large impact on day-to-day life. Think about how many ways we use our connected devices these days—from working from home, to streaming TV shows, to video chatting with loved ones. Some of us spend the majority of our waking hours online. So, having a great internet plan can do a lot to make life easier for many people.
In this post, I’ll go over a few key factors to consider when you’re choosing an internet plan.
Know the options in your area
It helps to start by taking stock of which plans are available where you live. After all, no matter how great a particular plan is, it’s not going to help you if you can’t sign up for it in your neighborhood.
That’s why before you start comparing your options, I recommend knowing which plans are available at your specific address. You can do this by checking with internet providers in your region. For example, AT&T lets you check availability using this online tool.
Understand how to compare internet speeds
Typically, internet speeds are measured with two numbers: download speed and upload speed. The upload speed measures how fast your device can send information out into the world, while the download speed measures how quickly you can move information from the internet onto your device.
Download speeds are important for things like quickly downloading large files and streaming videos. Upload speeds are important for things like online gaming and video calling. When you look at a plan’s speed, it’s important to look at both of these numbers, rather than just one of them.
Sometimes, the differences can be pretty extreme. For example, Internet 1000 has 20X faster uploads speeds than cable.1 If you were only looking at download speeds, you might have missed that huge difference in speed.
One thing you’ll hear a lot about is gigabit internet. This is just a term for any super-fast internet plan that offers a download speed of nearly 1,000 Mbps, or rather, 1 Gigabit per second.
Take a closer look at reliability
You probably have a basic understanding of what internet reliability is. Anyone who has suddenly lost service in the middle of doing something will know that it’s important. What might be less obvious, though, is that even when you have service, some plans will slow down during peak usage times.
Plans from AT&T Internet provide more than 99% reliability,2 so you know that you are getting service that you can count on. Additionally, plans powered by AT&T Fiber will deliver consistent speeds, even during peak times.3
Pay attention to data caps
Another important thing to keep in mind about internet plans is that many of them will have limits set on the amount of data you can use on your connection. In some cases, this can mean you’ll have to pay fees if you use your internet too much for tasks that are more data-intensive like downloading large files, streaming video, or playing online video games. Before you pick a plan, you should take a closer look at whether or not the plan has a data cap, and if so, how high that data cap is.
Don’t overlook customer satisfaction
Comparing speeds and reliability is important, but it doesn’t always give you the whole picture. There are a wide range of other factors that might impact your experience, such as customer service.
One quick way to get a feel for a provider’s service is to check how customers rate their experiences. Does the provider have high levels of customers satisfaction?
For example, AT&T Internet was rated #1 in customer satisfaction.4 That might be worth considering before you choose a provider.
Good luck and enjoy!
Hopefully, this post gave you a helpful overview of what to look for in an internet plan. Now, it’s time to choose the plan that’s right for you and start enjoying a quality online experience.
This article was written by Matt Johnsen, a TechBuzz contributor. The statements in this article are his own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.
- Comparison of Internet 1000 wired upload connection speed to Xfinity, Spectrum & COX 1Gig service with uploads of 35 Mbps. For more information, go to www.att.com/speed101.
- Reliability claim excludes DSL. Based on network availability.
- Based on wired connection to gateway.
- Compared to the publicly measured internet service providers in the ACSI. Claim based on 2020 ACSI survey of customers rating their own internet service provider’s performance.