Should I Switch My Internet Service Provider?

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Canceling your internet service is not as easy as you would think. With steep termination fees and overbearing salespeople trying to keep your business, it can be quite a hassle. Yet at a certain point, bad internet service becomes too much to bear. You need to remember that you have options.

But if you cancel your service, it should be for the right reasons. Do you suffer from a slow internet connection? Bad customer service? Before you make the switch, you’ll need to figure out what exactly is wrong with your internet provider.

The following guide will help you decide if it’s time for a switch.

What are the costs of switching internet providers?

Switching internet service providers can be expensive. It’s in the provider’s best interest to keep you on board paying your bill each month, so they won’t make the switching experience easy.

Before you take any action, you’ll want to explore your service agreement to answer the following questions:

What is the cost of early cancellation?

Most internet service providers charge a fee for cancelling your service before your contract ends. Amounts vary, but big ISPs tend to charge big money. For example, AT&T’s early termination fee costs around $180 while XFinity charges $230 for early cancellation.

What are the terms of your contract?

Different internet providers lock you into different types of contracts. Some providers offer you month-to-month contracts, but this is becoming increasingly rare. Most internet providers, including AT&T and XFinity, generally have you agree to a one-year contract. However, some providers like Frontier have 2-year contracts, while others may have even longer terms.

Read over the paperwork you received when you first purchased internet service to find out the exact terms. If you only have a month or two to go on your contract, it might be worth sticking it out to avoid early termination fees.

Will you need new equipment?

Many people rent modems from their providers for a monthly fee. Once service is cancelled, those modems usually need to be returned. In other situations, your old modem may not be compatible with your new internet provider. Before you make the switch, figure out if you’ll need to purchase a new modem. While a modem isn’t a dealbreaker, you’ll want to be aware of any additional costs.

What are my options?

It might seem like your internet service provider is the worst, but the truth is that your new provider might not be much better.

Not all providers are created equal so it should be a top priority to carefully research the internet service offerings in your area. Here are a few things to look at when choosing a new internet provider:

Speed

Few things are more irritating than a slow internet connection. As video streaming has become more popular, it’s more important than ever to have a speedy connection. Netflix recommends having at least a 3Mbps connection for standard-quality streams and 5Mbps for high-definition streams. Comcast consistently ranks at the top for their speedy service, which averages 10Mbps in some areas.

Upfront Costs

Along with paying to end your service, you’ll have to pay to begin service. Normally, internet service providers charge installation, setup and activation fees, which vary by provider. Compare providers in your area and see which can get you the best deal. Sometimes you can negotiate these charges away if you threaten to use a different service. It’s not a guaranteed plan, but it’s worth a shot.

Customer Service

One of the most common complaints about big internet service providers is the bad customer service. This could include long wait times, confusing menus or clueless customer service representatives. Research customer service reviews for internet providers in your area to see what you’re getting into.

You should also explore local internet service providers. Often, they offer better customer service since they’re located nearby and have a smaller customer base to deal. These local companies have the same access to the internet backbone as the larger companies so you can still get a fast connection along with better customer service.

Final Tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you set forth on your journey towards better internet service.

Leave some lag time

You’ll want to leave a little extra time with your current provider while your new service is installed. Otherwise, you may be stuck with no internet service for a few days or even weeks.

Negotiate

Internet service providers are usually willing to come down in price if you play a little hardball. If you feel that your current provider’s price is too high, call them up and tell them you’re thinking of switching your service. They’ll sometimes offer you a better deal rather than see you go. Remember that you have power as a customer.