Superfast broadband? Heavy-use broadband? Beginner’s broadband? Bell Aliant, Rogers, Shaw or Eastlink – what type of Internet provider, and the broadband services they offer, are right for you, especially if you are new to NL?
How will you Use an Internet Connection?
The most important factor in choosing your broadband package is what kind of Internet user you are – beginner, student, family-oriented, business, movie watcher or gamer. Once you’ve established this, you’ll find it’s much easier to track down an internet package that meets your needs.
If you live in a city or built-up area, it’s very likely you’ll be able to take your pick from a variety of Internet packages. If, however, you live in a more rural location, you should check which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate in your area. Unfortunately, you’re much less likely to be able to sign up to a super-fast fibre broadband service in a remote part of the province than you are in the main urban areas.
Learn the Basic Terms
- Internet Service Provider (ISP): this is the company that provides you with access to the Internet – in North America, the major providers are primarily phone companies, cable companies and government entities,
- Broadband: this term doesn’t refer to one specific kind of technology, rather, it’s a catch-all term for a fast Internet connection,
- Internet connection types: the most common connection types are DSL, cable, fibre-optic and Dedicated Leased Lines. They vary in their speed capabilities and in cost:
- DSL uses traditional telephone lines and performance depends on how far you are away from the nearest telephone exchange,
- Cable Internet works over standard cable television lines,
- Fibre-optic lines offer fast and efficient service with better performance than DSL or cable Internet, and
- Dedicated Leased Lines are dedicated (that is, they are not shared) fibre-optic or copper lines that you lease from an ISP. This is the most expensive — but also the most reliable — option because you do not share the line with anyone else and service levels are guaranteed as part of your contract.
ISPs will sometimes offer reduced rates in exchange for a long-term contract. Be cautious about any contract that lasts for more than two years. Services, prices, providers and technologies are changing all the time. You don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract when a cheaper, faster service shows up in your community a year from now.
Some ISP contracts restrict what you can use your Internet connection to do. For example, some ISPs expressly forbid customers with residential service contracts from hosting websites or other online services.
Residential plans usually have low equipment and installation costs. In contrast, for business-class Internet connections, the installation and setup fees will usually be much higher, and the equipment can be expensive.
So how much bandwidth do you need for your Internet connection? Well, that depends on your current usage and your future needs.
Shopping for and assessing different Internet access plans can be complicated and time-consuming. Look for ways to share the work, share best practices, and (even better) share costs.