How to Shop for an Internet Service Provider (ISP)

The Internet Service Provider industry has been one of the most competitive and technology powered services in North America. Most USA or Canada consumers operate computers that are operating a PC, Mac or Linux operating system. Most USA or Canada consumers are using the monzilla, firefox, netscape, IE or linux browsers.

There are four basic types of ISP access to the internet for consumers.

The most common is dial-up operating up to 56k or kilobits speeds. There are several international, national and local firms that package the ISP dial-up service with personal home page hosting and email accounts. Many of the firms offer email spam and pop-up blockers to improve the quality of service to their customers.

High Speed dial-up service uses web acceleration software and server side compression programs to speed-up the loading of most webpages. Consumers must run a client side software program that operates in the background on the Users machine. Typical speed increases have been between 3x and 6x on certain websites with 64 to 128 k being the most common top speeds. These compression features usually do not work with secure pages. There are several international, national and local firms that package the High Speed dial-up service with personal home page hosting and email accounts. Many of the firms offer email spam and pop-up blockers to improve the quality of service to their customers.

The DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) service is connected to the internet through an existing analog phone service. The DSL Modem provides a high-speed data connection that allows you to "surf the Net" at 800 kilobits per second. The DSL Modem enables subscribers to simultaneously use a phone or fax machine while online without interrupting data sessions allowing them to avoid busy signals, redials, or cutoffs each time someone picks up the phone.

Broadband or ISDN ISP's use cable modems and offer speeds of 64 to 1GB. These internet connections require modems and routers from your computer to the cable feeds. The cable company ISP usually bundles cable TV and ISP services together with internet phone call features.

There are a variety of wireless internet ISP's with both fixed location and mobile hotspot services. Consumers can choose to have higher speeds with larger allowed data or less speed and data but the benefit of taking the internet with you for local or regional access.

Consumers can choose "phone plus ISP" or "cable plus ISP" when choosing initial packages. Phone plus ISP or cable plus ISP can support or provide voip or internet phone software for PC to PC calls. You have to be careful as some ISPs will lock you into a specific location and you can not travel with your internet phone.

Consumers can shop for monthly, quarterly or annual contract fees. The annual fees when paid at the start can save up to 50% of the cost of monthly billing.

There are independant Internet Phone service providers that are separate from the cable companies. These services allow you to take your internet phone with you when you travel.

Look for the ESL in Canada "How to shop for the best prices" Seminar.

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