Tuesday, December 15, 2009

3 Tips to Choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP)

By: William Brooks

When you are considering changing or upgrading your broadband internet service, everyone seems to have an opinion. If you ask out loud for some helpful advice you are likely to get an avalanche of experiences and opinions - both good and bad. Here are 3 tips to help you sort it all out and decide which way to go.

1. Family and Friends

The great thing about listening to family and friends is that you know their personalities and you can put their opinions in perspective. Some people will always defend the product or service they chose to buy. You need to be wary of this type of recommendation unless you can get a balanced point of view from them.

Some people are negative by nature. If they tell you a particular broadband, cable, or Naked DSL provider is terrible then ask for some examples. Try and interpret if their evaluation of events is fair or if they are over-reacting.

Friends and family are a great source of recommendations - just make sure you take into account what you know about their personalities!

2. Online Forums and Chats

Going online for opinions is a great way to get a feel for the broadband market in your area. You'll be able to get a wider range of opinions on providers and plans than what you can find out from your family.

Just keep in mind that those who have negative experiences usually make the most noise. If there are some consistent complaints from a number of people it is a warning sign. If it is one loud, complaining customer, that it might not be worth worrying about. See the nature of the issue and make a judgment. Even the best companies can't avoid things sometimes going wrong.

Forums and chats give you a chance to ask questions to a large number of people - most of whom will have no vested interest in any particular internet provider except to give you their honest opinion.

3. Comparison or Review Websites

Websites that let you search, compare and evaluate broadband plans can be really useful. These sites can save you a lot of time and effort. But just keep in mind that their reviews may be influenced by payment from the providers. Many review sites hold their opinions independent - if it seems like you are being sold to then be suspicious. If the reviews seem balanced, then they are a useful source of information.

Regardless of the reviews, use any internet plan search and comparison tools to help you decide which plans and provider will suit your budget and your needs.


When looking for a new broadband or internet plan do some research on your own. Get an idea of the types of plans and providers that you think will work well for you. Then speak to your friends and family and check out some reviews online.

Evaluate all the information you have, trust your own instincts and make a decision. If you are really nervous about committing to a broadband provider you are unsure about, then choose a shorter contract. Many ADSL2+ and Naked DSL providers offer no contract options.