There are thousands of different ISPs in the U.S that offer a wide range of services. Bigger ones like AT&T and Comcast each provide Internet services to around 17 million. But there are also smaller Internet providers that only service a small area. Many years ago the main method for getting online access was dial-up, but today there is Cable, DSL, satellite and fiber optic. Providers arent confined by old technology, and are constantly developing new systems and networks. With everything expanding so fast, there really arent many places that dont have some sort of ISP available.
But which ISP should you choose? Should you go with a large national ISP or a smaller local one? With so many competitors, youre bound to get a good deal on what youre looking for, you just have to figure out what you need. What kind of user are you? Are you worried about data caps? How fast does it need to be? Do you want to host a website?
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The biggest reason for selecting a national ISP is the name recognition,and their years of experience. Big name companies dont usually get to be that way without establishing themselves as reliable providers over many years. When you go with someone like AT&T, you can be pretty confident that theyll give decent service and know what theyre doing.
National providers can also offer bundled packages and other perks to go along with Internet access. Its very common for national providers to include Security Suite Software, extra emails, online storage or web hosting services as a bonus for free or a minimal cost. Theyll generally have the latest and greatest technology available at the highest speeds.
The problem with national ISPs is they generally dont provide the same kind of customer service as a local provider. For example, in 2010 Comcast decided to rebrand its digital services under the new name Xfinity, in order to combat poor public perception and bad service. It can be harder to get through to customer service operators, and since they have so many customers, they can afford to lose one here and there more than a smaller provider.
Local ISPs generally provide better customer service. Since there arent as many customers to worry about as a national ISP, and theyre close by, they should know customers better and are more accessible and responsive. Many local ISPs may have been around just as long, and are as well established as bigger name companies.
The downside to having a regional ISP is since the company is smaller, it cant provide the same kind of state-of-the-art technology as a bigger provider. They simply dont have the same amount of time and moneyto invest in newer or unproven technologies. Some people may not feel comfortable going with a smaller local ISP, because it doesnt have the name recognition or number of user reviews that a national ISP might have. Newer, local companies are more likely to go out of business than a national ISP.