ISPs are abundant, but not all of them are created equal. Even the largest ISPs, such as Spectrum, suffer from complaints that range from poor customer service to bad connections and slower-than-advertised speeds. In our modern world, the success of a small business can almost depend on its internet connection, so why settle for less?

Quality wireless internet connection

What should you look for in an ISP? How do you judge the quality of the service, the company itself, and the connection? Here are seven ways to judge your internet service provider.

1. Price

The first thing you’ll probably look at is the price of your internet service. Are you paying too much for your services? Price is a touchy subject because every ISP prices their services differently. One cable internet company might have a completely different price structure than another company with essentially the same connection and speed.

Additionally, satellite and cable internet usually offer different prices for similar packages. So, which is better? What price is the best to pay for internet? This comes down to what you’re getting out of your service. Is it reliable, fast, and consistent? If it is, you can certainly justify paying for business-class internet. If not, you’re getting cheated.

This applies to personal internet connections as well. Why pay $100 per month for a service that’s constantly cutting in and out, doesn’t provide the speeds advertised by the provider, or is provided by a company with awful customer service?

You can always switch providers as long as you’re not in a contract. Many providers will attempt to get you into a service contract so you’re stuck with them for X number of years. It’s usually best to avoid such service contracts, so you can switch if you’re unhappy.

2. Connectivity

How’s your connection? Was the equipment easy to set up? Were you able to get all of your devices set up quickly and easily? Connectivity is something you should definitely keep in mind when you’re considering a provider. Faulty equipment and connections only serve to cause issues further down the line, and if you’re a small business, you can’t afford to pay for a service that’s overly-complex or doesn’t work when you need it to.

3. Reliability

Even if your ISP’s connectivity is excellent, you’ll still need to monitor its reliability. How reliable is your connection? Does it fade in and out? Does it cut out anytime it rains or there’s some cloud cover? The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a sale or about to score the winning goal on your video game and the connection cuts out. Yikes!

We’ve all been the victim of a faulty connection, and there’s possibly nothing more frustrating than losing your connection while you’re in the middle of something. If you’re paying for a service, you expect it to work, right?

4. Competition

While you’re looking at all of the other factors on this list, don’t forget to look at the competition. How do their prices differ from your ISP’s? Their service packages? What’s their customer service record looking like? You might think you’ve found a great deal with our ISP until you look at the competition and find that you can get the same product with better customer service for a cheaper price.

5G and the Internet of Things (IoT)

5. Speed

Fast internet speed is essentially a must in today’s world. No one wants to wait 30 seconds for a page to load, or hours for files to upload or download. With fiber optic cables and 5G connectivity, speed is becoming the new standard. The faster, the better, right? A good way to judge your ISP is by your internet speed.

Is your internet speed fast enough to allow you to do everything you need to with your connection? Does it fit your business needs? Home needs? Don’t settle for a sluggish connection when there are so many options out there.

6. Consistency

Even if your ISP meets all of the above criteria, if they’re inconsistent, it doesn’t matter much. High speeds and a good connection are great, but if they’re not consistent, you’re paying for only half a service at full price. This applies to the business as well. If your ISP isn’t consistent in its policies, pricing, and customer service, you should probably look elsewhere.

7. Customer Service

At last, we come to perhaps the most important aspect of any business: customer service. How your ISP treats its customers is a good indicator of how much it values your business. Take, for instance, Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum). The company has been hit with lawsuit after lawsuit for false advertising, poor customer service, and a product that falls short of its expectations. Does that sound like a business you’d want to enlist with?

That’s not to say that Spectrum hasn’t improved, but it does prove the point that even the biggest and most influential businesses still need to put their customers first. How do you want to be treated by your ISP? With respect, most likely.

Man drinking coffee while using the Internet

Conclusion

An internet connection is pretty much a necessity in our modern world, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting both the best service and the best products. Using these seven tips, you’ll be able to better judge your ISP an ensure you’re paying for the best service you can get.