According to Reviews.com the US lags behind the rest of the developed world in both internet speed and affordability. In Tokyo, Paris, and Bucharest, $40 will get you around 300 Mbps; in Kansas City and most of the US, it’ll buy you 30 Mbps, according to New America’s The Cost of Connectivity 2014 report. So what do you do? Well, the best thing to do is figure out just how much bandwidth you need. To do that go to the FCC’s Broadband guide. Don’t ask your provider. Their first line of customer service is to sell you more product. As an example, my family is a light to moderate user according to the FCC. When I signed up with Comcast they didn’t even ask me any usage questions. They went ahead and signed me up for the Blast which is about ten times what I need.
Now figuring out what package you need from your provider is a little trickier. Take Xfinity for example. The way their website is set up you can’t just go there and find out what package gives you X amount of Mbps at what price. You have to talk to one of them. Why do you ask? It’s because the few telecommunication monoliths have created local monopolies. Your options from the major providers will depend almost completely on where you live. And in order to take advantage of that local monopoly and charge you the most that they can they don’t publish national rates. Check it out. Go out to Xfinity and try to find a price structure before you put in your address. You can’t.
You can do an internet search on “internet speeds” but be prepared to search. The information isn’t compiled in a specific area that I can find as of yet. Here are some of the speeds: Comcast Xfinity, CenturyLink. Once you’ve purchased a package you can make sure you get what you pay for by periodically checking your upload and download speeds. You can do that at Speedtest. The nice thing about Speedtest is that after you’ve checked you speeds you can answer a survey that allows them to track those speeds.
Your internet provider can also do something that is called “throttling.” This is where the ISP slows your download speeds for whatever reason. How many of you have been watching a movie on Netflix when all of a sudden the movie begins to buffer? This could be a case of your ISP throttling you. Lifehacker addresses the issue and tells you how to measure whether you are being throttled by using Glasnost.
My partner had her car broken into a few months back. When talking with the sheriff about it afterward his advice was “don’t be a victim.” When choosing an internet provider don’t be a victim. Do your research first. Broadband Now will help you find the internet providers in your area.