Searching for internet providers by address can be a great way to avoid frustration and save time and money. You know the feeling - you're busy preparing for a move and asking yourself "How will I get the internet at my address?"
You want to know if there are high-speed internet service providers in your new area, what connection options you'll have, and how to find the best internet deals. In this guide, I will cover why it's beneficial to search for the internet by address, and how to decide among the resulting choices.
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Why Search Available Internet Providers by Address?
You probably already know all of the big names in cable and internet service. You may even know all of the companies which operate in your area. So why bother searching for internet providers by address? Below I'll outline why this is the best way to begin your quest for connection.
- Accuracy: Searching for your internet service by address is the most accurate way to find out exactly what is available to you. Just because a provider operates in your state or zip code doesn't mean that they offer service at your precise location.
- Price: Internet plans and prices vary from state to state, and sometimes even from city to city. Searching for internet providers by address allows you to find out what the rates are in your immediate area. I'll go into further detail about pricing later in this guide.
- Local Options: We tend to think of the major conglomerates first when it comes to searching for home internet service providers. Smaller, local internet providers, have a solid stronghold as well, however, giving you more flexibility when looking for internet options by address. In fact, according to the Daily Dot, the premier online newspaper covering internet culture issues, patronizing a local ISP is a great choice if you're a proponent of net neutrality.
- Convenience: Let's face it, time is at a premium these days and you don't want to waste hours online scouring internet provider websites only to find that they don't offer service in your area. Performing a quick search for internet service by address lets you cut right to the chase and get on with your life.
Now that you know how it benefits you to find internet providers by address, let's take a look at some of the other aspects of choosing how to get online.
Related: How to Find the Best Internet Deals
What Types of Internet Services Are Available?
Back when the internet began, you only had a couple of options in terms of getting hooked up to the world wide web. You'd move into your new home, pick the best dial-up deal you could find, and that was that. As technology has advanced over the years, more and more choices, including high-speed broadband internet, have entered into the mix, making it a bit more confusing to figure out what you need.
Making it even more complicated to compare internet providers by address is the fact that each company has their own way of describing their services. Advanced, enhanced, blast, pro - there's no end to the marketing terms used to try to convince you that each is the newest, best, and fastest internet provider available in your area.
But what are you really getting when you choose internet service by address? The answer depends largely on how big your city is and which technologies have been rolled out there. Once you've decided upon your internet provider, you will be assigned your own public IP address or internet protocol address. This particular IP address is what you use to communicate with other devices on the internet.
You should also know that many of the companies also assign you a web-based email address, though you may reject the email address in favor of your current email address. However, these services do sometimes come with a web-based email that relies on their own servers or utilizes the servers of well-known email programs like Gmail.
Related: Compare Internet Providers & Plans
As an added note, you may sometimes need a Wi-Fi base station to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network. Apple sports a Wi-Fi base station utility - otherwise known as AirPort - but you will reduce Wi-Fi throughput, as it uses more data.
DSL internet is widely available, nearly anywhere that phone service is offered. There is a minority of rural America, less than 30%, which does not have DSL access, however, these areas are quite remote. DSL (or Digital Subscriber Line) works through a phone line and has advanced in recent years to a point where you can actually get high-speed internet via this delivery method. Some broadband providers offer download connection speeds up to 15Mbps, rivaling lower-tier cable internet plans. In addition, DSL provides an always-on connection that allows you to use the phone at the same time.
For DSL service, you will need a DSL modem, but you should do a little research or contact the provider on what DSL modem you might need with the particular DSL service. Time Warner Cable and Verizon are two broadband internet providers that offer DSL internet.
Things you should know when shopping for DSL internet by address:
- It's often a bit less expensive than other broadband options, however, some of the higher internet speed tiers are on par with the cost of cable internet.
- Distance matters - if you're on the far end of the line in terms of proximity to the DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) your connection could be slower than advertised due to line attenuation (a loss of speed caused by the distance over which data must travel).
- You won't lose bandwidth during Internet Rush Hour because your connection is your own rather than shared.
If you see DSL in your list of options when you search for internet service by address, you may be concerned that you must have active landline service in order to get this kind of connection. While that used to be the case, many providers these days - such as CenturyLink Internet - offer what's called naked DSL. Also referred to as standalone DSL or "dry loop", this method allows you to connect to the internet without subscribing to phone service.
As a side note, CenturyLink offers are numerous. If you look into CenturyLink offers, you'll notice a myriad of special deals and offers, such as free activation and shipping, prepaid Visa card distributions, refer-a-friend program, and more.
Satellite internet is just above DSL in terms of speed and is a fantastic high-speed internet service option for those who live in rural areas with little access to other internet options, as satellite available just about anywhere, as long as there are no obstructions to the satellite dish.
For a fantastic connection, the satellite dish needs to be installed in a relatively high place, and the southern sky must not be obstructed by trees or buildings. Satellite high speed internet can reach up to 25Mbps or more, depending on the provider, but more often than not, you will see internet speeds of 10Mbps.
What you should know when searching for cable internet service by address:
- This is a rather expensive option, but if you had the choice between this or dial-up and your internet usage is not minimal, then you should consider this form of high-speed internet access. At the very least, the packages may include an email address.
- Satellite internet is susceptible to certain obstructions and weather. It is considerably less stable compared to cable internet.
- Exede Internet and DISH Network are two types of satellite internet providers. While DISH Network offers speeds of 10Mbps, Exede Internet is faster, boasting high-speed internet connection speeds of up to 25Mpbs. If you want faster speeds, you should do your research on the available satellite internet providers.
Related: The Best Satellite Internet
This form of broadband internet access is the most commonly used type of connection in the U.S. This type of high-speed internet access is available in virtually every urban and suburban area, so unless you live way out in the country you should be able to find a cable option by searching for cable providers by address.
If you opt for this form of high-speed broadband internet access, you'll be able to choose from speeds anywhere between 10Mbps and 100Mbps, although averages hover around 30Mbps, according to data collected by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Keep in mind that you will need a cable modem and a router for cable internet access.
You can always rent the cable modem from the cable provider, but you will save more in the long-term if you buy a modem that is compatible with the provider. Furthermore, you will want a wireless router that utilizes the full extent of the internet package purchased. If that is the case, you should consider purchasing either a Wireless-AC or Wireless-N wireless router.
Cable internet access is the most commonly used type of connection in the U.S. It's available in virtually every urban and suburban area, so unless you live way out in the country you should be able to find a cable option by searching for internet providers by address.
What you should know when searching for cable internet service by address:
- This tends to be a pricey option, although you can save some money by bundling your services - such as with broadband internet providers Time Warner Cable or Comcast XFINITY - if you're subscribing to cable TV as well. Cable TV uses the same technology as cable internet.
- This broadband service is susceptible to slowdowns during peak use times, typically between 4pm and 11pm and on weekends.
- Some cable internet broadband service companies offer free Wi-Fi hotspot access along with your internet subscription. This is definitely a perk to keep in mind as you're evaluating internet providers by address.
One of the main advantages of cable internet is that it provides a wide range of speed options. On the other hand, depending upon your location you may not find any cable internet providers in your results when you search for internet service by address.
Fiber optic internet is the fastest option available to consumers today, with most packages offering speeds of 1Gbps (gigabits per second). The catch is that fiber has only been deployed to about one-quarter of the nation so far, with over 9% of Americans already subscribed. Rollouts are actively continuing, focusing on major metro areas first, so it's likely it will eventually reach your area.
What you should know about fiber in your search for internet service by address:
- AT&T's Internet packages, as well as Google Fiber, CenturyLink, and Verizon Internet (FiOS) are the major players in the fiber-optic network, but they aren't the only ones. Searching for broadband providers by address may or may not turn up independent fiber-optic network providers, but if you do enough research they are out there.
- 10-gigabit high-speed internet connection service is already available in a handful of cities. If this seems like overkill, consider that fiber can also be used to deliver television service, so the internet connection and your TV must share the bandwidth.
- This type of broadband connection is a good option for those who need to upload large files on a regular basis because it provides a symmetric connection - upload speeds are equivalent to download speeds. After all, having fast upload speeds is essential for activities such as video game streaming, whereas fast download speeds are perfect for viewing said streams.
Fiber isn't as cost-prohibitive as you may think - Google Fiber is just $70 per month, which is just about on par with Comcast's high-tier cable offerings. Nationwide access has been slow going, however, the future is likely to be an internet dominated by fiber.
There are multiple types of wireless internet types and providers.
- Portable wireless - The most common wireless internet is in the form of portable hubs or cards which you buy from your cellular service provider. These devices typically operate on the 4G network and range in price between free and hundreds of dollars, depending upon whether you sign a contract. Overall, mobile broadband is expensive - data packages (and the mobile device typically) are not cheap, and you don't get much of it, but for temporary access when you must work on the go, it's good to have a mobile broadband connection.
- WISP - Another alternative that your search for internet providers by address may miss is WISP - Wireless Internet Service Provider. This is a form of home internet access which works by way of a hub installed on one house in the neighborhood (the "host" house), and broadcasting the signal to nearby houses. WISP may also be used to provide the internet to an entire MDU (multi-dwelling unit). While nationwide coverage is decent, the kinks are still being worked out of this technology. Tech experts are watching wireless as a potential source of affordable high-speed internet service down the road.
- Future wireless technologies - There are some interesting things happening in the realm of the wireless broadband internet. With 5G high-speed internet service able to deliver 1-gig speeds over short distances, the problematic "last mile" - i.e. the final connection between the internet provider's infrastructure and your home - could be a thing of the past. So much is still up in the air, but one thing is certain - fiber and wireless are areas of intense focus for development.
How to Ensure You Get The Best Deals
Once you've answered the question of "Who are the internet providers for my address?" you'll want to try to get the best price you can on the service you need. Here are some ways to watch your wallet while you're investigating internet providers by address.
The Mysterious Growing Internet Bill
You may be tempted to sign up for the first promotional offer you see, but don't forget to read the fine print. Oftentimes the lowest introductory rate ends up costing you the most in the end. Once your promotional period ends, you may suffer from an unpleasant case of sticker shock. A $40 per month bill can jump to $60 or more, literally overnight. Be sure you know the retail price of your internet plan before signing up, and call your provider before that introductory period expires so you can negotiate a new deal.
Going with cable internet affords you the opportunity to combine services. Cable and internet bundles, like these here, can save you a considerable amount of money each month. Whether you want internet and television, phone and internet, or all three services, you can get a discount for purchasing all of them from the same company. Find your internet provider by address and then review their packages. If you don't see one you like, you can call and request that they build a custom bundle for you.
Get More Than One Quote
Don't stop at the first customer service representative. If you're not satisfied with the internet deal you're offered, try calling back later to see what the next rep offers you or go to their website for online chat. The reps using the online chat are often outsourced and often willing to give you an even better deal than company employees. If you've researched internet service providers by address and found multiple candidates that you're considering, repeat these steps for each provider. That way you've got a clear picture of the absolute best rate available to you.
If you're not satisfied with the internet deal you're offered, try calling back later to see what the next rep offers you. Try the online chat as well, as these reps are often outsourced and often willing to give you an even better deal than company employees.
One issue you may run into in your search for internet service by address is the variation in pricing, even for the same package. According to Forbes, this is due to several reasons, including different promotions being offered in different geographical locations, and customer service representatives having trouble keeping up with all of the current deals.
Why Are My Options So Limited?
If you've been online for any amount of time, you may have noticed that when you're looking at internet providers by address, your options are different from the company that your friend or relative has right across town. Sometimes you can't even get the same internet provider as your neighbor on the next block. The reason for this, as you may suspect, is that companies tend to avoid each other's territory.
The Center for Public Integrity did an interesting analysis of five U.S. cities which showed that internet providers' areas of service rarely overlap. When you go shopping for internet service by address, you're likely only going to see one or two cable internet companies in your list, possibly accompanied by a DSL and satellite provider. It can be frustrating, however, the state of the industry could change over time as the FCC along with public interest groups work toward encouraging competition.
Other Ways to Search for Internet Providers
While looking for the internet by address is the most accurate way to obtain specific provider names, there are other tools to help you narrow your search.
- Search internet providers by state - this can be a good way to see the big picture of how connection technology is shaping up in your state. This way you can get an idea of what may be coming your way in the near future.
- Search internet providers by city - if you're curious to see whether a specific company or delivery method has moved onto your local scene, searching by city can be helpful.
- Search internet providers by zip code - this is the most accurate method next to searching internet by address. Some zip codes are split up among providers, however, so be sure to check with the company you're interested in to verify that they operate in your exact location.
For a comprehensive overview of nationwide coverage by technology, provider, and location, you can check out the FCC's National Broadband Map.
Finding the best internet providers in your locale doesn't have to be difficult. Save time and frustration by using our handy zip code checker tool to see what's available in your area. You'll see a list of companies that serve your location, along with their most popular packages and pricing. Then you can visit your preferred choice and search internet service by address on the provider site to see if they serve your residence.