Do you know how to find local Internet providers near you?
Type the words "local internet providers" into your favorite search engine and it will typically generate a list of the big names everyone knows - AT&T Internet, Comcast Internet, and maybe a couple of national satellite Internet providers.
What you may not know is that those aren't the only local ISPs available in many areas. Should you prefer to avoid patronizing the large conglomerates, you may have other options for an affordable broadband internet connection.
For those who are unenamoured by the sometimes impersonal, often automated experience that comes with dealing with a major internet company, taking the time to research local internet providers can be worth it.
In this guide, I'll explain how independent ISPs work, how to find them, and what to expect in terms of pros and cons.
How to Find Local Internet Providers - In This Guide
How Local Internet Providers Work
If you're under the impression that the big name wireless internet providers control the infrastructure that makes up the information superhighway, you're correct - to an extent. Local internet companies leverage the power of the internet backbone to offer regional service to a specific area. You can compare Internet providers in your area here.
What is the internet backbone? Techopedia defines internet backbone as:
"...one of the principal data routes between large, strategically interconnected networks and core routers on the Internet. An Internet backbone is a very high-speed data transmission line that provides networking facilities to relatively small but high-speed Internet service providers all around the world."
Essentially the internet backbone is the collection of technology and infrastructure which makes up the root of all internet access. Everything that happens on the world wide web must be facilitated through the backbone.
So where do local internet service providers fall in the hierarchy of the structure extending out from the backbone? Communications companies are divided into tiers, in a semi-fluid system with the largest, most powerful at the top and those which rely on the large companies for access at the bottom.
Related: What Is an ISP?