It is only a matter of time before consumers realize that their current broadband plan may not be all that they had hoped for, and start looking for something better. While 2 Mbps download speeds might have been top of the line performance a few short years ago, competition has raised the bar a great deal. Not only are telecoms competing with cable companies to provide broadband access to consumers, many telecoms are now in the business of offering digital cable services and many cable companies have added digital telephone services to level the playing field. Wireless broadband providers and even a few organizations offering 100% fiber optical services also add to the competition, and the results are twofold.
First, speed increases happen at a pace that anyone who ever connected to the Internet via an analog modem will probably find nothing short of astonishing. Secondly, so many companies are offerings broadband services that it can be overwhelming to consumers, especially those who already have broadband access of some kind.
Is It Time To Switch Providers?
There are at least 2 significant reasons to switch high speed internet providers: faster data access and better deals. While anyone who is even remotely acquainted with technology of any kind knows that incremental improvements happen all the time. This means that consumer who purchase a high performance broadband service will invariably find their service to be somewhat slow at some point in the future, at least when compared to newer and faster technologies. Consider trying to use YouTube in HD or upload a few hundred high-res photos to a Flickr account on a once-fast 256K ADSL account and the point is crystal clear: broadband technology marches on constantly and sometimes switching broadband service providers is the best or only way to get the best service at a great price.
Rule #1: Bundle Up And Save Big!
On the subject of getting the best price, one would be well advised to look at their needs and wants before deciding whether a change in providers is worth it. Consumers who use one provider for their telephone service, another for their broadband access, and yet a third for their digital cable needs will likely discover that they can save a great deal of money by opting to have all three of those services provided by the same company. In some cases, such as certain regions serviced by Verizon and/or AT&T, it is possible to also bundle mobile phone service to further increase savings. So, before switching keep this simple rule in mind: bundling is good, so avoid broadband-tunnel vision at all costs.
Rule #2: Read The Fine Print
The last step before actually taking any real action is to understand the ramification of such a change. If any existing contracts are in place, there may be early termination penalties and/or other charges worth investigating. A switch to a new provider may not be such a bargain if a once-free router now needs to be paid for, or a significant penalty is incurred. Reading contracts and service agreements is the best way to understand the ramifications of a switch, but contacting the billing department might also be advisable.
Rule #3: Changing Technologies Is Often Easiest
Going from DSL to cable or a fiber optic solution, such as Verizon’s FiOS, can often be easier than changing from one DSL provider to another or from one cable provider to another. The problem with switching between providers that use the same underlying wiring technologies is that there may be a significant lapse between the canceling of one service and the start of another. It is always wise to have a contingency plan in place, but such plans are rarely needed when changing between one technology type and another, such as DSL to cable, or cable to fiber.
Once all the background research and assessments is complete, it is time to call the sales and service offices of the company currently providing broadband services and the company one wishes to use in the future for broadband services. It is probably best to call one’s existing provider first, as they are likely to offer a good deal in am attempt to retain business, and keeping as many options on the table as possible is usually a wise thing. From this point, the steps required will vary depending on the situation, however the staff at the outgoing and incoming providers should serve as a decent guide so long as one keeps their goal in mind: better service and or a better deal. Do not get roped into buying far more than necessary only because it seems like a great deal.
Last, but certainly not least, enjoy the new broadband service and any services that may be bundled with it! After all, why take the time to make the switch at all without remembering to enjoy it thoroughly?