Finding the right Internet service for your needs
With Bermudas main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) dropping their prices across the board in recent week as the competition hots up there is even more choice for affordable service than before.
Logic Communications, Digicel and North Rock Communications all offer Internet speeds of between one (or 1.5) Megabits per second (MBps) to 10MBps starting at $25.
But how does you select the best one to suit your needs?
Diana Winfield, head of marketing and customer operations at Logic Communications, said that the emergence of Internet connectivity had transformed almost every aspect of life in Bermuda, expanding the end users access to information sources, content and unique communities of interests.
Choosing the right ISP is essential to ensuring a quality and reliable online experience, she said.
There were a number of issues to consider, said Ms Winfield, including network capacity, customer service and support, value for money, access provider/DSL/cable and speed.
The more network capacity your ISP has the more likely you will receive the bandwidth that you are paying for, she said.
Logic is the only residential ISP that owns the overseas international connection (pipe) therefore guaranteeing a quality Internet experience for customers.
Logic prides itself on its level of customer service which Ms Winfield said was key to determining the cause of the issue and helps to restore service both quickly and efficiently.
Above all, she advised asking your ISP to provide a speed test to ensure that you are receiving the service that you are paying for, with Logic troubleshooting modems and/or wireless routers for free.
The faster your speed the more time you save surfing the web and downloading your content but you want to make sure you get it at a good price, she said.
On a comparative basis, Logic offers the lowest cost for the 3MBps and 6MBps services at $69.95 and $99.95 respectively, while Digicel comes in cheaper for the 8MBps and 10MBps services for $119 and $129 respectively.
Furthermore it is paramount to choose an access speed that will support your selected Internet service plan with the option of Bermuda Telephone Company (up to 10MBps), CableVision (up to 8MBps) and North Rock Communications (up to 10MBps).
Some providers are stronger at downloading content and others are better at uploading content, she said. Consider what type of Internet experience you want before selecting an access service provider.
Another deciding factor, particularly for those living in a built-up area with lot of Internet users nearby, is slower speeds at certain times of the day with the peak time typically around 6pm to 10pm, she said.
In terms of wireless Internet do not need to sign up with a separate Internet or access provider, said Ms Winfield, and while it was the cheapest way to get onto the Internet it was not as reliable.
Aziza Ahad Furbert, marketing executive at Digicel, said that the top consideration when selecting a plan was your main use for the Internet.
If you will mostly check your email and update your Facebook page, it is unlikely that you will require Internet speeds above 4Mb per second, she said.
Activities like streaming movies, talking on Skype, or online gaming are more demanding and will require faster speeds for a more enjoyable experience we recommend at least 6Mb for this type of use. Be aware that your broadband access speed and your Internet service provider speed need to match up; you will only go as fast as your slowest speed allows.
Secondly, she said, think about where you would like to use the Internet.
If you will sit at a single desktop computer or use a laptop in one room, you may find that an ethernet connection is sufficient, she said.
If you prefer to use a laptop or multiple laptops around the house, you might prefer to use a wireless router. If you need to have Internet access all over the Island, a mobile Internet solution may be perfect for you. A benefit of mobile Internet is that you do not need a broadband access provider, so you will only have one Internet bill. Mobile Internet plans are denoted by data allowances, not speeds, so you need to make sure you can stay within these allowances in order for this to be a feasible option.
Next, decide who will be using the Internet.
To reiterate the previous point, wireless access is key when multiple people need to use the Internet simultaneously, she said. Likewise, the more people using the Internet connection at once, the higher your speed needs to be.
And how much you are willing to pay each month, said Ms Ahad Furbert.
Dont forget that you need a broadband access provider as well as an ISP, she said. Decide how much you can allot each month to Internet and search for plans that fall within your budget. Remember the first point: your broadband access and Internet service speeds need to match up to avoid wasting money.
Lastly, she said, consider the overall experience.
Ask around to get your friends opinions on their broadband access providers and Internet service providers in terms of speed and reliability. Consider customer service. If you will generally use the Internet after traditional business hours, 24/7 customer care is very important for potential troubleshooting.
Shira Litwack, account manager at North Rock Communications, said that choosing the right Internet service could be a daunting task with all the jargon and often a lack of explanation about the products on offer.
Each person is different so the trick is to decide what you value most, she said.
Some people need blazing fast speeds, others need a reliable service that wont break the bank. One thing everyone has in common is the need for needs good customer service and support.
Ms Litwack said that speeds of between 1MBps and 3MBps were ideal for light surfing and e-mail, 3Mbps to 6Mbps were more suited to streaming standard definition video, gaming and heavy surfing and e-mail, while 6MBps to 10MBps was better for streaming high definition video and downloading music and movies as well as for anyone who has more than three devices using the Internet at the same time.
The first part of your choice is to consider who you will choose as your local access provider, she said. You have the option of Cablevision, BTC, and North Rock.
If you choose to go with DSL or cable then you then choose an Internet provider such as North Rock, Logic or Digicel.
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