ISPreview - Choosing The Right ISP

ISP Review gives some tips on choosing an ISP

Choosing The Right ISP
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : June 13th 2001 : Page 1 of 3

"Expect to pay between £20 and £50 per month for either unmetered dial-up or broadband dial-up"

Trying to choose the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a little like purchasing a second hand car from your local dealer, you can't take them at face value; everything must be checked first and then compared. This is made all the more tedious by the jargon and complexities so familiar with modern providers.

Thankfully we have some advice that should help you along the way to choosing the right ISP:

1) Know what you want:

One of the first things we find when trying to home somebody to a particular provider is that many don't know what they want. As such there are several things we suggest you ask yourself:

  • A) What exactly do I want to do with my access (E-Mail, FTP, Browsing, Multiplayer etc.)?
    B) How long am I likely to spend online per day, week and even month?
    C) What kind of budget do I have for such use?
    D) What time of day will I be most active online (Peak 6am - 6pm / Off-Peak [all other times] etc.)?

Any answer you give will directly affect the type of provider and access you're looking for, not to mention the costs involved. We'd highlight (B) as being the most important area to ascertain an answer for, you can then try grouping yourself as follows:

  • A) Up to 1 Hour Per Day (HPD).
    Suggestion=Any standard 0845 (Local Call Rate) FREE (No subscription) Provider will do. Don't worry about spending any real cash unless you go higher.
    B) 2-3 HPD
    Suggestion=Much more difficult to cater for these days and it might be worth checking to see if your Telco (BT Especially) offers any 'FreeCall' deals that could save you money by simply dialling a local ISP through its number. Otherwise you may have to hunt around; if it's only Off-Peak access then (A) might still be valid and possibly (C).
    C) 4-5 HPD
    Suggestion=If accessing the Internet primarily during Off-Peak hours then expect to pay £9.99 per month for your usage. If your usage is more varied then anything from £12.99 to £15.99 for broader use ISPs.
    D) 6-7 HPD
    Suggestion=Definitely time to choose a more mainstream unmetered provider and it'll save you money if done properly, again anything from £12.99 to £15 per month should be kept aside.
    E) 8 HPD+ (anything above)
    Suggestion=8 Hours or above usually signifies heavier usage, you could probably get away with the answer to (D) for a while, although it might be wise to investigate broadband technologies such as ADSL or Cable Modems. Expect to pay between £20 and £50 per month for either unmetered dial-up or broadband dial-up, not including any potential installation charges.


By now you should have some idea of exactly what you're after in an ISP, this should get you quite some way to choosing the correct provider for your needs.

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