3. September 2009 22:57
A common misconception among dial-up users is that some ISP's can provide a faster dial-up service than others. This is rarely true. Dial-up connection speeds are often affected by local issues, such as your land line, modem, and telephone service.
Therefore, choosing a dial up provider is important not because one is necessarily faster than another, but because of the quality of customer service, details in payments and fees, and other important factors. The following are 7 areas that will help you pick the ISP that best suits your needs.
Rankings and promotions. There are many websites who categorize Internet services based on the service quality of various dial-up providers. Search for companies that show up in the top five of several ISP comparison websites. Also, these sites will often link to the ISP’s current promotion specials. Why not get a discount if while you're at it?
Access numbers. You should check to make sure there is at least one (preferably several) local access numbers. Most ISP’s have a large variety of access numbers to choose from, but just like telephone numbers, if they are not local, you have to pay to use them. The telephone company can verify whether or not an access number would incur any charges.
Promotions, fees, and contracts. These factors affect how much you will pay in the long run. If you don't ask all the questions upfront, a rise in costs or late fee can come as an unwelcome surprise later. Is the advertised price what you will actually pay? Does the price go up after some time?
Terms of service. Some of the legal jargon will rarely apply to the average user, but many companies list grounds for termination or limitation of services, or reserve the right to monitor their customer's online activities, etc., in their terms of service. Even if you don't read them, you are still agreeing to them by signing up for service.
Software requirements. Some ISP’s require that you use their software to connect to the Internet. This is not necessary. Proprietary software is convenient, but it is often bombarded with advertisements or not work at all on your computer if you are using an old or less prevalent operating system. These programs can also slow or corrupt your computer, even after the service has been canceled. You may want to find an ISP that does not require connection software for these reasons. Some software is necessary if you want extras, like accelerators and internet call waiting programs. However, these programs could conflict with software already installed or have system requirements not compatible with your setup. You may want to discuss these issues with your ISP before you download their software.
Customer service and technical support. Is tech support free? Is it by phone or email? What hours is it available? Where are the calls directed? Many prominent ISP's like AOL and Earthlink outsource their call centers outside the U.S. to save money. This results in poorly trained agents with scripted and impersonal communication. Essentially, these call centers are a waste of time for complicated tech support issues.
Cancellations. Most companies have a specific method of canceling. If you don't follow that procedure, you probably haven't actually canceled your service. Find out how about the company's cancellation procedure, requirements for refunds, or possible cancellation fees before you agree to sign up.
Once you find a company fits your preferences and you have asked all the questions described above, you will have a satisfactory service and avoid some common frustrations that could arise in the future.
Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, Copper.net.
Copper.net is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at www.copper.net! Check out my blog for more articles!