If you’re searching for a new internet service provider (ISP), you likely have several questions. It’s not easy to find the best internet provider for your needs, especially if you have several options in your area. You’ll most likely want high wi fi speeds if you’re an online gamer or if you frequently use streaming services, but how much speed is enough? Many internet providers tend to bundle internet with other services, and you may wonder if you really need those (especially cable TV if you’re a streamer with cable internet). You may find that you now need broadband internet at home in order to work thanks to the coronavirus, but if you’ve never bought internet service before, you likely don’t know where to start. Fortunately, you can break down finding an ISP into just a few steps. Here’s how to go about it simply and effectively.

Research what’s available in your suburb.

The most important step is to find out what’s actually available to you since not every ISP is in every area. In fact, this is one of the most common complaints from internet customers. Some people are forced to use a company they’d rather not simply because they’re the only option. If you’re open to different types of the internet (cable, phone lines, satellite, etc.) then you may have better luck finding a provider.

People in rural areas generally have a harder time finding options, and you may be forced to go with either fixed wireless or satellite internet. While it has been controversial, the Australia NBN seeks to make broadband available in some for to all areas, so if good internet connections aren’t available right now, they likely will be soon. It’s also important to do your research to see what internet providers have promotional periods. These aren’t always advertised, and you may be able to get faster speeds for cheaper than you think.

Find out what your needs are.

You likely don’t want to overpay for an internet plan that goes beyond what you need, but it could be even worse to sign up for a plan that can’t handle your needs. This is why it’s crucial to determine how much speed you actually need. The Federal Communications Commission recommends a minimum speed of 15 Mbps for online streaming or for homes with multiple users.

Broadband internet is generally defined as any plan with speeds of 25 Mbps or greater, and this speed is fine for many households. You may need greater download speeds or upload speeds depending on what you’re planning to do. If you create videos or live stream content regularly, you’ll definitely want to prioritize upload speed. The highest speeds available reach up to 2 Gbps and are provided by Xfinity in certain areas, but it’s unlikely for your household to need anything above 200 Mbps. At least 25 Mbps will be needed if you plan to stream in 4k or play online games without lag.

Read reviews.

One of the best ways to learn more about the ISPs in your area is to check up on their customer satisfaction levels. This will give you a better idea as to whether they reliably offer the speeds they claim to and if there are any unpleasantries hidden in the fine print. Speaking of contracts, if you’re switching from an ISP it’s important to find out if you’ll face penalties for termination.

Compare plans.

Once you’ve found an internet service provider you think you’ll be happy with, it’s time to start comparing each of their plans. Most will offer several tiers, and you’ll want to find the one that best meets your speed requirements and is within your price range. Most will offer an option that just includes the internet if you don’t want to spend the extra money on bundled services. Compare internet providers easily with iSelect to find the plan that’s right for you.