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How to Choose an Internet Service Provider

In our digitally-driven world, choosing the right internet service provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your home. But when it comes to figuring out your options – and understanding technical details like download speeds and connection type – the search for an internet service provider can be challenging.

We’ve created a valuable guide to help you weigh your options and make an informed decision, making it simple to select a service that suits your needs and budget. Step by step, our experts are walking you through finding the best internet service provider for you.

Locate the providers that have coverage in your area.

First and foremost, you’ll need to determine which internet service providers offer coverage where you live. Numerous providers might cover your location, or you may have just a few available. For example, there are usually fewer ISP options in rural areas.

With our help, finding out which internet service providers operate in your area is simple. All you’ll need is your zip code, and we’ll give you a detailed list of local providers and their ratings, prices, and plans. Nordic Energy offers ISP search for a both residential and business, so you can quickly narrow down your options with zero hassle.

Decide what internet speed is right for you.

Many people shopping for the internet assume that the fastest available speed is the best choice. However, depending on your needs, paying for the highest-speed internet might be unnecessary. The ideal internet speed varies based on what you use the internet for and how many people will be using the internet in your home/business.

Once you have a list of ISPs in your area, compare the speeds each offers (and the pricing). In general, faster speeds have a higher cost (although there may be promotional deals or options for bundling). If you currently have internet, running an internet speed test can tell you precisely what you’re working with.

The goal is to find an internet plan that balances speed with cost – you don’t want to end up paying for something you don’t even need and will never use. Here’s a basic breakdown of internet speed requirements for everyday online activities:

  • The most basic plan will likely be sufficient if you are mainly using the internet for browsing websites, social media, and checking your email. Minimize cost with plans that offer 5-10 Mbps.
    • 5 Mbps plans can work well for single-user households, specifically those that aren’t going to be using online streaming or gaming services. 
    • At 10 Mbps, basic video streaming and gaming are possible. The higher end of this range can also be a good fit for homes with multiple users accessing the internet simultaneously.
  • If you need the internet for video conferencing, regular online gaming, and streaming content, you may want to select a 15-25 Mbps plan. 
    • If you use the internet for frequent gaming or HD video streaming, aim for a plan on the higher end of this range.
    • Be aware that upload speeds are relevant for online gaming and video conferencing. 
  • Finally, suppose your home has several regular internet users, streamers, and/or online gamers. In that case, especially if there will be four or more users on their devices simultaneously, a high-speed internet plan is the best option. Look for a minimum of 50 Mbps, and consider fiber-optic internet if available. HD streaming and gaming, video chatting, and other high-demand activities will be possible at these speeds.

Know your budget.

Of course, the cost of internet service is a major deciding factor for most people. You’ll want to find an ISP that fits your budget while providing all of the features you need so that you can be satisfied with your service without overspending. 

The exact price for the internet depends on the provider, the type of service, and your location. Using our ISP availability checker, you can get accurate pricing information to aid decision-making. Keep in mind that many providers offer discounts for bundling services, new customer promotions, and the like, so you may be able to find a great deal.

Consider all the factors.

In addition to availability, speed, and cost, there are other details to consider when searching for an ISP in your area. 

  • Data caps and overage charges: Certain ISPs or plans may limit the amount of data you’re allowed to use in a month. If your plan has a data cap and you surpass a certain amount of data, one of two things will happen. Either the internet speeds will be significantly lowered after that cap (called “throttling”), or you’ll be charged extra for data overage. If you’re concerned about caps and overages, look for an unlimited data plan.
  • Annual contracts/commitments: Some providers/plans require you to sign a yearly commitment, with contracts spanning a year or more. A contract can be beneficial, particularly if you want to lock in a great rate. However, a commitment means you won’t be able to switch to a different provider unless you pay a termination fee. 
  • Quality technical support: Dealing with internet problems is frustrating, especially when you realize how much we rely on the internet today. Research the customer service ratings of ISPs you’re considering, and ask about their availability. For example, is tech support only an option during business hours? Or, is there someone you can call for help 24/7/365?
  • Bundling: Many ISPs offer the opportunity to combine the internet with other services, such as phone or TV. In many cases, these bundles include discounted rates. You may be able to reduce your overall monthly costs by bundling the services you need.

Get Reliable, High-Quality Phone and Internet Service from Nordic Energy

Nordic Energy is your trusted provider for gas and electric utilities – but now, we’ve expanded our services to include phone, TV, and internet! We can help you streamline your search for the best internet service providers, offering the ultimate in convenience, quality, and affordability. Whether you’re looking for basic services or a top-of-the-line bundle that has it all, Nordic Energy is ready to help.

Not sure which internet service provider to choose for your home? Our IBEX phone and internet services provide the reliable performance and affordable rates that Nordic Energy has always been known for.

Contact the Nordic Energy team today for more information about internet service providers in your area.

Image credit: fizkes/Shutterstock

DISCLAIMER: Nordic Energy Services, LLC ("Nordic"), is not the same entity as your electric delivery company. You are not required to enroll with Nordic. Beginning on (effective date), the electric supply price to compare is (price in cents per kilowatt hour). The electric utility electric supply price will expire on (expiration date). The utility electric supply price to compare does not include the purchased electricity adjustment factor. For more information go to the Illinois Commerce Commission's free website at The purchased electricity adjustment factor may range between +.5 cents and -.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
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