While searching for internet plans, you need to keep in mind that there is no single internet provider, who can cater to all the requirements of the members of a family. Your grandma might use internet only to use Facebook and to check emails, but you might be a hardcore streamer. You requirements from internet will entirely depend what you need from it.
The prices that you pay to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) are proportional to the speed offered by the service, measured in Megabits per Second or Mbps. However, the best internet plan for you will depend on the number of people using internet in your home and what the internet is used for. To find the best internet plan for you, you will have to find out the internet speed requirement for your home and then compare the available packages from the various providers in your locality.
Internet usage in the United State has increased much in the previous years. The below chart depicts the number of internet users in the United States based on the geographical location. More and more people are in the search of cheap internet plans.
There are about eleven top internet providers in the country and you will encounter them while comparing different cheap internet options. To find the suitable internet provider for you, you will need to consider the following things.
|AT&T Internet Basic 5||$30/month||Up to 5 Mbps speed||Light browsing, sharing, and streaming|
|AT&T Internet 100||$40/month||Up to 100 Mbps||Suitable for browsing and streaming.|
|Verizon Internet||$39.99/month||Up to 100 Mbps speed||1 year price guarantee with no contract plans.|
|HughesNet Internet 10 GB Plan||$59.99/month||25 Mbps||Unlimited internet with no hard data caps.|
|Xfinity Internet Performance Starter||$20/month||Up to 25 Mbps||Light streaming and browsing|
|Cox Cable internet||$29.99/month||Up to 30 Mbps||Streaming movies, browsing, and downloading small files.|
Fiber optic internet providers are capable of providing high-speed internet suitable for various online activities. When the internet speed is more, you will able to do activities like video-conferencing, work at home or remote, and video streaming without any disturbance. So, high speed fiber optic internet would be suitable for such operations.
Fiber optic internet can be bundled with home phone services and TV services so as to save money. Bundle packages comprising of TV, internet, and phone are focused at reducing the cost of the services and also on managing the multiple bills with ease.
Internet speed that you need would depend on factors like the number of people using the network, the number of devices connected to the internet at the same time, and the way these devices make use of the internet (i.e. HD streaming, data transfer or casual use). If you need the internet just to check email messages and to read the news, you will not need much speed. The slowest speed plans will be more than enough for you and you can go for the 10 Mbps plans.
However, if you are like most of the internet users, you will be using internet to stream videos and the 10 Mbps plans will not be enough for you. Studies prove that streaming video accounts for more than seventy percent of the internet traffic in the United States. The below graph shows the increase in the number of streaming video users in the country over the last few years.
In the year 2016, the Federal Communications Commission reported that an average US household receives an internet speed of 39 Mbps and this speed will be probably enough to stream HD content, browse internet, play online games, use video conferring or for social networking.
The following chart that shows internet speed requirement based on a number of people and devices will help you find out the speed tier that is suitable for your family.
|Activity||No of Users||No of Devices||Speed|
|Emailing, Web browsing, SD Streaming||1-2 People||1-3 Devices||5-15 Mbps|
|Music and HD Streaming, Occasional online gaming||2-3 people||4-8 devices||25-50 Mbps|
|HD and 4K Streaming, real-time gaming, video conferencing||3-5 people||8-10 Devices||50-100 Mbps|
|HD and 4K Streaming, real-time gaming, Video conferencing, large file downloading||5+ people||10+ Devices||100+ Mbps|
Internet data usage is measured in gigabytes and whenever you send, receive, upload, or download anything, you are using the data. Most of the internet service providers offer generous data caps to users. However, in the case of satellite internet, users pay for the data and the speed, i.e. satellite internet plans are categorized based on data.
The opinion of Netflix on streaming can help you get an idea of the amount of data that you need. Netflix says, “Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3GB per hour for each stream of HD video”. You will not need anything more than 50GB per month for basic web browsing, but for heavy streaming, downloading, or to play online games, you will need to look for a plan that offers at least 500GB of data per month.
It is important for you to understand that the speed and price offered, even by the same internet provider will vary much based on the location. For instance, in Chicago, Comcast Xfinity® offers 25 Mbps internet for 67 dollars per month, but in Houston, you just need to pay 30 dollars a month for the same speed. In the case of CenturyLink®, you can have 40 Mbps speed in Phoenix, but you will get only 25 Mbps in Las Vegas for the same price. It will be good for you to check with the various internet service providers will be having regional monopolies.