boradband internetShopping around for a new broadband provider can get confusing if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Seek out these features to find exactly the right service to support your Internet use.

Availability

Not all major broadband internet providers in NZ offer service in all areas. Before you can start comparing, you have to know which companies are operating near you. This differs from one part of the country to another and may vary depending on whether you live in an urban or a rural area. Make a list of what’s available to you and use it as a starting point in your research.

Speed

Whether you’re checking your email or streaming a movie on Netflix, you want a service that can provide a smooth experience. Page load times shouldn’t be so slow that you can walk away from the computer and make a snack before anything shows up on the screen. Videos and audio shouldn’t skip or buffer. Compare download and upload speeds for New Zealand based providers, and consider how many people will be sharing the connection. The heavier the use, the slower the performance will be if you don’t choose a provider with good specifications.

Bandwidth

Some services put a cap on how much data you can download and upload per month. Playing online games, streaming audio or watching movies can quickly put you over that limit, resulting in hefty overage fees. However, if all you do is browse the Internet, check email and use social media, you can probably get away with a smaller amount of bandwidth. On the other hand internet TV services like Quickflix and Lightbox will quickly eat up your data. This is another case where the number of people using the connection has an impact. The use of multiple devices also affects bandwidth consumption. Plans with a larger data allowance cost more, so start with what you think you’ll need based on current use. You can always upgrade later.

Business Services

Business owners need extra features from internet providers, such as enough bandwidth to support an in-house network, the speed to handle video conferencing, web space for a business site and branded email addresses. Retail locations may require the ability to create a password-protected network for customers to access. All of this needs to be affordable based on the current business budget. Talk with various broadband companies to find out what they offer in terms of business services to determine which one can give you the best deal. You might want to consider a fibre internet connection if your business relies heavily on the internet and speed = productivity.

Uptime

Interruptions in service are inconvenient for home users and can spell disaster for a business. Find out the average uptime for local broadband providers and focus on those that are known for being the most consistent.

Customer Service

Even the best Internet providers can’t promise perfection, but they can offer high-quality customer service when things go wrong. Look for a provider with a 24/7 customer service department that can be contacted online or by phone. Reading customer reviews will give you an idea of how helpful the service representative are and how quickly they’re able to resolve issues. For businesses, quality customer service is even more important since Internet problems of any kind can bring operations to a standstill.

Package Deals

Some broadband providers offer other services along with Internet, such as cable TV and digital phone. If you already use one of these services, you might be able to save some money by signing up for a full package. Ask about special rates or introductory pricing, and find out what the regular monthly cost is when these short-term deals expire. However, don’t get a package you don’t need just because the price sounds good. You don’t want to be locked into a contract you can’t get out of. Indeed sometimes you are better with a naked broadband plan which provides nothing but data and let’s you continue to use your existing phone provider.

Total Cost

When making your final decision, look for the broadband service that offers the best deal for the features you need. Take equipment costs and installation fees into account when determining the price and choose the provider that can accommodate your budget.

Not all broadband services are created equal. Look for a reliable company that offers the best range of features at the most affordable price, and you should wind up with provider that will support your needs in the long term.

Written by Phillip