Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Here's how to compare Internet plans and bundles to get the best deal at the best price.
It’s hard to imagine life before the Internet. Today, it powers businesses, supports instant communication with the world and makes binge-watching a life goal.
When choosing a provider for your home or business, narrow down the kind of service that meets your lifestyle, viewing habits and even area you live in. Rural dwellers without DSL might find luck with satellite, while those looking to stream from a device could benefit from 3G, 4G and now 5G plans. And look beyond price — reliability, contracts and max speeds can make or break what you enjoy.
Compare internet service providers
What types of Internet services are out there?
Depending on your location, you could have the option of:
- DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). DSL uses existing copper phone lines in buildings to rapidly transmit information. Speeds vary from hundreds of Kbps to over 1 Mbps.
- Cable. This service uses the same coaxial cables that deliver cable TV to provide broadband access. You can watch cable TV while browsing the Internet on a connected computer through a modem.
- Fiber-optic. Also called Fios, this fastest option converts electrical signals into light to send data over glass lines as thin as a strand of hair. If it’s available in your area, you can reach download speeds of up to 300 Mbps.
- Satellite. With this service, your provider sends the Internet to a dish installed at your home. It can be expensive, but satellite is popular in rural areas, where DSL or cable is more expensive to provide. Speeds are slightly slower than cable and DSL and can be negatively affected by the weather.
- Cellular 3G, 4G and LTE. While ideal for Internet on the go — for instance, on your phone or tablet — these networks are not idea for regular home Internet service. You’re also subject to overage charges, depending on your plan.
How do I compare services?
To decide which service provider is right for you, here’s what you’ll want to research.
- Speed. Some providers offer better download and upload speeds. If you plan on using the Internet for entertainment or cloud services to store a lot of data, you’ll need higher speed.
- Reliability. Internet outages can ruin your day. Research whether sure your service provider has a proven record online.
- Monthly costs. Plans range from about $45 a month to $80 a month or more. Compare the many monthly plans each service provides, and find out whether automatic payments are an option.
- Contract options. You could save by bundling broadband with your cable or phone service. Some providers even offer lower-income options.
- Terms of service. Confirm whether your company requires you to commit to a contract — and how it charges if you break that contract.
- Add-ons. Bonus services offered by providers include free email accounts with limited storage, antivirus software, and video and other on-demand services. These perks could help you decide between two otherwise similar providers.
- Customer support. Look for 24/7 support by phone or live chat, as well as whether you can access help pages online.
What should I look out for?
Because choosing an Internet service provider is a commitment, making the wrong choice could lead to wasted money and time. Research how your service handles the following:
- Uptime guarantees. Check for rankings of provider speed tests, and keep an eye out for providers that offer credits for downtime.
- Availability. Fibre-optic service isn’t available everywhere. If you’re in a rural area, satellite might be your best option.
- Equipment. Review the quality of modems and other equipment provided by the company. To save money, ask whether you can use your own modem.
- Additional costs. Aside from monthly fees, look into installation costs, equipment costs, annual increases and contract terms.
How can I save money as a current customer?
If you’re looking to save money as an existing customer of your provider, there are a few ways to take action:
- Track your usage. See how much bandwidth you’re using in a week or month to see if you’re paying for a faster service than you need.
- Ask for a better deal. Maybe your provider recently increased its rates or you’ve received a flyer for a cheaper service. Let your provider know, and you could find that it’s willing to work with you to keep your business.
By comparing the options available in your area, you’ll can land a provider with a plan that works for your needs.
Read more on this topic
Starlink: Canada pricing, launch date, features and competitors
Elon Musk’s new satellite-based Internet service promises fast broadband across the entire country. Learn here about how it might succeed against 5G.
Olympus Energy Internet Review
Get unlimited high-speed Internet for an affordable price with this discount telecom and energy company.
Diallog Internet Review
Get unlimited Internet for an affordable price with this basic Internet service provider.
Eastlink Internet review
Enjoy high-speed Internet up to 1Gbps when you sign up with this reputable telecom company.
Why is my internet so slow?
If you’re suffering from slow download speeds or choppy Netflix streams, internet congestion may be to blame.
How to set up Wi-Fi in 10 steps
Getting a home wireless network up and running doesn’t have to be stressful with our easy-to-use step by step guide.
Purple Cow Internet Review
Enjoy affordable high-speed Internet service with this reputable telecom company based in Nova Scotia.
Primus Internet review
Pay zero activation fees and get high-speed Internet when you sign up with this Canada-wide telecom company.
Altima Internet review
Pay less to get unlimited Internet from this reputable telecom company.
Execulink Internet Review
Sign up for affordable fast-speed Internet in Ontario with Execulink
Ask an Expert
You must be logged in to post a comment.