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3 months ago
Communications and Internet in the US

Communications and Internet in the US

Connection and communications have become the guiding force for this generation. But to stay connected anywhere, you need good Internet. So, if you’ve recently landed here in the United States or are confused about how to get an internet connection here, or which deal should you choose, this guide is for you.


Ways of connecting to the Internet in the US:


Below are the different ways through which you can connect to the Internet in the U.S.:

1) Dial-up Connection:

No longer used. This was used in the early days of internet when your phoneline was connected to your system and it used to take ages to get online. Remember those days when you had to shout at your sibling to hang up the phone while you were trying to “research” for a school project. Dial-up is not functional even in India, so that settles the topic.


2) Broadband DSL Line:

DSL is a wireline transmission technology that transmits data faster over traditional copper telephone lines already installed to homes and businesses. DSL-based broadband provides transmission speeds ranging from several hundred Kbps to millions of bits per second (Mbps). The availability and speed of your DSL service may depend on the distance from your home or business to the closest telephone company facility.


3) Cable Internet:

Cable modem or just Cable Internet is the way your cable operators can provide internet to you using the same cable that they use to transmit pictures and sound to your televisions. Most cable modems are external devices that have two connections: one to the cable wall outlet, the other to a computer. They provide a decent transmission speed between 20-100 Mbps. Subscribers can access their cable modem service by simply turning on their computers, without dialling-up an ISP. You can still watch cable TV while using it. Transmission speeds vary depending on the type of cable modem, cable network, and traffic load.


4) Fiber-Optic Internet:

Fiber optic technology converts electrical signals carrying data to light and sends the light through transparent glass fibers about the diameter of a human hair. Fiber transmits data at speeds far exceeding current DSL or cable modem speeds, typically by tens or even hundreds of Mbps.


Most internet consumers now use DSL or cable internet, but accessibility of the much faster fiber-optic internet is improving – BROADBANDNOW says 25% of the US can access fiber-optic internet. You’re most likely to be able to access fiber-optic internet in Rhode Island (97.9% of the population covered), Oregon (76.7%) and New Jersey (62.2%).


Mobile Internet?

Very simply, Internet accessed through your mobile phones, is mobile Internet. Without explaining what the technology is, let’s just dive into details. Smartphones are ubiquitous across the U.S. and they are being used more for daily tasks than ever before. The rise of mobile applications and mobile websites (even this is a thing of the past now) has led to a thriving mobile based economy too.

The U.S has good 3G and 4G LTE coverage throughout most of the country. The speeds are also quite good and with the advent of the new 5G coverage, the speeds will get even better.

Mobile data providers in the US:

The four biggest mobile data providers in the United States are

  • Verizon Wireless
  • T-Mobile
  • AT&T
  • Sprint

All the above 4 providers offer varied plans for their customers and you can select the one based on your needs. Students have an advantage of securing Student Discounts too.


Mobile data prices in the US:


Mobile phone contracts in the United States are slightly expensive to what you were used to in India – courtesy Jio. Prices have been driven up by lack of competition and lack of regulation. You can easily expect to pay between $20-$50 per month for a cell phone plan.


Leading Internet providers:


There are a lot of ISPs in the United States. However, only a few have national coverage and below is the list of the biggest internet service providers in the US:

  1. Comcast
  2. AT&T
  3. Time Warner Cable
  4. Century Link
  5. Charter
  6. Verizon


With the vast amount of internet providers in the USA, it can be hard to choose which one. But you need to be clear of your needs and then it becomes easy to zero in on a choice. Once you choose your service and provider, you have the chance to select either self-installation or installation by a technician (usually for an additional fee). If you choose self-installation (which in most cases isn’t complicated) you should receive your kit in a few days. All companies offer phone and online support to their clients.

There’s just one more step before all this. Please make sure that you negotiate with your provider.


Negotiation:


You know how they say; customer is king. Out here, a “new customer” is always the king. Indians are notorious for bargaining and we try to keep that instinct in check here. But it is important here. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. You can easily cut some costs or get extra services by using your natural ability to negotiate. Knowing what other providers are offering you is always an advantage.

Internet providers will be willing to offer you a lot of deals and offers to get you on board. Typically, a discount of $20 or more off the monthly price for the first year is a norm.

But this promotion has an expiry date. Make sure you keep a note of the date the promo expires; else you’ll keep wondering why your monthly bill just shot up. Basically, read the fine print.

There you go. You are now equipped to select the best Internet plan for yourself and your family. Reach out to us if you have any other questions. 

The next step is to get a good, cheap cable connection. How to do that? Well, here's the guide for it.

Here are a few more Guides and Lists that you may like:

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