Factors to Consider When Choosing an ISP for Working from Home

Working from home is a working model that’s far superior to its old-school alternative in many respects. It saves time, makes one work in a customizable, comfortable environment, eliminates the need for more office space, and makes the commute completely unnecessary. Still, a lot of employers insist on on-spot office work.

In 2020, when the lockdowns first started, many businesses were faced with a choice – work from home or temporarily shut down. Anyone who had a choice opted for the latter. Not only did this decision save their business, but it also introduced a lot of people to the potential of remote work. Therefore, even after they were able to return to the office, a lot of businesses (and employees) chose not to. This is just one of the forms in which the workforce we know is changing forever.

Remote work (or at least hybrid work) is the business model of the future. However, if one’s about to work from home, they need the right infrastructure. The most important part of this infrastructure is a quick and reliable internet connection.

With that in mind, here are some factors to consider when choosing an ISP for working from home. Naturally, comparing internet speed is a simple enough matter, which is why, for the most part, we’ll be focusing on some other, more obscure factors.

Availability and Reliability

The first thing you need to take into consideration is the availability of the internet in question. Knowing who the best provider in the world is might not make much of a difference if they’re not available in your area.

Sure, comparing speed is important, but it’s not the most important thing in the world. You may like both fiber and cable internet, but if you’re living in a remote area with no ISP infrastructure, you may have no other choice than to go for satellite internet. In other words, sometimes your geographical location will dictate your options.

What you also need to do your research on is reliability. For someone who’s just submitting their work online and reaching out via email/IM, this is not as big. Worst-case scenario, it will cause some frustration when it breaks. For people who are constantly in conference calls, have long video upload times (like YouTube creators), etc., the lower the downtime, the better the provider is.

Cost and Contract Terms

The next issue you need to consider is the cost of the internet service, as well as the other contract terms. Now, this varies from one region to another, which is why it’s impossible to just give a straight answer. However, it’s worth pointing out that the cost of internet services for residential homes is never too excessive (even if you do take the most expensive package). Also, since it’s a working expense, it’s far easier to justify it.

The contract length is a huge deal, seeing as how you may not be able to break it before it’s over (if you’re not satisfied with the service). Sure, you can find a new provider and use their superior services. However, you would still have to pay for the first package (provided that the contract is still valid).

Internet Package Types

When it comes to choosing the internet type, you need to think about their infrastructure. Is fiber internet faster than cable? Of course, it’s also more reliable and faster. So, why doesn’t everyone use a cable? The answer is – the infrastructure.

If you have a fiber internet provider and there’s fiber internet available in your area, it will offer better performance. Even if you’re not using it just for work.

So, why are so many people still picking cable? The truth is that cable is distributed through the same wires that your phoneline uses. This means that they’re everywhere, they’re universally available, and they’re considerably cheaper. Because they use an already existing infrastructure (that’s already maintained), the provider has no extra costs. This allows them to further lower the cost and stay profitable. Since cable uses ordinary copper wire, it’s also quick and inexpensive to fix, ensuring that the downtime due to a damaged cable is never too long.

Then again, if you’re inhabiting a remote area, you might have to go with either satellite internet or try to improvise something with a signal booster. Either way, under these circumstances, the infrastructure situation in your area will determine available options (as well as the best option available).

Security and Customer Support

Keep in mind that, via this connection, you’re going to handle business and sometimes even deal with sensitive information. Because of that, you need to make sure that the connection is secure, and the only way to establish this is by paying close attention to their reputation. As an individual user, chances are that you won’t have the technical prowess to “check” their security level on your own. Still, you can’t hide a thing online.

The same goes for customer support. However, this is something that you can check even if you’re not a customer. Sure, they’ll ask for your information, but at the very least, you can check their response time. Other than this, it’s important that you look for reviews and see what other users had to say.

Most importantly, you’re looking for different forms and types of customer support. For instance, do they offer phone customer support, live chat, email contact, etc.? Moreover, you also want to check if they have a FAQ page, as well as how elaborate their answers are. Chances are that you’ll be able to resolve your problems on your own if their FAQ page is a catch-all.

The reason why we have to point this out is that this factor often gets ignored or overlooked. What everyone focuses on are the speed and the cost (possibly even the contract duration length).

In Conclusion

In the end, choosing whom you’re working with is always important. For you as a remote worker, your ISP is your most essential partner. So, choosing poorly would be the equivalent of running a bakery and having an unreliable flour supplier (one that’s constantly late or just fails to deliver). Therefore, you can never be too careful when it comes to the choice of your ISP, and you need to look for as many factors as you possibly can.

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