There's a lot to be concerned with nowadays when looking for an internet service provider. You first need to decide what type of connection you want, and how much you're willing to pay for it. Depending on your requirements, and how many features you want, you'll eventually find just the perfect access plan.
There are two broad classifications of internet access, which are:
1) Dialup access
2) Broadband access
A few comments on each of these internet service types: dialup access is a slow form of internet access which has been losing market share for many years. The problems with dialup access are many: namely, slow connection speed compared to broadband and many disconnects or “drops". Add to these disadvantages the fact that dialup is not much cheaper than comparable broadband access, and you'll see why dialup internet access is losing out to faster connection types.
Broadband is the next major category of internet access, and can be classified in the following main groups:
1) Cable internet access - very fast access offered through your cable television company
2) DSL - Digital Subscriber Line access - offered through your local telephone company
3) Fiber Optic access - if available - offered through your telephone company
4) Satellite internet access - used primarily in rural areas where cheaper alternatives are not available
5) Wireless internet access - offered through a PDA or cell phone, a rapidly growing area of internet service
Currently, the recommended internet access for most home users is either cable or DSL access. Depending on how much you travel, or how often you need fast internet access away from your main terminal, you may very well also have a Wi-Fi account, or use Wi-Fi hotspots to log in.
Right now telephone companies, most notably Verizon, are rolling out Fiber Optic cable connections which offer 30mbps connections for under $50 per month. This is a truly incredible combination of features and options which promises to obsolete the various current high-speed connections mentioned above. The best part about Fiber Optics is the introduction of Video on Demand, which will allow subscribers to download and save popular video. Fiber Optic connections also excel in the area of high-definition television, so your HDTV will have plenty of channels to choose from.
If you're still on dialup, you should make the leap to one of the available broadband technologies available to you. The more reliable and faster connection will help get you acquainted with a side of the Web that's just not available to you as a dialup subscriber. Recently, a conference was held in San Franciso, that included all of the luminaries of the online access and content industries. At this meeting a broad vision called Web 2.0 was outlined. In this vision of the internet, completely free individuals, enabled by massive amounts of bandwith would be able to run small businesses from their homes and the internet would become a collaborative market that changes the way we all live forever. Take your first step towards that vision today.
Darren McLaughlin is the President of http://www.nccw.net