Which broadband package should I get?

We get asked this a lot.  We're an Open Access network and it is important for us not to favour any specific ISP over another, so here's is what we'd suggest:

1) Base your choice on your current usage.

Choosing a fibre line speed the same as your current service is in fact quite likely to improve reliability and performance of your Internet connection, purely because it is fibre and the latency on the link is so much better.  Choosing double your current line speed, if you can afford it, would ensure that you see a remarkable improvement. Keep in mind that it is easier to request an upgrade than a downgrade and upgrades are relatively quick to implement. 

2) Decide what you are going to use it for. 

If you do not intend to use it for any new activities, then anywhere between the line speed you currently have and double that, should be enough to begin with.  However, if you now want to subscribe to Netflix, or some other online service which requires a lot of bandwidth, it would be wise to do some research and ask questions around the service and the bandwidth it requires.

3) Personal service vs a helpdesk. 

Some of our ISP's which are relatively small, will provide you with personal service and are pretty flexible, but may not have staff available 24/7.  Others are large corporates with a 24/7 helpdesk and a wide range of services, however won't know you by name.  Therefore, you will need to decide what sort of after service you would prefer.

 4) Reputation and brand.

Well-known brands with good reputations are always a good bet.  If you see a great deal from an ISP you don't know, it's probably best to ask them for some references, ask around, and check sites like HelloPeter, and Mybroadband.co.za for good and bad comments.  Remember that the more customers an ISP has, the more reports you might see on consumer forums.

5) Full service vs niche. 

Some ISPs focus on very specific markets and product offerings, while others tend to offer a wide range of services.  If you prefer having one number to call for all your Internet related services, then choose your ISP accordingly.

6) Contract length. 

Try not to lock yourself into long contracts if you can help it, unless you're familiar with the ISP and you are certain you will be happy to stay with them for a long period of time.  However, that is where the joy of Open Access lies, it makes it easy to move if you are not happy; this only applies if you are not contracted for a fixed term which has yet to expire.

7) Capped vs uncapped? 

If you know how much data traffic you go through in a month, a capped service will invariably give you a better experience than uncapped.  Should your usage be unpredictable and the consequences of exceeding your data cap (and having to top-up) be significant, uncapped may be a better option.

8) Gamer or occasional user? 

Many ISPs manage different types of data traffic in different ways so that they are able to offer products to specific users such as online gamers, or the occasional user who just needs email and Facebook access.  Check that the package you are buying is designed for your usage profile before ordering.

9) Price. 

Price is probably the last thing you should check, but likely to be the first thing you look at!  Pricing over Frogfoot fibre is some of the best you will find anywhere, but if you buy solely on price, without considering any of the other factors we've mentioned, you're in all probability not going to get the best deal.

Whichever ISP you choose, we hope it is an ISP that uses Frogfoot fibre!

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