How to choose the best Internet plan in 7 steps

Choosing a reliable internet plan can be tricky! The best internet plan for you will be reflective of your lifestyle and budget. Here are 7 things to consider when choosing an internet plan.

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1. Speed of Plan

Each household needs a different speed for their plan based on their lifestyle. If you work from home, take online classes, or just casually use the internet, the internet speed you will need will be different!

What does Mbps mean?

Mbps means megabits per second. It is a way to quantify the speed of your internet connection. The higher your Mbps are, the faster your internet speed will be!

What can affect the speed of my internet plan?

Several factors can affect the speed of your internet plan. These factors include other people using it at the same time, your type of usage, and if you choose a plan that is too low in megabits per second based on your lifestyle.

What internet speed does my internet plan need?

Speed needed by lifestyle 

Speed

Good for what

Good for who

5 – 10 Mbps

  • Checking emails
  • Browsing
  • Listening to music
  • Minimal internet users
  • People living alone

10 – 40 Mbps 

  • Online assignments
  • Social media 
  • Netflix
  • Youtube
  • Students
  • Casual internet users
  • Children and teens

40 – 100 Mbps

  • Video calls 
  • Netflix
  • Working from home
  • Online classes
  • People working from home 
  • Students
  • Families

100 – 500 Mbps

  • Video calls 
  • Gaming 
  • Streaming
  • Gamers
  • Streamers
  • Big families

500 – 1000 Mbps

  • Heavy gaming 
  • Streaming 
  • Commercial  internet
  • Heavy gamers
  • Heavy streamers
  • Businesses

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2. Type of Internet Connection

The type of internet connection you will need for your plan depends on where you live, your budget, and the type of speed you need.  

What type of internet connection does my internet plan need?

There are 4 main types of internet connections:

Fiber: Fiber internet is ranked #1 when it comes to the fastest internet speeds. Fiber internet will typically have 50-1000 Mbps. The average price for fiber internet is around $75 to $150 per month. Fiber internet is good for families, gamers, and businesses. 

Cable: Cable internet is ranked #2 when it comes to the fastest internet speeds. Cable internet will typically have 20-200 Mbps. The average price for cable internet is around $30-$100 per month. Cable internet is great for Netflix fanatics, families, and students. 

DSL: DSL internet is considerably slower than cable internet. DSL internet will typically have 5-45 Mbps. The average price for DSL internet is around $25-$80 per month. DSL internet is good for completing online assignments, social media browsing, and casual internet users. 

Satellite: Satellite internet is one of the slowest types of internet. Satellite internet will typically have 10-30 Mbps. The average price for satellite internet is around $50-$150 per month. Satellite internet is not usually used in urban areas, it is for households in rural areas that cannot access cable, fiber, and DSL internet. 

3. Amount of GB needed - Data limits

The amount of data you will need for your internet plan depends on the size of your household and your internet usage.

How much GB do I need for my internet plan?

GB needed based on lifestyle 

Gigabytes

Good for what

Good for who

0 – 300 GB 

  • Checking emails
  • Browsing
  • Listening to music
  • Minimal internet users
  • People living alone

100 – 300 GB

  • Online assignments
  • Social media 
  • Youtube
  • Students
  • Casual internet users

Unlimited

  • Video calls 
  • Netflix
  • Working from home
  • Online classes
  • Gaming 
  • Streaming
  • Gamers
  • Students
  • Streamers
  • Families
  • Big families
  • People working from home 

4. Price of Internet Plan

The price of your internet plan will depend on its speed, its quality, its type, and its provider.

What is the cost of an internet plan in Canada?

Based on the average internet speed of 25 Mbps and a Cable connection, here is what you should be expecting to pay in the following provinces: 

  • Quebec $40 CAD + Tx
  • Ontario $45 CAD + Tx
  • British Columbia: $30 CAD + Tx
  • Alberta: $30 CAD + Tx

What is the cost of an internet plan in the US?

The average cost of Cable Internet in the US is $0.83 per Mbps or $20 USD per 25 Mbps. Unlike Canada, the US does not tax their internet plans. The Internet Tax Freedom Act disallows taxes on internet plans. 

Based on the average internet speed of 25 Mbps and a Cable connection, here is what you should be expecting to pay in the following states: 

  • New York: $29 USD
  • Texas: $30 USD
  • Pennsylvania: $45 USD
  • Illinois: $25 USD 
  • Ohio: $25 USD 

5. Duration of Plan / Contract

When buying an internet plan, make sure you are ready to commit to the plan for the entire duration of the contract. Most plans have 2 or 3-year contracts and most likely have cancellation fees if you choose to abandon the plan.

6. Promotions & Bundling

Should I take an internet plan on a promotion?

Most internet providers will have deals attached to some of their most popular plans. These promotions are often advertised in a way to get you to buy them as fast as possible, but beware, these deals are often not for the entire contract duration, so they might not be worth it after all.

What bundling options are available with internet plans?

Internet providers often have TV and phone services that you can bundle with your internet plan to help you save on the total cost rather than buying them individually. These bundles usually include:

  • Internet + TV
  • Internet +TV + Cell phone
  • Internet + TV + Cell phone + Home phone 
  • Internet + TV + Cell phone + Home phone + Smart home

7. Installation

How is fiber internet installed?

Fiber internet connections do not need modems, they need fiber compatible routers to function. In most cases, your internet provider will install their own router that you rent from them. 

How is cable internet installed?

Cable internet connections need modems and routers to function. In most cases, your internet provider will install their own router and modem that you rent from them.

How is satellite internet installed?

Satellite internet connections need modems and satellite dishes to function. In most cases, your satellite internet provider will install the modem along with the satellite dish for you.

How much does it cost to have my internet installed?

Installation may be included for free in your internet plan. In case internet installation is not included in your plan, expect to pay around 100$. 

*Don’t forget to calculate the fees for your modem and router if they are not included in the installation fee. Fees for modems and routers are around $300.

Conclusion

The best internet providers will have straightforward plans with fair pricing, adequate speeds, and the right type of internet connection suitable for you. Are you sure of the type of plan you want but not the internet provider? Check out our section on the best internet service providers near you!

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