Switching ISPs

Monday Morsel - Switching ISPs?

So you’re switching Internet Service Providers...

To say that the Internet plays a critical role in most households is an understatement of epic proportions! While Internet access is not an essential building-block of life, it has become a core convenience. So when you hear and see commercials and even receive mail designed to entice you to change your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to another service that promises to be faster, cheaper, more reliable, and more, it’s natural to feel ready to switch ISPs. Today’s morsel isn’t about my thoughts on one ISP versus another. Rather, it’s about the things that you often overlook when you’re making that kind of service change. In today’s morsel, let’s discuss five important considerations if you’re thinking about switching ISPs.

1. Are you under contract?

Before you decide you’re moving your service, confirm that you’re not under contract with your current provider. If you previously signed up for a bundle or promotion, you may be obligated to keep that service for a certain period of time or pay a penalty for changing your service. If you didn’t keep your contract or are unsure, call your current ISP and ask about the terms of your service.

2. What other services are dependent on your ISP?

Over the years I’ve seen many friends and neighbors get stung by this detail. The primary culprit seems to be Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone service, also known as digital phone service. If you currently have a landline phone and are switching to VOIP service, make sure that other things in your home that rely on the phone will still work. This includes fax machine, answering machines, and home security systems. You can either ask the potential ISP about compatibility or ask the service – for example, your security company.

3. How many places use your e-mail address?

Good grief, I receive A LOT of e-mail. I bet you do, too. If your mail comes through a proprietary, ISP-provided e-mail address (e.g. Time Warner Cable’s RoadRunner service), making a change may present a bit of a pickle. One reason is that if you ever forget a password or need to reset an account and you established it under an old e-mail address, you won’t be able to follow-through on your request because any e-mails would be delivered to a “dead” address. And there is no “Dead Letter Office” for e-mail – it simply disappears into the black hole of the Internet. So if you’re thinking about making an ISP change, start by ditching your proprietary e-mail address a month or two in advance. Change to an Apple iCloud account, Google Gmail account, or Yahoo account or even your very own domain name. Then, change the address associated with all your logins and your subscriptions.

4. Where do you keep your mail?

When you access your e-mail – whether that’s on your computer, your phone, your tablet, or some other device – do you download it from the server, or do you leave it on the server so you can access it later from another device or location? If you choose to leave it on the server and you’re using a proprietary, ISP-provided e-mail address, switching services could pose a problem. Specifically, any e-mails that are on the server would be lost when you switch services. So if you’re thinking about making an ISP change, download all your mail from the server and keep it on a local computer or other device instead. That will clear the way for you to make a change without losing any of your e-mail.

5. Does your ISP own your modem or router?

Some ISPs provide you hardware as part of their service – a modem or router, or in some cases, both. If your current ISP provides your hardware, check to confirm that the new ISP you’re considering does the same. If not, keep in mind that the hardware really is not expensive and can be readily purchased online or locally at an electronics store or in the electronics section of discount retailers.

If you’re considering making an ISP change, give me a call. Tech Me Back will be glad to help! Have a wonderful week!