Today’s market is insanely competitive! Giant companies are doing everything to keep their positions, while small businesses fight for survival. The game is cruel, and it most often ends badly for the little players. The well-known cliché “big fish, eats the small fish” completely resonates with today’s economic situation.

Having said all this, we are getting closer to the “not so easy to answer” kind of question: is there room for small internet providers in the market? There are some solutions, and if you want to find out if there is hope for little players, keep on reading!

Small Internet Providers vs Giants: David vs Goliath

There was a time to find the best possible solution for both small internet providers and large companies. The government came up with the NET NEUTRALITY solution.

Net neutrality is a good idea, technically. It means that Internet service providers have to treat all the data on the Internet the same without discriminating or charging differently by user, content, website, platform, application, etc. For example, internet providers aren’t allowed to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for certain websites.

As you probably know, many of these requirements were not respected in the past. Companies were charging extra money for some of their services to have more profit. Therefore, they would intentionally slow downloading for some websites, so users would pay extra money to speed things up. This led to another question: is Internet a luxury or a public good?

Small Internet Providers (at least some of them) think that Net Neutrality should come to an end and the Internet should be an information service. In their opinion, this neutrality thing serves only giants, as they can break some rules from time to time and afford to pay the penalties. These penalties won’t affect large companies at all, but it would completely destroy the small ones.

What are other opinions?

Net neutrality and open Internet

An open Internet is pretty much the same as water from a fountain. Everybody has access, although water from the fountain is free. The “open Internet” idea is to make the Internet equally accessible to the majority. If you pay for services, you should pay a defined amount of money, nothing more than that.

Small Internet Providers (mentioned above) are not really happy with net neutrality. Some of them think they should be the ones that will regulate the way they work and assign the prices they want to. That means internet service providers will be allowed to act as toll keepers, prioritizing traffic, controlling the speed at which some pages load — a practice known as “throttling” — and even blocking access to certain sites.

For the other small internet providers, net neutrality is everything! They think that without it, small providers will disappear as they wouldn’t have a law that protects the competition. Title II of the Communication Act is the one that protects competition. That means that the open internet should remain open, and it shouldn’t become an information service.

There are opposing opinions, and only time will show who was right in the end. Until then, let’s see how to find the best internet provider, and what should you look for in an internet provider.

How to pick right internet provider?

Quick update: there are two types of internet, broadband, and dial-up. The broadband options are faster and allow you an “always-on” connection. On the other hand, dial-ups are slower and you have a limited amount of internet.

Here are several useful tips to pick the right ISP:

  • Check the availability – there is no point in picking the provider that doesn’t cover your area. Make sure you have researched that first.
  • Compare price to speed – we all want fast internet at a low price. When you start comparing services makes sure you have visited the website of each provider you are considering. After that, you should concentrate on the relation between download and upload speed.
  • Cost and contract – Most discount your internet service if you package it with television and/or phone service. If you are combining internet service with the television and phone services don’t forget to check the list of available channels!
  • Terms of service – Don’t forget to find out what the service’s limitations are. There may be data caps, for example, limiting the amount of data you can use per month (SUPER IMPORTANT), or restrictions on the kinds of activities you’re allowed to do.
  • Special features – Be careful with this because you might not need all of the special features. Although if you find those that will really serve you, count them as a plus for the provider.
  • Reliability – If you can’t use these features, there is no point in continuing! Investigate the provider you are willing to pay before starting anything.
  • Customer support – If you are experiencing a problem are you sure your provider can solve it? What are the previous experiences with their customer support? Does the provider offer phone, email, or chat customer support? How painful or painless is the installation process? Make sure you have the answers to these questions first!

What is left for small internet providers?

While there is still a law that protects them, they can compete with the big fish. They can make great offers and reliable services that will make them stand out.

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David Smith
David Smith is a blogger and world traveler, with experience in China’s manufacturing industry, as well as content marketing manager in his hometown of Los Angeles, California. When not staring into a computer screen, David is an avid badminton player and photographer of natural landscapes. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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