Written by Rochelle Burnside | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Rochelle Burnside produces content on business services. Her advice has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance, and more.
When you’re moving, you have a thousand things on your to-do list and a hundred surprise fees. For some people, finding a new internet service provider can be the worst part. Settling into your new place is much easier with a steady connection, so it’s often one of the things we want to do first.
Where can you start? This advice will give you a better picture of how to navigate finding a new ISP, or transferring your old service to a new location.
Is transferring your service best?
“Generally speaking, when moving to another address in the same city, clients seem to keep their internet provider,” Kate Windleton, relocations and content manager of Strong Move explains. This choice makes perfect sense if you prefer the rates, speed, and service of your current provider. However, it’s only doable if your provider operates in your new location.
Now might be a good time to renegotiate your contract terms. “If you don’t want to transfer your service because of price, you could try to negotiate a better deal for yourself by letting the ISP agent know you want to switch,” Rebecca Lee Armstrong, writer for HighSpeedInternet.com, says. “They might give you a promotional discount for a year or two or throw in perks like a free modem.”
How do you get out of your internet contract?
If your provider doesn’t cover your new area, you might be worried about wriggling out of your contract. Most service providers reel you in for a year, and they charge cancellation fees if you want to end the contract beforehand.
“Thankfully, it is fairly common for competing providers to offer to ‘buy out’ your contract, paying your fees in exchange for setting up service at your new address with them,” Tyler Cooper, Consumer Policy Expert and BroadBandNow.com says. “Be sure to call around and see if this is something your desired provider offers before making plans to switch.”
Logan Allec, CPA and owner of Money Done Right also has some advice: “Make sure to ask your new building or community if there are any restrictions as it could allow you to get out of your contract. For example, if your new apartment building you just signed a lease at only works with one provider . . . your old provider may be gracious enough to let you out of your contract at no cost due to not servicing your new apartment building.” Having only one option may work out in your favor in this case! Your apartment’s provider could give you the excuse you need to be off the hook.
How do you choose a new provider?
Use an online tool to discover which providers will service your new area. Most regions of the United States have two providers offering services over 25 mbps. You might also have the option of several local providers.
“If there is a local provider available in your area, it is always worth comparing their service offerings against the national providers,” Cooper says. They may not always match up with bigger providers when it comes to price or data, so research your choices.
“Should you need to source a new supplier altogether,” Ollie Smith, CEO of EnergySeek explains, “take advantage of any bundles, such as combined internet and telephone service, that might be available.” Bundling services typically slashes the price, giving you a better deal when you consolidate several services into a bundle under one provider.
Dominic Serra, CEO of Metro Wireless, offers a list of criteria when movers are hunting for a new ISP. “We recommend considering the below when making [this] decision:
- Do they have an SLA?
- Is there pricing competitive?
- What are the support hours?
- If I need a technician deployed, how long would that take?
- Is phone support located in the United States?
- Is there a support ticketing system?
- What is their outage support response time?
- When you call, can you speak with a real person?
- Does support incur an extra fee or is it free?
- What are the contract terms?
- Are there installation costs?
- Do I need to purchase any equipment?
- Are there equipment rental fees?
- How soon can installation be scheduled?
- How long will the installation take?
- What kind of taxes can you expect on your bill?
- Are there any extra fees?
- What if you need to cancel?
- What if you have to move to another location?
- How are their customer service reviews?”
Reading ISP reviews and contacting providers to negotiate the lowest rates is essential for your move. There’s a lot to verify, but studying up now will save you several headaches in the long run.
Can I negotiate my contract?
Many customers might have noticed it’s getting harder to talk your rates down. You’ll need to do your homework before you jump on the phone and negotiate your rate.
“You can maximize your chances of success by having patience, researching what your provider has done for others in the past online, and remaining polite and calm no matter the outcome,” Cooper suggests.
Know the rates offered by other providers so you can bring them up with your desired ISP. Additionally, reading previous customer reviews will show you how others negotiated their rates.
Don’t leave arranging your internet plan until the last minute. If you do, you might be saddled with the most visible provider, which isn’t always the best one.