How to Hold Your Internet Service Provider Accountable

ADSL line connected to laptop and testing that your ISP is giving you what they promised


In this age of constant streaming for work, school and everything else, the days of being stuck with an unreliable internet connection should be behind us. Is your ISP doing right by you? Here's how comparing your current connection against what is available in the market, to see if you are actually getting what you signed up for, is a crucial part of ensuring you're getting the best service.


From staying in touch with loved ones to virtual workouts and conference calls, an internet connection has become our door to the outside world since lockdown commenced.


Here's how to assess your current internet service provider (ISP) to ensure your internet connection suits your needs, and how to swap ISPs.


Is your fibre fast enough?


If you're still struggling with an uncertain connection, especially when video streaming, your bandwidth may be at fault. If it is lower than 4MHz, you will likely not be able to stream properly.


Test your bandwidth speed. If it's too slow, check if you can upgrade or downgrade it. When considering an ISP, ensure that this option is available in the package you choose.


Read more: How to Work from Home Better


And don't forget data too. If you're regularly hitting your monthly limit, you should definitely look into upgrading. An hour-long video call on Zoom can use up as much as 1.2Gb.


Does your ISP suit your pocket?


There are three main costs involved with fibre, including a once-off installation fee, a monthly subscription fee and a router upgrade every 3 to 4 years.


Before taking out a 12- to 24-month contract, check the fine print for:


  • Hidden fees. This includes sneaky cancellation fees and a full installation and router bill if you end your contract. Fortunately ISPs are getting better at this, but it's still wise to double-check.
  • The speed offered and your budget. Compare the pricing of all ISPs available in your area to get the best bandwidth deal.
  • The long-term subscription cost. Work out the relative cost per month compared to other ISP packages.


Swapping ISPs doesn't need to be a hassle


If you'd like to swap internet service providers because you are unhappy with the service you're receiving, it doesn't have to be a difficult process. Nowadays most ISPs offer month-by-month contracts, which means if you don't like what you're getting, comparing and finding a new provider isn't a hassle.


If you don't have fibre in your area yet, there are many fast connection LTE deals available instead.


If you currently have a contract with an ISP and would like to cancel it, here's what you need to know:


  • If you cancel your contract before the term ends, you may be liable for a cancellation fee. However, the Consumer Protection Act says it should fall within fair legal boundaries.
  • If you want to get out of your ISP contract, you should notify them with an email at least 20 days before your planned day of cancellation. If they don't respond, follow up with a call to their head office.
  • If they aren't helping you to cancel your contract, you can contact the National Consumer Commission (NCC) and lay an official complaint.


Choosing the right connection for you


If fibre is available in your area and you have a choice of networks, choose a responsive one that has a history of great service. Furthermore, choose an ISP that allows you to upgrade or downgrade bandwidths with ease.


According to results of a customer service satisfaction ranking and ISP speed test by MyBroadband during lockdown, fibre options with the best speed performance include Cool Ideas, Afrihost and Axxess. Some ISPs which experienced challenges include Telkom and Rain.


If you are currently with a fibre ISP, the best way to hold them accountable for what they are offering you is to compare fibre and LTE deals. Skip having to go through all the websites for options by using our free comparison tool to easily compare fibre and LTE deals. Assess the various offerings to check for any gaps in what you're getting with your current ISP. You can do a thorough job of this by creating a pros and cons list. If you find you'll get more value for money with another ISP, it might be a good idea to switch.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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