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Low Cost ISP

Considering a low cost ISP? Read on.

ISPs use massive rack-space like this to provide low cost internet.[©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
ISPs use massive rack-space like this to provide low cost internet.

Choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an important decision for those who want to get connected, surf and communicate through the Internet. ISPs differ in price, features and speed. A low cost ISP is an option for anyone who wants to keep monthly Internet payments low. However, price isn't the only consideration when choosing an ISP. This article will review important low cost ISP considerations.

ISP Overview

An Internet Service Provider, or ISP, is a company that provides a connection to the Internet. The connection includes a username and password that are used to log on to the Internet, which makes surfing the Web, downloading files, and sending and receiving e-mail possible. An ISP usually charges a fixed price per month for Internet service.

Some ISPs are dedicated to Internet service, while others are telephone or cable companies that offer Internet in addition to their other services. Examples of ISPs include AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Juno, Earthlink, and Comcast. Several factors should be considered when choosing an ISP plan, including price, features and download speed.

Finding a Low Cost ISP

Low cost ISPs are popular for those who want a basic Internet connection at a low price. Juno, for example, is a low cost ISP that offers an unlimited Internet access plan for $9.95* per month. The plan includes spam and e-mail virus protection, and 1GB of e-mail storage space. The company offers free technical support to help customers connect to its Internet service. Like many other low cost ISPs, Juno offers several plans. Among those is an accelerated dial-up package for $14.95* per month that includes a pop-up blocker and antivirus software.

Another low cost ISP, Netzero, charges $9.95* monthly for unlimited dial-up Internet access. For an additional charge, customers can purchase antivirus and security software.

The standard Internet plan at BasicISP gives users unlimited Internet access and e-mail for $6.95* per month and an accelerated service for $9.95*. The company boasts a money-back guarantee and advertises that its subscribers will receive less spam.

Low Cost ISP Features

It's not a good idea to choose an ISP based on price alone. Consumers should also examine the type of customer service and technical support the ISP offers, and whether it will be enough to meet their needs. Some low cost IPS might not offer services typically foundwith high cost ISPs, like a personal Web page, multiple e-mail accounts, and antivirus and spyware software.

Anyone considering a low cost ISP should also take into account the time it takes to download files from the Internet. A person who plans to use the Internet only to send and receive e-mail and for limited Web surfing might be satisfied with a low cost ISP offering dial-up service. But those who plan to regularly download large files like videos should look beyond low cost ISP to DSL, cable or high-speed Internet service.

When deciding between a low cost ISP and a high cost ISP, a consumer's best bet is to visit several ISP Web sites to compare prices and services. Consumers also should take advantage of a trial period if the ISP offers one. Trial periods give consumers the opportunity to test drive the plan before making a long-term commitment.

*Prices as of 2008

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