TECH 22

TECH #22

10/3/97

Tech resumes this week with part three in a series on getting on-line service. We’ve looked at national full service, and discount providers. Not a bad option, but a far cry from any kind of personal attention. That leaves local Internet service providers (ISPs), and boy are there a lot of choices!

My count of local ISPs gives you about 20 firms to fancy. Some big, some small. No slight against high tech entrepreneurs, but logic and experience demand I recommend you go to large local ISPs. There are a number of reasons, the biggest one to me being quality of service.

Generally speaking, it’s an expensive venture providing public connection to the world wide web. Modem technology keeps improving, and as folks upgrade to higher speeds so must the ISP. Unlike your limited expense for a whiz bang modem, ISPs have to buy them by the dozen. As business grows, new phone lines and even more modems must be installed. If an ISP can’t keep up, you get busy signals and boringly slow connections. Then there’s your monthly bill. The average range is between 10 and 20 dollars a month. Prepay to get the lower rates. All things considered, first-try-connections and zippy transfer rates are worth an extra buck or two a month. Call around and get a feel for how you’re treated. When you find one you like, try the ISP for a month or two before you sign a long term agreement. Happy hunting!