Questions to ask an Internet Service Provider
Questions for a Dialup Account:
1) Do they provide you with software?
2) Will they install the software for you and teach you how to use it?
3) Do they provide different types of accounts to suit your needs, (i.e., 30 hours per month for a small fee or unlimited access for a larger fee)?
4) How many technical support employees do they have to answer your questions?
5) How many modems do they have for you to call into?
6) What speed are their call in modems?
In other words do they have a lot of modems. Ask how many clients they have and how many modems they have to find out the ratio. Most providers keep a ratio of 1 modem per 10 customers. Are all their modems 28,800 baud or faster? How fast their modems are and how many they have will affect your satisfaction with their service.
7) Do they automatically disconnect people after a certain amount of idle time so someone doesn’t tie up a phone line when they are not using it?
8) Do they have a limit on the hours you can use the service during one session, (i.e. after three hours they disconnect you to be sure others have access)?
9) Do they have after hours technical help?
10) Do they charge for hosting your Web page?
11) Do they provide full Internet access, this means e-mail, chat, newsgroups, FTP, telnet and Web browsing.
12) Is their dial up number local? If they offer a 1-800 number do they charge for it?
If you are considering leasing access service from an Internet Provider for your business or organization:
1) Get references.
2) What kind of long term goals does this provider have?
3) Do they have support for networking in UNIX, NT, Novell, and Mac?
4) What are their business customer charges and fees?
5) Can they provide hardware, software and technical support, (without costing you a large maintenance contract fee)?
6) What types of experience do they have?
7) How many employees do they have?
8) Do they have after hours technical help?
A provider should have at least a T1 or T3 telecommunications hook up to access the Internet with. A T1 communications line from the telephone company consists of 24 channels of 64 kilobytes per second transmission per channel. This means that all 24 channels of a T1 line provide 1.54 megabytes per second transmission. This allows excellent access for the users into the Internet. But, if they have only a partial T1 hook up then their access to the Internet is only 64 kilobytes per second times the number of channels they do have. Ask what their actual hook up is to find out if it is a full T1 hook up or a partial.