Best Internet Service Providers, contextoweb

How To Choose Internet Service Providers

In recent months, Internet users have witnessed a curious phenomenon: the almost sudden appearance of hundreds of “Internet service providers” (ISP, Internet Service Providers, according to the usual terminology in countries with greater technological development) . 

This curious phenomenon of atomization of the offer can have some negative consequences on all those who have not yet selected a supplier (or who are considering the possibility of changing it), since it makes it difficult to differentiate between the different existing offers. But let’s be realistic and focus on the positives: competition is definitely good for the user, at least for the user who knows what to look for and how to do it.

It is easy to come to the conclusion that not all Internet service providers are the same (truism), where the offer is somewhat monotonous: almost all companies seem to offer identical services; They are even accessed through the same telephone number and, in general, their international line is contracted with the same provider. It seems that only email addresses change.

Logically, this is not the case: there are certain criteria that allow us to distinguish between some providers and others. In the words of Rick Adams, President of UUNET Technologies, “Buying Internet access is not very different from buying a computer. In both cases, the choice must be based on the intended use. Minimum cost for your children 

You can choose the cheapest one offered in a magazine, or even build one with parts you buy at a flea market. But if you are looking for something your company or business will depend on, you probably won’t. Your company might be tempted to look for the expensive solution, based on the theory that things are worth their cost, but once you have studied the question thoroughly,

Some of the criteria normally indicated as most important when making this decision are the following:

Table of Contents

Functional Aspects

We must ensure that the provider can offer us the type of line that interests us, especially if we want to do more than connect using a modem through the telephone network: not all ISPs have the real capacity to provide dedicated lines or other options of great interest for companies or professionals.

Dial-up access must follow the PPP protocol. The older and less reliable SLIP is already considered “unacceptable” although it remains, surprisingly, the only option offered by some.

InfoVía is not bad, but it only answers a small part of the problem. For those who live in major cities, it would be preferable to select a provider that, like Servicom, also offers alternatives to the Telefónica service: this direct access tends to be of higher quality and offers a very important technological independence: the redundancy of the accesses ensures permanent availability of the system.

Access must be complete, including services such as IRC, Telnet, FTP, Gopher and including, of course, a wide range of Usenet newsgroups (or “newsgroups”). This is not always the case either, and many providers deprive their users of access (for example) to Usenet, as it is necessary to allocate technical resources of a certain magnitude that are not available to everyone.


If we want to avoid headaches, we must select a provider that offers good access software. The programs must be legal (no unregistered “shareware”), easy to handle (no second-row programs or in English), and, above all, they must be personalized and integrated into a self-installing package that allows even the most awkward to start browsing a few minutes after opening the envelope (no manual settings or more or less handmade).

It will not be necessary to clarify that Servicom offers its users a kit of these characteristics that, specifically, includes the latest versions in Spanish of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (on CD-ROM or floppy disks) and its auxiliary programs (mail readers, news, etc.) Another issue of the utmost importance is the Customer Assistance Service. At Servicom we have a team of more than sixty people currently specialized, providing telephone assistance for more than 70 hours a week (and practically permanently electronically).

Other companies with a different profile may not need as much, although the number of hours of assistance should not depend on that of clients, but it does not seem very sensible to hire a service with whom they request that, in case of problems, the company’s salesperson / telephone operator / accountant is called (who, by the way, also acts as a support technician), or that we leave a message at your mother-in-law’s house or on your cousin’s answering machine; Anyone whose profession or business depends to a greater or lesser degree on their access to the Internet will easily understand this.

There is also another level of assistance that is not so obvious to users: the one that takes place in the NOC, or Network Operations Center. Servicom’s NOC is permanently attended by specialized technicians, ready to solve any unforeseen 24 hours day and 365 days a year: this may be one of the reasons why its availability in 1996 was higher than 99.96%

The concept of support is obviously much broader. A friend recently complained that he had signed up with a certain provider and the only thing he had known about him for months was that his receipts were arriving at the bank. I did not resist.


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