You can have the most amazing TV, home theater system or killer gaming PC but you need the right internet provider--or it all falls apart.
You need speed, stability, reliability and good customer service that will back you up when there is an issue or can at least tell you if there is an outage. You can have the best equipment on the planet, but none of it matters unless it can get on the net and stay there.
And that’s why picking a good internet provider matters. In fact, it might be the most important technology decision you can make.
The challenge is who should be providing you that all-important internet connection?
Thankfully, I have lots of good options. Where I live, just outside of Washington, D.C., I have two strong choices for ultra-fast high-speed broadband: Fios or Xfinity. Picking between them a few years back was not easy, but in the end, I chose Xfinity’s gigabit speed (see what sort of speeds I am getting below) for a very simple reason: my wife loves the Xfinity cable TV setup, easy to use remote and voice command capabilities.
But if it was just me, and just me only, I would have Fios. Hands down. No questions asked. But hey, happy wife, happy life, right?
Before I entered the publishing or think tank world I worked for a cable company in the northeast for over a decade, in a technical and also a sales role. When Fios came into town, they literally wiped the floor with us--I saw a lot of friends lose their jobs and never recover. The reasons were obvious: their technology was just better and provided a better value for the consumer, as bringing fiber into the home makes for a faster connection and far superior upload speeds.
But my last days spent in cable land were almost a decade ago, and times have clearly changed. Xfinity can offer fast gigabit speeds that are solid--but the upload is just horrible and nowhere near the symmetrical speed that Fios can offer. And for someone like me, who uploads big picture and video files, does some light gaming and TV interviews from time to time, that upload speed counts. I make do wiht Xfinity, but really crave Fios.
The choice also most likely gets easier if you are a tech consumer that does not want cable TV and have cut the cord. In that instance, you want the fastest connection possible, no frills but good customer service. In that instance Fios would be my pick as well, considering it has the technology edge and seems poised for faster speeds in the years to come.
For me, it gets even easier if you can install your own wireless router, not something you can easily do in all situations, especially in an apartment complex or if you are using a Fios or Xfinity company telephone products or cable tv. You want that router to shine with the best possible speed, latency and connectivity. And again, that’s Fios.
Harry J. Kazianis is a Senior Director at the Center for the National Interest. His work has appeared in Fox News, USA Today, The Week, the American Conservative and many other outlets across the political spectrum.