KIM KOMANDO

Plug in your address to see if you’re overpaying for the internet

Sep 10, 2023, 6:30 AM

(Andres Ayrton Photo/via Pexels)...

(Andres Ayrton Photo/via Pexels)

(Andres Ayrton Photo/via Pexels)

By now, we all know how important it is to have a strong connection for work, school, fun and life. But what happens if you move and realize, “Uh-oh, the internet here stinks”? If you think you’re overpaying for the internet, do this before you start packing.

Here’s a must-do step

Check the internet before you sign that lease or fork over a down payment. There’s a decent chance the prices and speed you’re used to are vastly different in your (potentially) new neighborhood.

Most major U.S. cities have the same carriers, like Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink. But depending on your location, you could get a drastically different internet speed than in another city … at the same price point.

The Markup created a handy map tool to check the internet speeds in 45 major cities. Here’s the lowdown on what they found and how to use the map yourself.

It’s easy to sign up and easy to cancel.

How to use the map

Markup analyzed data from over a million internet plans across 45 U.S. cities from four of the nation’s biggest internet providers: EarthLink, CenturyLink, Verizon and AT&T.

They found the worst internet deals popped up disproportionately in the poorest, most diverse and historically redlined neighborhoods in all but two investigated cities. Oof.

The internet’s Big Four also use “tier flattening,” meaning they charge the same rate for different internet speeds, which can vary drastically.

Before you decide you’re overpaying for the internet, try this

Eager to take the map for a test drive? Here’s how:

  • Select a city from the dropdown menu or drag the map to move across the country.
  • Use the zoom feature in the top right corner to target a specific dot on the map, or type an exact address into the search bar.
  • Click on a dot to pull up all the details of the address, including speeds, internet service providers and demographics.
  • Use the filter feature to narrow your search by demographics.

The map gets pretty granular, so you can see how good you can expect your connection to be down to the neighborhood.

Now, fix your Wi-Fi

If you’re staying put or moving somewhere where the connection is solid, you’re golden. But that doesn’t mean things are perfect.

If you deal with lags and a signal that drops in and out, your router might be hamstringing your connection.

Where you put your router matters, too. You want it in a central location, high off the ground. I’m looking at you if yours is stuck on the floor in a closet.

Common appliances like cordless phones, Bluetooth speakers and even microwave ovens can impact your internet speed. This is particularly true with older routers.

Next, change the channel. Not talking about the TV but your router’s frequency. Are you using the 2.4GHz frequency? Get away from this congested channel ASAP.

Network Analyzer is a solid app for help finding the most appropriate channel for your connection.

How you change channels depends on the brand and model of your router. Refer to your manual to find it. Network Analyzer is available for iOS and Android.

Next on your to-do list: Look for moochers and banish the kids to a guest network. Get the steps here.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Plug in your address to see if you’re overpaying for the internet