Cable high speed internet availability usually coincides with the availability of cable TV service. Cable Internet Providers use the same lines used to provide cable TV service and as such is typically offered by your Cable TV provider.
Cable internet downloads can range from 3-50 MBps (Megabytes per second) or about 60 to 1000 times faster than a 56K dial-up connection. Some cable providers are now offering speeds of up to 150 MBps, but infrastructure an equipment upgrades restrict these "next generation" internet services to larger, more densely populated communities. Internet traffic and computer hardware limitations often prevent subscribers from reaching the maximum advertised speeds. Uploads speeds are usually throttled back by the cable internet provider to about twenty percent of the maximum download speed in order to prevent customers from running high load servers or file sharing over their internet service.
Cable internet can be installed using existing cable TV jacks, but the technician will typically install a new jack near your primary computer. Your cable internet provider's "modem" connects to your cable jack and to your computer using an Ethernet or USB cable. Most newer computers can accommodate these types of connections, but if yours cannot the technician can usually supply and install an ethernet card into your computer. Many companies now offer wireless home networking at part of their service and may install a wireless router in addition to the cable modem.
Generally $40.00 to $50.00 per month. High performance plans may cost $100-$200 per month or more. Many cable internet providers are now offering introductory pricing between $30.00 and $40.00 for up to 12 months. Some cable internet providers will ask you to buy the equipment (cable modem and ethernet card, if necessary). Some will ask you to rent it. Some will simply give it to you (returned to them if you cancel). Some cable internet providers offer to buy back the equipment if you cancel - some do not. Confused yet? Be sure to ask the provider when you call or read the fine print when applying online.
Many companies are now offering a "Lite" cheap cable internet in the $20.00- $30.00 range. It is slower than regular broadband internet and "full" cable internet but fast enough for many, if not most, consumers.
Most companies offer discounts on high speed internet service when the customer is subscribed to a bundle of services including digital television and phone services.
Cable internet performance is dependent on a "clean signal" from the broadband provider. If the signal is weak or distorted, broadband performance will be reduced or it simply will not work. The signal can be weakened by bad grounding or the addition of line splitters used to accommodate additional jacks. Be sure that the technician does not leave before confirming good signal strength that will allow you to add more equipment (a TV, for example) without hindering cable internet performance. If necessary the cable internet provider's technician can run a new clean cable line into your house.
Be sure to evaluate all options before choosing a High Speed Internet Service Provider.