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Connecting to the internet in the US

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Keeping in touch with loved ones is important no matter where you’re living. Visitors and expats in the U.S. have lots of options when it comes to going online, from free wifi connections in public areas to high-speed service in your home. To access the internet in the United States, you must first decide which type of service is best for you.

In-home internet service

For most people living in the U.S., the internet services available will depend on their location and which provider covers their area. Private companies provide internet service, and the current lack of competition means most customers have only one or two options.

Providers offer different types of internet service based on connection speed. DSL, cable, and Fiber Optic Broadband are the most common and range from $20–$45 per month for DSL service to $70–$145 for Fiber Optic Broadband.

Consider your internet activities before selecting a type of service. Those wanting to stream videos will need a faster connection compared to those who just want to do basic web browsing. Additionally, many providers offer packages that bundle telephone, the internet, and cable television. Package prices vary depending on the operator and the quality of services.

Wifi

All major and midsize U.S. cities offer wifi access points. Businesses such as restaurants and department stores, as well as public spaces, often offer wifi connectivity. Some protect their network with a password, while others allow free access to any user.

Depending on your location and available providers, wifi may be available for in-home installation. In early 2013, the U.S. telecommunications regulator suggested creating a Super Wifi national network in order to make wireless internet more accessible. It is currently being implemented in some rural areas.

Communication software

Once you have an internet connection you will be able to download and use a communication software to keep in touch with friends and family. There are many free and paid options available such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Tango that allow you to text and call other users for free as long as you’re connected to the internet or have a data phone plan. If you need to call to a landline or mobile phone that isn’t connected to any of these services, options like Skype, Google Voice, and FreedomPop allow you to call any number for free or at a low cost.

 Useful links:

Top U.S. internet providers:
Comcast
Spectrum
AT&T
Verizon
Centurylink

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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Would you like to live in the USA?

Find useful information in our expatriate guide.