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The Internet FAQ

Questions and Answers:

The ability to find Internet products and services online is a luxury that today’s consumers enjoy. InfoFAQ has compiled some important frequently asked questions to help when buying products and services over the Internet.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Internet and the Web

Can I find a local Internet service provider using the Internet?

Yes you can. In fact the Internet is really the best way to find an Internet Service Provider. You can often find a national company that is small enough to be consumer friendly and at the same time charges you lower fees than the large monolithic service providers.

What should I look out for when searching for a good Internet Service Provider?

One consideration is that many of the large Internet Service Providers will require you to download software and install it on your computer in order to use their services. This software will make your computer run slower, and one of its main functions is to show you lots of advertisements and content that the provider is paid to show you. These types of software for web browsing are sometimes a little easier to use for a novice, but you will be kept mostly inside the world of the service provider and get a distorted view of the real Internet. They also make your connection slower because they are always automatically downloading advertisements to your machine that you did not ask for.

Do I need special software to use an Internet Service Provider?

No you do not. All new computers come with a web browser installed such as Netscape or Internet Explorer. The lower cost web service companies will provide you with instructions or help you to configure your computer to use their services.

Do I really need a high-speed Internet connection like DSL, or can I get by using a dial out connection by modem?

The reason that you may need a high-speed Internet connection is if you plan to upload or download large files like image files, songs or videos. For most web pages, a good modem connection is acceptable in terms of speed. So if you plan to use the Internet for research and only a small amount of file sharing, then a modem connection should be sufficient considering the cost savings.

I have a brand new computer and a good Internet service, but it is always too slow and the technical support people can’t seem to help. What can cause a slow Internet modem connection?

One often-overlooked cause of a slow Internet connection is static on the phone line. To correct this problem you should call your phone company. Another thing that you can do is to purchase a phone line noise filter from you local electronics store. Otherwise it may be a bad local phone number or problems with the settings on your computer.

What is a DSL Internet connection?

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is an extra phone line that goes to your house but it is not a regular phone line at all, but a DSL line for high-speed data transfer.

Do I need special hardware if I want to use a high-speed Internet connection like a cable modem or DSL?

Yes you do. Most computers come with a telephone line modem installed, but would need an external cable modem or DSL Modem to use one of those services. Sometimes the service provider will provide you with the equipment while other times you will have to purchase it. You should ask your preferred service provider what their hardware requirements are.

What is the best way to search the Internet for good Internet Service Providers?

By far the best search engine to use for this and most other searches is the google.com search engine. Just go to www.google.com and search for “Internet Service Providers”. You may want to add a qualifier like “Modem” or “DSL” to refine your search.

Some Internet Service Providers say that they will disconnect my connection after 10 minutes of Idle Time. What does that mean?

Most Internet Service Providers, especially low cost ones, will disconnect your connection if you have not done anything over the connection in 10 minutes. Some services will charge a little more but leave your connection running even if it is idle for an extended period of time. Make sure that you look up their Idle Time Disconnect policy before you sign up.

How can I avoid long distance telephone charges when I use a modem to connect to the Internet?

Make sure that the Internet Service Provider that you select has an access phone number that is a local non-toll charge for you. They service provider can give you the phone numbers to try. You then call the operator and ask her if it is a local call or not.

Consumer Safety and Information

Internet Fraud Information - www.usa.gov

View current trends in consumer fraud and identity theft.

Consumer Broadband - www.broadband.gov

The Consumer Broadband Test.

Computers and the Internet - www.ftc.gov

Provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud.

Open Internet - www.openinternet.gov

A place to join the discussion about the important issues.

Privacy in the Internet Economy - www.cio.gov

Protects Consumer Privacy in the Internet Economy.

Visit our Credit Card Fraud section for useful information.


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