How to choose your internet service provider
There is a wide variety of internet service providers and subscriptions in the Netherlands to choose from. But which one is the best? These six tips from Breedbandwinkel.nl, the largest comparison site for internet, TV and phone providers in the Netherlands, will help you make your decision.
1. Check your address for availability and speed
Not all internet service providers are able to deliver a signal to your home. For example, fibre internet is unavailable for a lot of households. Other providers just do not service certain areas. Before setting your sights on a single provider, make sure that provider is available at your home address.
Internet service providers advertise with the highest possible speed they can deliver. In reality, this usually is (far) lower than advertised. As of this year, providers are obligated by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to inform you about the actual speed you will receive.
Make sure to look or ask for the actual speed you will receive and forget about the advertised speed. A general rule of thumb is: the further your home is from the operator’s local switch, the lower the speed.
In the Netherlands, there are four techniques for landline internet at home. ADSL, VDSL, fibre and cable (COAX). Generally, ADSL or VDSL have lower speeds than fibre or cable connections.
As an expat, the last thing you want is to have your provider on speed dial and constantly be on the phone with them, because your signal is breaking down. In the case of an outage, it might be assuring to know that the provider has a capable customer support desk that can help you out.
Therefore, it would be wise to read reviews about the provider and their specific subscription. Overall, XS4ALL, Telfort and KPN are currently in the lead when it comes to customer support.
Straight off the bat, a delivery of an internet subscription may take up to two to four weeks. Keep this in mind when looking for your home internet provider. Unfortunately, it is not just a flip of a switch to hook up your home. Before the actual delivery, there is a whole process that takes most providers a long time to go through. However, Ziggo (cable internet) is able to deliver in about a week, and sometimes within a week even.
4. Wi-Fi everywhere
Some providers offer a handy extra perk that might be interesting to you as an expat: Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots allow you to not only have a speedy connection at home but also in most parts of the Netherlands. KPN has a million plus of these hotspots across the Netherlands. If you are a customer of KPN, you are automatically able to make use of these hotspots. Ziggo also offers this service.
Hotspots work as follows. The Wi-Fi modem has a special “share” setting. When you enable this, a small part of your modem is made public. Other customers, of the same provider, are now able to join the national network via your modem. In return, you are able to do the same. Disabling this setting on your modem will withdraw your access as well.
Dutch channels might not be all that interesting to you. However, providers also offer a large number of default channels which may contain your favourite foreign channel. In addition to the default TV channels, there are packages that contain tons of foreign channels that you might find interesting.
Would you like to watch Netflix or HBO alongside regular tv? No problem. The interactive TV tuners of KPN, Telfort, XS4ALL and Ziggo already have the Netflix app pre-installed. You just have to log in to your Netflix account and you are all set up. HBO is only available with a Ziggo subscription in the Netherlands. Look for a channel package called “Movies & Series XL”.
You are able to watch TV on your smartphone or tablet with all providers in the Netherlands. But note that some channels might only be available on TV.
6. Transfer each year
Providers will lure you in with nice promotional subscription prices or even free subscription periods. But these discounts are temporary, and, in most cases, the regular price will go up significantly. Most subscription contracts last for a year. Afterwards, it will be prolonged each month and you will have to pay the regular monthly subscription.
Therefore, you might profit from switching providers when your contract comes to an end. This is not the thrifty Dutch speaking, but it could save you up to 100 euros per year!
At Breedbandwinkel.nl, it is possible to check the connectivity situation at your home in the Netherlands. Simply enter your zip code and house number and you will be shown a list of providers, their subscriptions, the actual speed and other options you may have.
The customer support team of Breedbandwinkel.nl has experience setting expats up with their internet and would love to help you out!