Making the best broadband Internet connection

It used to be that just about everyone could name his or her land-line phone provider, but that was before cellphones and Internet calling became so popular.

Now, many households bypass the land-line companies altogether by going all-cell or using online phone companies such as Vonage Holdings Corp.

Two land-line phone companies offer broadband -- AT&T and Verizon -- and the vast majority of residences are covered by one or the other. To check which one is in your neighborhood, you can give them a call. AT&T can be reached at (877) 722-2256. Verizon is at (800) 483-4000.

You can also check their websites. They allow you to type in your home address to see what’s available.

On AT&T the site is at Click “Internet,” then “Check availability.”

For Verizon, the site is Click on “High speed Internet,” then enter your phone number or address.

If the company services your area, you’ll immediately be offered phone, Internet and other products. If not, you’re likely to get a vague message about “unable to locate the address” or having “technical problems.”

Next: Know your local cable company >>