UMD: A Globally Connected University

Communications

If you are interested in having internet/phone service in your home, check with Off-Campus Housing Services' resource on local utility companies.

Internet

There are not many internet cafes in the College Park area. However, there are many free on-campus wireless hotspots, and you can use computers in the libraries for email and internet research for free. Off campus, many coffee shops have wireless internet, and most public libraries allow their patrons to use their computers for internet access. 

Phones

Local calls: Most local phone companies in the United States offer unlimited local calls for a one price. From College Park, calls to the Washington metro area are considered local (Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and the metro Maryland area). You need to dial the area code and the number, but a 1 is not necessary. Example: 301-555-0145. Local area codes are 301, 202, 703, 240. Some 301 or 703 numbers may be long-distance. If this is the case, you will hear a recorded message instructing you to first dial a 1 before this number.

Long-distance calls:  For long-distance calls, you will usually have to pay extra. Costs can vary, but if you dial a long-distance number without a plan or a discount number, the rate will be very high. There are many long-distance companies. You must first dial a 1 to make a long-distance call. Example: 1-410-555-1579.

Cell phones:  There are many options for cell phone service so be sure to shop around for the company that fits your needs. Many cell phone companies charge for incoming calls, and if you go over the minutes you're allowed for a month, your bill can be very, very expensive. Some plans require you to sign a contract, which can be from one year to two years (more common now). There are also pay-as-you-go cell phone options, which means you don't have a contract.

Alternatives: There are many options for making free phone calls via the internet, including Skype, Viber (link to http://www.viber.com/), Tango (link to http://www.tango.me/), FaceTime (link to http://www.apple.com/ios/facetime/), and other programs that allow you to talk to anyone in the world also using the same program for free.

Postal Mail

The United States Postal Service website is http://www.usps.com/. You can print out postage or check for the nearest post office. On campus, Terrapin Shipping and Mailing, located in the Adele H.Stamp Student Union, can send packages to the United States and overseas.