The cost of high-speed Internet is increasing constantly for many people, and the service generally isn’t getting better for the price. In fact, it’s the norm for customers to be dissatisfied with their service, especially in cases involving service bundles (home phone, cable, Internet, etc.). In an ideal world, there would be competition between service providers, and customers would be able to choose the provider that best works for their needs. Unfortunately, for the majority, their current Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the only option.
Even worse, some areas don’t even have options for truly high-speed Internet. Approximately 32% of customers have to settle for speeds less than 25 Mbps. While customers are saving by dropping bundles (cord-cutting, in particular, is a popular trend, with Dish Network and DirecTV losing 2.36 million subscribers in 2018), many still believe they’re paying too much for sub-par service. This can be all the more frustrating when customers have data plans included with their cell phone service that is basically redundant in combination with Internet service. Fortunately, while there may be many factors out of your control when it comes to Internet service, there are some things you can do to trim down your bill.
A few easy steps, like reducing your download speed, buying your own modem and router, and comparison shopping, can help you lower your internet bill.
Buy a Modem and Router
If you have cable Internet, then your ISP is most likely renting you a modem and router and charging you a monthly fee for them. You’ll need to check your bill carefully for the fee, but if you see it, you can return your rented units once you’ve bought replacements. If you don’t have wireless Internet yet, you can even buy a wireless router to potentially save on costs of upgrading with your ISP.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to buy your own equipment in certain situations. If you have DSL or a fiber-optic Internet, for example, a typical cable modem won’t work for you. There are also some advantages to renting like being able to swap out equipment when it stops working.
If you have the luxury of multiple providers in your area, that’s great. You can compare Internet providers with iSelect and find the service that works best for you. Research prices for all the providers in your area, and negotiate based on this knowledge.
Even if you only have one provider available, you can still research their best deals. They’ll often offer better deals to people just signing on than they will to customers who have been with them for years. It’s fairly common to get “grandfathered in” to an old plan that no longer makes sense. Let them know you’re aware of new deals and threaten to leave if they’re unwilling to offer a better price.
Many ISPs, especially in large cities, are offering increasingly higher speeds—up to 100 or even 200 Mbps, but do you really need that? Such speeds generally aren’t needed for streaming or online gaming, especially if you’re in a home that doesn’t run many devices at once. Even for 4k streaming, you’ll generally need 25 Mbps, so you may be able to save significantly by moving down to a slower speed.
Rely More on Wi-Fi
Most people are going to use the Internet on their smartphone throughout the day, and it’s common to have a separate phone data plan to cover this. There’s a good chance this isn’t necessary, though. Try setting your phone to automatically connect to your Wi-Fi when in range, and monitor your data usage. Phone data plans typically cover more than you’ll actually use, so you can likely cut this cost by simply using Wi-Fi in your home more often.