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- Buy your own equipment
- Bundle your services
- Only pay for the speed you need
- Switch ISPs
- Provider discounts
- Government or ISP programs
- Negotiate your bill
The need for a good home internet connection has become more essential than ever now that most of the world is working from home. However, internet is anything but cheap, and it seems to only get more expensive the longer you’re with your internet provider. Although we can’t make your bill go away, here are some steps any household can take to lower their internet bill without making any major sacrifices.
Buy your own equipment
One of the simplest ways you can cut costs on your monthly internet bill is to buy your own modem and router. Although internet providers don’t advertise it, most will allow you to buy your own equipment instead of renting from them. Renting a modem and router usually costs $10-$15/mo. That’s up to $180/yr. Conversely, buying your own modem and router usually costs between $50 and $100. That means you could save as 40% of what you’d pay in router fees just in the first year.
Bundle your services
If you have cable TV, you might want to consider bundling TV and internet together in order to save money each month. Bundling internet, TV and even home phone can save you anywhere between $5 and $40/mo. That can make a huge difference.
To save even more money each month, consider reducing your cable TV service to a more basic package or even cutting the cord and opting for a streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu, instead. Cable TV is a major expense and there may be more opportunities for cost shaving with your cable TV bill than with your internet bill.
You can also consider bundling your internet and phone plans to save some money each month. ISPs that offer phone service often offer a discount or other perks to customers who choose to subscribe to their phone service as well. T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have some great mobile and internet bundle options.
Make sure you are not paying for more speed than you need
Most people don’t know how much speed they need when signing up for internet service. It can be easy to think you need faster speeds than you actually do when internet packages go up to 1,000 Mbps and higher. However, in reality, very few households need speeds above 200 Mbps and most can do with under 100 Mbps. If you think you could manage with a slower internet plan, consider downgrading your internet speed to save on monthly costs.
Look into switching providers
Although switching providers can seem like a major hassle, it can potentially save you a lot of money. Not only will you get access to the promotional rates again with a new service provider, but you also may be able to find a provider that offers better long-term rates than what you are currently paying. Some providers also offer cheap internet plans that you can explore.
Your best chance of paying as little as possible when you switch providers is by:
Ordering online: Most providers offer discounts or waive certain fees, such as the installation or activation fee, when you order online.
Switching to fiber optic internet: If fiber optic internet is available in your area, that is likely your best option.
Choosing a long-term contract: Most providers offer discounts for customers who enter into long-term contracts. If you feel comfortable entering a two-year contract, that will likely save you the most money.
Switching to 5G home internet: 5G Home Internet is an internet option that could potentially save you money since it often has no extra fees. T-Mobile, for example, offers its internet for a flat $50/mo. with no contracts, hidden fees or price hikes. You’d never experience an early termination fee or see your price increase in your second year of service. Speeds aren’t quite comparable to some cable and fiber plans, but 5G home internet is still becoming a popular option amongst consumers.
Consider mobile internet: Using your smartphone for internet is another way to save a few bucks – but only if you aren’t engaging in bandwidth-heavy internet activities. Mobile internet is convenient, available wherever there’s a service area for your phone and does not require a separate ISP plan.
On the downside, prepare for slower speeds and if you want to stream, game, download or do any other heavy internet activities, your mobile internet won’t cut it. It also is not suitable for a household with multiple connected devices and if you go over your data, you’ll be hit with extra fees.
Many ISPs offer discounts on your plan if you participate in auto-pay or online billing. The price you see advertised on ISPs’ websites is usually with an auto-pay or online billing discount included, so you’ll want to participate in these kinds of things if they are offered by your provider.
Also, keep track of any promotions your ISP may have. Top providers like Xfinity, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile often offer anything from discounts to perks like free electronics and subscriptions or covering your early termination fee.
Government or ISP programs
You can also explore government programs or programs through your ISP to save on your monthly bill. There are a few government programs, like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline, that offer you a monthly discount on the internet if you’re eligible. Some ISPs also offer low-income options for eligible customers.
Negotiate your bill
Before switching internet providers, try negotiating your bill with your current provider. Negotiating costs can seem intimidating, but if you just stick to the facts and come prepared, it can be fairly straightforward. Providers don’t want to lose customers so it is likely in their interest to lower your bill in order to keep you as a customer.
Here’s everything you need to know before you start negotiating with your internet provider:
Do your research: Before you call your ISP, you should do some research so you can be better equipped to negotiate. You should know about your internet speed, other ISPs in your area, your connection type and competitor rates.
Don’t bluff: If you say you are considering switching internet providers to save on costs, make sure this is true. Do your research and find out which internet providers are available in your area and if you can save money by switching. If your current provider can’t lower your bill and there are better options in your area, then it is time to switch.
Know your customer information: The best way to prepare for negotiating with your internet provider is to know as much information about your monthly bills and any other customer information. To fully prepare for negotiating, collect the following information:
- How much you pay each month
- What each charge on your bill is for (you may be able to get rid of certain charges)
- How long you have been a customer
- How much you are paying now vs. when you signed up
- Any problems you have had with your internet service or with your provider’s customer service
Be polite: Remember you are speaking with another human being and not a robot. Remaining polite and respectful can only help your cause as the person you are speaking with will be much more likely to want to help you if you are likable.
Just remember, as long as you keep the conversation professional and truthful, you’ll do great. Good luck!
Many ISPs offer low-cost internet options and participate in programs like the ACP which can offer you free internet depending on the plan you choose. Top providers participating in the program offer plans of $30/mo. or less, and with the ACP’s $30/mo. stipend, you could get internet for free if you’re eligible.
If your internet plan has a contract, you may have to pay an early termination fee (ETF) if you cancel your service before the contract is up. Most contracts are one or two years, so make sure you keep this in mind before you purchase a new internet plan. If you want to switch providers before your contract is up, some ISPs offer promotions that will cover your fee in full upon switching.
Some of the easiest ways to reduce your bill are to make sure you’re paying for the speed you really need and to take advantage of any promotions or discounts your ISP offers.
Written by:Camryn Smith
Cammy is a writer with Allconnect, growing her broadband industry knowledge for over a year on the internet marketplace. Her expertise lies in home internet and broadband service with a focus on providers, plans… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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