Tips for setting up internet and TV in an apartment or rental unit

Camryn Smith

Mar 21, 2024 — 5 min read

Like water, cable and internet have become essential utilities that are often rolled into the cost of the rent. Here are a few things to consider before opting in.

From state-of-the-art fitness centers to off-leash dog parks and even breweries, added amenities can give an apartment complex or other rental unit a major competitive edge. According to the National Apartment Association, cable TV ranks in the top 10 of the most highly sought-after amenities. It’s right up there with in-unit washer/dryers and hardwood floors!

Many apartments even come pre-wired for cable tv and internet service. But there are some pros and cons. Before you sign up, here is our renter’s guide with a few things to keep in mind.

Does your unit come with TV or internet?

While you’re searching for an apartment or rental, you need to find out if Wi-Fi or cable is already available in your unit or if you need to subscribe to a provider on your own. Some apartments and rentals include Wi-Fi in their utilities, so you may be able to avoid searching for an ISP if this is the case for you.

If your unit does not come with Wi-Fi or cable included, which is more common, then you need to find your own ISP or TV provider. But first, ensure your unit has the required wiring for service. Most apartments are set up to handle cable internet and TV, but you may be able to get fiber or 5G if your apartment is wired for it.

Once you know what your options are, it’s time to choose the right internet or TV provider for your needs.

Check out different internet connection types below. If your apartment is wired for fiber, it will provide the fastest speeds. Cable also provides fast speeds and will likely be accessible in your unit, and would make bundling easier if you also want to subscribe to a cable TV plan. 5G is a widely available service also worth considering.

Find a provider that’s right for you

First things first, enter your address to find internet providers available to you. Not all ISPs are available everywhere, so entering your address ensures you are choosing from ISPs that are serviceable to your exact address.

Or call us today: (844) 451-2720

Once you know which ISPs are available at your address, it’s time to choose the right internet plan. You’ll be presented with different speeds and prices, so it’s essential you know the internet speed you need to support your everyday internet activities.

What about TV?

Streaming has become popular amongst renters because you can sign into your streaming service wherever you are, and many streaming platforms now have live TV. Check out some popular cable TV alternatives below:

Consider your need for speed

Internet speed is based on the number of data bits per second (bps) that travel from your device to the internet and vice versa. Whether you’re using your apartment or rental property’s internet or subscribing to your own internet plan, first take time to think through what you use the internet for and how much speed you’ll need.

Do you check your work email at night and browse the internet? Stream lots of videos? Do you have multiple devices you’d like to use simultaneously? Do you have a roommate who is using your internet as well? All of these things factor in when determining the speed you need.

Pro tip: If you are opting into your apartment’s Wi-Fi, check with current residents to see if they’re happy with the service at key times of the day. For the average tenant, provided bandwidth likely suffices, but not always. If you’d prefer having ultimate control over your provider, speeds and price, consider choosing your own ISP and internet plan.

Check out some popular ISPs and internet plans below.

Avoid potential roadblocks

If you determine you don’t want to go with your apartment’s provider, check with the complex to make sure they allow you to add your own lines. If you are allowed to subscribe to a different internet service provider, remember that you will end up paying twice if the service is included in your rent. In other words, if they’re going to charge you for the service anyway, and what is offered will do, consider going with the provided plan.

If you are able to opt into your own service, call our experts to find out what providers are available for your particular address. You may uncover a world of options for service at your building.

Weigh potential time and financial savings

If you’re moving into a newly constructed complex, installation of fiber-optic internet and other wiring may be included in the contract at little to no cost to the owner, according to Stephanie Anderson with the NAA. Residents, then, receive special pricing through that provider and are encouraged to join by the leasing staff.

The good news: If the complex offers these services, you often won’t have to waste time researching, calling and setting up appointments with the provider. The apartment will do it for you. Further, according to Anderson, properties often designate representatives to handle resident set-up, questions, transfers and equipment returns. It’s time-saving, no-hassle customer service.

Anderson advised, though, that not all apartments will deliver results in the same way. “We are in the business of managing apartments,” she said, “not cable.”

Think through the length of your stay

How long will you be in this apartment or rental? If you plan to move in a year, and the apartment or ISP calls for a two-year contract, consider that before you sign anything. Premature cancellation could produce unforeseen fees and you might be on the hook for another full year of payments if you end up moving.

Want to go beyond our renter’s guide and find out more about available internet and TV providers in your area? Chat with our experts or search our resource center to find additional information to help you in your search.


How much does internet cost per month in an apartment?

Internet costs will vary based on the provider you sign up for, but if Wi-Fi is available through your apartment, it could be included in your rent or utilities.

If your apartment offers Wi-Fi service then explore that option since it could be included in your rent or utilities. Otherwise, there are cheap internet options you can look into when searching for your own internet provider.

If your unit already has the necessary wiring for internet service, then you can usually self-install your internet service. Many ISPs now offer their own apps or self-installation kits that walk you through the process once they send you your equipment. If your apartment already offers Wi-Fi, that’s even better since you can avoid installing it yourself altogether.

Camryn Smith

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

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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