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Top 7 Ways to Lower Your Internet Bill
We all know how integrated the internet is in our daily lives. At this point, there are tons of things that simply cannot be done without access to the internet. Unfortunately, however, that monthly bill can get pretty hefty. Initial promotional prices are nice until a year or two years later when bills can skyrocket. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though! Here are seven simple ways to lower your bill.
Table of Contents
- Are You Spending Too Much on Internet Speed?
- Bundle Your Services to Save Money
- Buy Your Own Internet Equipment to Save Money
- How to Negotiate Your Internet Bill
- Does Using AutoPay Save You Money?
- Government Assistance for Internet
- How to Ask About Internet Discounts
Although internet is certainly a necessity in both our professional and personal lives today, it is wise to consider budgeting for your internet service. Below are seven tips for making sure that you retain an affordable price to stay connected while only paying for what you need.
1. Are You Spending Too Much on Internet Speed?
A lot of people are paying for speed they don’t use without even knowing it. Many minimum speed plans range from 100 Mbps – 200 Mbps which is often more than enough to do what you want internet around for: play games, stream Netflix and work from home. For a better idea about what internet speeds may be appropriate for you, take our internet speed quiz.
If you fork out $69.99 per month for the Spectrum Internet Ultra plan that has 500 Mbps of speed, but you only really use your internet for browsing websites or scrolling through social media, you don’t need that many megabits per second (Mbps) of download speed. Next time you look at your internet bill or internet account, take a look at the speed you have and think about the speeds you actually need. Here’s a helpful chart that explains which speeds can do what:
|Speed||Maximum number of devices||Best for|
|10 Mbps||3||Basic web browsing, social media, emailing, music and video streaming|
|100 Mbps||6||Streaming in HD on multiple devices, gaming, heavy website browsing|
|300 Mbps||8||Minimum advertised speeds of most fiber connections; streaming in HD, gaming, working/learning from home|
|500 Mbps||10||Online gaming, streaming in 4K, working/learning from home|
|1,000 Mbps||12||4K Ultra HD and 3D HD streaming, unlimited web browsing, online gaming and working/learning from home|
2. Bundle Your Services to Save Money
On every internet provider website, you see things about bundling your services (internet with cable TV, or internet with phone, or all three) along with claims about how these packages save you money and simplify your bill. As it turns out, these claims are legitimate. Some providers will even reduce your bill by up to $40 a month when you package internet and TV together. Overall, this type of deal can save you money while providing you with more services.
Some of the other providers that can save you money are Cox, Optimum and Suddenlink, although it varies by location.
Top two providers that will save you money when you bundle your internet with TV.
AT&T Internet 300 + DIRECTV STREAM ENTERTAINMENT for $124.99/mo.
Spectrum TV Select + Spectrum Internet for $109.98/mo.
Most providers with bundle options will actually save you money in the end. These prices can be great, but they often still involve promotional pricing that will disappear after the promotional period is up. Even after the price hike, however, you can still save more money. Just ask your provider about your options when you get to that point.
3. Buy Your Own Internet Equipment to Save Money
Sometimes providers offer free equipment, but most of the time they provide it for a monthly rental fee. Luckily, there are several ways you can avoid these fees, like getting equipment of your own. That way, you don’t have month-to-month fees that add up, and you can just buy one item and use it for your internet needs for as long as you like. Something to keep in mind, though is that some modems and routers may not be compatible with your internet service. Even if they are, your selected equipment may be unsupported by your internet service provider (ISP) or their tech help services. If you choose this route, you should have reasonable confidence in your own tech skills.
Let’s check out an example of renting a Spectrum router vs. buying a compatible router:
|Monthly Modem Rental Cost (a month)||Cost of Compatible Spectrum Modem||Savings|
|$5/mo. ($60/yr)||Like new and top rated NETGEAR C3000 router on Amazon: $42.97||$17.03/year.|
4. How to Negotiate Your Internet Bill
You may want to do a little window shopping first to see what better deals you could get elsewhere. That way, you’re armed with another deal with another provider when you call up your current one to negotiate.
You don’t have to be a professional negotiator or a haggler to be able to cut a deal. Negotiating in this context is as simple as going to your provider and asking if any deals are available. You can even say you are contemplating switching providers. National Broadband’s offers finder can help you pinpoint the best deals in your area. Then, use the information you found in your research to arrange for a lower price while still keeping the speeds and performance you need.
5. Does Using AutoPay Save You Money?
This is a pretty simple way to lower your cost. When you first get internet, there’s usually some initial fees for setting up your account and or installing equipment. When you set up paperless billing, some ISPs slice a few bucks from your bill right off the bat. You can also perform a self-installation of your internet which can save you up to $50 in fees, in some cases.
Enrolling in AutoPay is a convenience for the customer just as much as it is for the provider. It helps you save money, usually around $5 a month, while also making it so you will never forget to pay your bill.
6. Government Assistance for Internet
The government offers some internet assistance to those who are under a certain income threshold. It’s based on federal assistance programs like the ones below. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Emergency Broadband Benefit was launched to assist households with paying for broadband internet.
Thankfully, most internet providers offer program assistance within their organization. To find assistance on a federal level, check out the Federal Communication Commission website for a list of active programs.
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Public Housing (HUD)
- Pell Grant
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Senior/Government assistance
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Community Eligibility Provision of the National School Lunch Program (CEP of the NSLP)
7. How to Ask About Internet Discounts
Order your internet online and you could save almost $20-$40 right off the bat, as installation and activation fees are waived. If you’re considering a bundle of digital services, there are tons of promotions constantly happening with many providers that include promotional prices, temporary free subscriptions to premium services like HBO, up to $250 in Visa Reward gift cards or holiday promotions.
Recap: Lowering Your Bill Can Be Easy
Our top way to lower your internet bill is to look at your speed. You should never be paying for speeds that you or your family will never need. An example of this may be someone who pays for a whole gig (940-1,000 Mbps) when they only have 2-3 people living in their household. Even the most internet-obsessed teenagers will never need that much speed.
The second biggest money saver is through equipment purchase. Although most modems are free with providers, routers (home Wi-Fi) usually come with a rental fee each month which can cost you up to $100 a year. Luckily, you can buy your own router to save yourself money every year.
You can also save through negotiations with your provider or low-income deal programs.
Frequently asked questions
Why does my internet bill go up?
There are many reasons why an internet bill might go up. For one, the promotional period may have expired. Promotional periods can last anywhere from a few months to a couple years, and when they are completed bills can be raised by a substantial amount. Other reasons include if you raised your speed or added additional digital services (i.e. TV or home phone).
How can I negotiate a lower internet bill?
Negotiating is not as scary as it sounds. You do not have to be a smooth-talking business prodigy. National Broadband provides free tools to research the best internet and TV deals at your address. Or you can directly call your service provider and ask about lowering your bill.
Can I get internet for free?
Free internet is difficult—but not impossible—to attain. The FCC Lifeline program (a federal assistance program) that can give you reduced-cost or even free internet depending on how you qualify. Find out if you qualify by applying to the program on their Lifeline Support website. The Emergency Broadband Benefit offers affected households subsidies on internet costs but does not make internet free.
What's the difference between Wi-Fi and internet?
Internet is the connection to data found on the World Wide Web. It typically involves a wired connection. Wi-Fi is the technology that can transmit internet data wirelessly to devices that are not physically wired to the internet, usually inside homes, restaurants, malls and other public places.
Written by: Hayley Abshear
Edited by: Henry St. Pierre