How to Trim Your Internet Bill After Cutting Your Cable
You finally did it—you cut your phone and your cable to reduce your monthly bill. Huzzah!
Unfortunately, you can cut your landline and sever your cable TV, but if you want to stream the new season of “Game of Thrones,” you need to hang on to your Internet connection. And whatever savings you might achieve by ditching the other services, you will almost certainly give them back as your bill for Web connectivity creeps back up.
According to Money.com, consumers now pay an average of $50 a month for a broadband connection to the Web, which is up from a monthly average of about $40 a decade ago. But costs can vary widely—ranging from $10 to $120—depending on whether the service is bundled with cable and phone, is an introductory rate, and depending also on your connectivity speed.
That’s a lot of money just for Internet access. What gives?
Read on for three steps to keep your Internet costs in check.
1. Understand your current bill.
Cutting costs for Internet starts with understanding what you are currently paying. Most people cannot even parse this out because their bills are a jumble of bundled pricing and fees. If you haven’t looked at your whole Internet package, then it’s time to go through it top to bottom.
The items to look for include: the base price, speed surcharges, and equipment. If you cannot figure it out based on the arcane coding on your bill, call and ask.
One potential way to save is to buy your own modem/router combination—at $50 to $100, you could quickly make up the $5 to $10 a month rental fee you may be charged.
2. Only pay for what you need.
Another variable to control is your speed. A study released recently by the Federal Communications Commission says standalone Internet service that delivers 10-25 megabits per second (Mbps) is becoming the standard for the typical family that streams video. Many, however, opt for even higher speeds for the best possible online experience.
You could be paying for more than you need, or getting less than you expect because the wiring to your home simply cannot deliver.
The bottom line is that you should not be paying for more speed than you need. If you go online mainly to check email, you could make it work with a connection of 1 Mbps—rather than the typical offering of 10 Mbps or more.
Some of the biggest cable providers are offering “basic” Internet connections for about $15 a month for these light users. The same deal applies for DSL, a slower Internet connection offered by phone companies and delivered over traditional phone lines.
If you’re a light user, you will enjoy a decent price compared with those who pay for high-speed broadband. The trade-off is that they cannot expect to stream movies without frustration or engage in video game battles online.
To make sure you are getting the speed they are paying for, measure the actual speed of your connection.
If it turns out that you are paying for one speed but are receiving far less, you should go back to your provider and ask for an adjustment.
3. Put your money where your mouth is.
The next step is to call the competition, if you have alternate service providers in your area. If you do not, it is still worth calling your provider to ask for a lower rate. If you price out a cheaper plan, you can ask your current company to match it.
If they balk, good! You may get the best deal from the cancellations department.
You might also like: 6 Tips for Getting the Best Internet Service for Your Money.