Did you know that we here in the US pay more for our home Internet service then people almost everywhere else in the world? According to PBS.org, we pay nearly double of the same Internet connection that people in London, Seoul and Bucharest pay for.
Why is this? It’s probably due principally to monopolized markets and outdated equipment.
Competition is a great thing. If you don’t believe us just look as what’s happening in the cellular service market. One provider is currently offering to let its customers upgrade to a new smartphone every time a new one is introduced and for just an extra $15 a month. If you shop carefully you can now get cell phone service without signing a contract and the deals currently being offered on cell phone trade-ins are just amazing.
Unfortunately, there isn’t as much competition in the Internet service market. Where we live we have basically two choices – to get our Internet via cable or phone line from one of just four different providers.
So what could you do to slash that Internet bill but still get the service you enjoy? Here are five tips that would help you take control of your costs so you’d end up with more money in your wallet every month.
Evaluate your usage
It’s quite possible that you’re paying for a higher broadband speed then you really need. This means you could scale back. There are tools available online that would help you determine what speed you’re actually using versus the speed you’re paying for. As an example of this, we could easily get by with an average download speed of 20 Mbps (megabits per second) but we’re paying for 40 Mbps. In our case, we can’t scale back because we’re in a “bundle” that saves us money on our television and phone service. But if we could change to that slower speed we would definitely save money.
There may be other things you’re paying for besides speed. Next time you get a bill from your Internet provider, look over it with a fine-tooth comb and review every charge and fee. If you find anything that looks suspicious or that you don’t understand call your Internet provider and ask for an explanation. You might be able to get some of those fees lowered or eliminated altogether. This, too, would save you money.
Do what we did and bundle
If you’re getting your Internet à la carte you’re paying too much. If you could bundle your phone, television and Internet you should save quite a bit of money. Give your Internet service provider (ISP) a call and ask what packages or discounts it offers if you combine services. Spoiler alert – bundles almost always mean signing a 12- or 24-month contract. Be sure to understand that contract before you sign. And if you can get a 12-month contract that would be better because you’d then have the option of opting out after 12 months if your provider does not offer you another good deal.
Ask if your ISP will price match
If you keep your eyes open you may find that one of your ISP’s competitors is offering a better deal. If so, you need to call your current provider and see if they would match that price. Companies, including your Internet service provider, value customer loyalty. So they are often willing to negotiate. If you signed up at a special rate and it’s about to expire, look around so that you’ll know what other companies are offering. Then, before your price goes up, contact your ISP and ask what it would be willing to do to keep you as a customer and prevent you from going to a competitor. You might be surprised at the deal you’re offered.
You’re not alone if you want to cut a high Internet bill. There are companies such as BillCutterz where you could have your bill reviewed. BillCutterz will even negotiate with your ISP on your behalf. This can be a great option if you don’t want to go through the brain damage of switching providers. BillCutterz does charge for its service but it’s not a flat fee. Its charges are based on how much money it saves you. For example, if it were able to get your monthly bill reduced by $50 BillCutterz will charge you $25 a month but that means you would still be $25 ahead of the game.
If your ISP refuses to work with you to get your bill lowered it might be time to abandon ship and switch providers – assuming you can find one that offers the same degree of service at a lower price. Finally, you could just cancel your Internet service. We know that that might sound really traumatic but once you’ve determined your real Internet needs (see paragraph titled “Evaluate your usage”), you might find you could get all the Internet you need via local Wi-Fi spots in place of home service. There are now Wi-Fi spots almost everywhere. In fact we were in a store the other day that didn’t offer it and we were shocked.
More Wi-Fi is on the way
There is now a new technology emerging called Hotspot 2.0. The way it works is very simple. You will no longer be required to manually logon to a specific Wi-Fi hotspot. Instead, your phone or tablet will simply roam among them, jumping onto a WLAN or cellular network as needed. The benefit of this is huge as you will no longer be required to manually find a good hotspot. Your devices will be working constantly to give you the best available connection and then connecting you automatically in a safe and secure manner.
So when will this amazing technology be available? That’s a bit hard to say because it means that changes need to be made by the public networks. However, it’s already available at 21 airports in the US and the way technology advances these days it’s almost sure to be soon available everywhere. And when that happens you should be able to wave goodbye to your ISP and never go back.