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6 Simple Ways to Save Money With Your High-Speed Internet Service Provider

By Jason Steele

high speed internetIt has been a long time since having high-speed broadband Internet service went from being a point of geeky pride to an essential utility.

And like all utility providers, Internet service providers will do everything they can to extract the most revenue from each of their customers.

Fortunately, there are six tactics savvy customers can employ to enjoy broadband service at the lowest possible price.

1. Don’t Accept Any Offer Unless It Is in Writing
Broadband services have become a highly competitive market in areas where there are multiple providers. My friends and I have been offered discounted plans only to find the savings evaporate when we received our first bill. Eventually, we learned that the sales departments will say anything to sign you up, while their billing departments will always claim ignorance.

The last time I switched my service to a different provider, I conducted the transaction via a web chat. When a promised rebate was denied I was able to email a transcript of the chat to a customer service agent showing the rebate I was promised.  I quickly received a statement credit.

2. Ask for the Economy Service
For almost all users, paying extra for a higher speed of broadband Internet service is as beneficial as ordering high speed water or electricity. What most people don’t realize is that broadband is always on and is always much faster than dial-up service, so there’s rarely a need to upgrade. In fact, your provider may offer a slightly slower speed of broadband for a much lower price. Providers rarely advertise their lower priced services because they usually only exist due to complex regulatory agreements.

I switched  my service from the basic plan to the economy tier and saved $10 a month.  I never noticed a speed difference and I could still stream videos. You have nothing to lose by trying since you can easily switch back if you are not satisfied.

3. Do Not Pay for Installation
Cable and phone companies love to sell their installation services, yet they are rarely necessary. Even if you have never had phone or cable service, the company will do the outside wiring for free. The last thing you really want is the phone or cable technician working on your inside wiring, as they’re typically not trained for that, it can be a recipe for disaster.

If you need inside wiring work you are better off doing it yourself. Since your provider cannot start billing you until the service is working you can expect fairly good telephone technical support that can walk you through the set-up process.

4. Do Not Rent Your Modem
Years ago, I read an article about an elderly woman who had paid thousands of dollars over two decades to rent an old rotary telephone. If you think this sad situation could not happen to you, check your Internet bill and you may find an equipment rental fee. These fees are only increasing.

For example, in 2009 Comcast increased it’s modem rental fee 66% from $3 a month to $5 a month. In December of 2010, they increased it again by another 40% to $7 a month! Who knew that there was a worldwide shortage of modems? Certainly not all of the people on eBay who are selling their modems for $10-$20.

If you are renting a modem, turn it over and write down the model number. Enter that number into a product search on eBay or Amazon, or one of your favorite online shopping sites. You can even ask your provider for a list of compatible modems so that you can purchase a different model. You will almost certainly be able to purchase your own modem for the cost of a few months of rental fees. Then you can tell your Internet provider they can keep their modem and the hefty fees.

5. Perpetually Take Advantage Of Promotions
Internet providers will offer you some great prices but only for an introductory time period. Just because your time is up doesn’t mean your prices should go up as well. As long as you are not in a contract you should be able to contact your provider and inform them that you are considering canceling your service. You will be surprised how quickly you become eligible for another promotion.

If you are not eligible for a promotion you may just decide to switch to a different provider anyways. (This also works for your cable provider, if you’ve still yet to cancel cable and stop watching TV.)

6. Complain Regularly
Unless your service is perfect, it will probably go down from time to time. Don’t accept these outages without receiving something in return. Like most other companies, you can save money by complaining to your Internet service provider. Keep a log of your problems and ask for a statement credit every time you notice a service outage or even a slowdown.

You do not have to pay an outrageous price in order to receive quality Internet service. How do you save money to get online?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Jason Steele
Jason has been writing about personal finance, travel, and other topics on blogs across the Internet. When he is not writing, he has a career in information technology and is also a commercially rated pilot. Jason lives in Colorado with his wife and young daughter where he enjoys parenting, cycling, and other extreme sports.

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  • Dazlette

    I love this article! Here I’m braggin about my cheap Cox cable deal and they got me! I am paying for the ‘faster’ dsl so my” videos wont buffer”. Arghhhhhh. I will be prepared when my introductory rate expires. Great info- what the heck I will get the slower dsl. Thanx a million Daz.

  • http://www.broadbandexpert.com/ John@ISP Blogger

    You have a great writing here. I am inspired and really informed through all of this. I better check stuffs to save my money.

  • http://www.highspeed-internet.com/ High Speed Internet

    This really helps me ! Cheap but high internet connection is a practical way of consuming money.

  • KCD

    Great article! Wish I wasn’t already doing all these things. Here’s one for you. We were paying $10 a month to rent an HD cable box from Comcast for a year (they just sent us that one when we got the service) until I found it on the bill and told them I didn’t want to pay for it and they said they could give us a regular box for free, but the channels wouldn’t be as clear. Changed the box and noticed no difference (wasted $120).

    My sister and I realize this month that we were paying for the modem and had been for a year and a half and we both thought we owed our modem. I called Comcast to check and sure enough it was ours. So, another suggestion is that people scrutinize their bills. California law says that companies are only required to give customers a 3 month refund for mistakes like I that.

  • Chris

    I have also found that all you have to do is cancel your contract for 24 hours (not long enough to lose your phone number if you have phone service as part of a bundle) and call the billing department and make sure you have paid your ballance in full. Get them the email you a confirmation that your account is closed. Call back in 24 hours and sign back up. You are now a “new customer” and now eligible for new customer promotions. The 24 hours is the key. I have done this multiple times with one of the big providers after complaining about how they treat the long term loyal customers and the rep basically said yea, canx and call back n 24 hours (long enough for your account to close in their systems) and you are a new customer. Games!

  • Joe

    This is a great article! Here is another thing that I did to save money. My wife found this company called BillCutterz and they were able to save me money on my cable/internet combo without cutting any more of my services (I had already lowered my internet speed like you said). The whole process was quick and it saved me from having to call and cancel or switch providers like Chris says.

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