Internet is as essential nowadays as water, electricity and gas. But figuring out your options or how much your internet should cost per month is not easy. Let’s break down what’s available, the average cost of internet and how you can save on your monthly high-speed internet costs.
What is high-speed internet?
The FCC defines high-speed internet, also known as broadband, as internet that’s always on and is faster than the average dial-up connection.
|High-speed Internet Type||Speed||Delivery Method|
|Cable||10-200 Mbps||Through the coxial cables you get cable TV from|
|DSL||1-80 Mbps||Runs over existing copper phone lines|
|Fiber Optic||30-100 Mbps||Sends transmissions through clear glass fibers roughly the diameter of a human hair|
|Satellite||12-25 Mbps||Sent wirelessly from satellites|
What factors contribute to internet cost?
High-speed internet isn’t cheap and there are logistical reasons why. Satellite internet requires expensive satellites to run and transmit from space. Fiber optic internet requires special installation of fiber-optic cables in your neighborhood. Cable and DSL are usually the cheapest because they use existing telephone line infrastructure.
The faster the high-speed internet plan, the more likely it is to be expensive. You’ll find that fiber-optic and cable internet have the most speed options and that these options will vary from affordable to expensive for the highest speed tier.
What’s the average cost of internet?
Wondering how much internet costs per month? The amount varies nationwide, so here are some averages:
|High-Speed Internet Type||Average Cost of Internet Per Month||Best High-Speed Internet Service Providers|
|Cable||$20-$50||Cox, Mediacom, Spectrum, XFinity|
|DSL||$20-$45||AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, Verizon|
|Fiber Optic||$30-$65||AT&T, Frontier, Verizon|
How does the price of high-speed internet compare to other types of internet?
High-speed internet has blown dial-up service out of the water, making dial-up nearly obsolete. High-speed internet costs are affordable and you get speeds you can’t get with dial-up.
The closest non-broadband service available today would be Netzero’s Highspeed Dial-Up Service for $30 per month. The company doesn’t specify speeds but explains that their service “accelerates” web surfing and streaming through your phone jack and a modem by optimizing and compressing images and data.
How to choose the best internet service
Now that you have an idea of what high-speed internet options there are, it’s time for you to decide which internet service is best. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
How much is the internet?
If you’re on a budget, this may be the most important question to ask yourself to make sure you can afford your internet. You can pick up cable or DSL service for as little as $20 per month.
What speed do you need?
Are you streaming movies and games which would require a faster connection for less lag time? Do you download or upload large image files? Or do you normally use the internet to read and send emails? On the other hand, you may not need faster internet for emailing and surfing the web.
What are the options in your area?
Not all services are available in all areas, so check with your local internet service providers (ISPs) or Broadband Now for answers. If your options are limited because you’re in a rural area, satellite internet may be your only choice.
What are the contract and cancellation fees?
Don’t forget to read the fine print! Most internet providers sign you up for one year. Look for any data caps and decide if being limited to a monthly amount of internet usage would be a dealbreaker for you. Always double-check and make sure the contract length, terms and cancellation fees are fair and reasonable before you sign.
Ways to lower your internet cost per month
Most ISPs have different tiers of internet packages that include varying speeds and usage options. Think about how much speed and data you’ll need and go with the minimum. You can always bump up later if it’s not enough. Here are other ways to save on your internet cost per month:
Switch providers annually
The best internet packages and promos are usually reserved for new customers. Don’t be afraid to switch to a different provider after your contract is up to get a great new deal.
If you like your current ISP and your contract is over soon, give them a call and negotiate a new deal. Know what their current new customer offers are so you have an idea of what to ask for. This works! Consumer Reports found that when customers negotiated with their ISPs, 32% received a new promotional rate, 12% got faster internet speeds and 11% had their original promotional rate extended.
Ask your internet provider if you’ll be renting your modem and router
Many internet providers charge you $10 – $15 per month for use of their modem and router. If this is the case, it may be cheaper to buy your devices than to rent them, especially if you plan on staying with the same ISP for more than a year.