Congratulations on your new home! Before you move in, you'll want to have your internet service ready for your family to use. It's just a natural part of settling in and will make the adjustment easier for everyone. But you've already spent a lot of money on your new home, so we've put this guide together to help you avoid any surprise costs. Here's our internet service guide for first time homeowners like yourself; let's get started!
Hidden Costs Of Internet Service
The unfortunate reality of any service to your home including the internet is that it always costs you more than what the advertised price is. We've broken down the ways your bill could cost you more and what to look out for so you can make the best decision for your family.
Internet providers want you to sign up for their service, so they often offer some pretty great new customer deals. One of those deals include promotional pricing. It can save you anywhere between $5 to $50 a month depending on the internet provider. But buyer beware, all promotional pricing expires at some point. If you're not careful, you can find a huge bill increase 3, 6, 12 or even 24 months later. The length of time your promotional pricing lasts for depends on your internet provider. For example, Charter Communications offers promotional pricing good for up to 12 months. After those 12 months are up, your monthly rate will return to the standard rate. If you call before that last month of promotional pricing, you may be able to negotiate for new promotional pricing.
Before you sign up for internet service, check to see if you're signing a contract. If you are, you could find yourself stuck paying more for internet service later. While signing a contract could get you better monthly pricing, this special pricing doesn't last forever. If you're considering entering into a contract, make sure that your pricing won't suddenly go up mid contract and that you can really commit to that length of time. Wanting to switch internet providers later whether it's due to your bill growing to be too expensive or wanting to move to a new neighborhood where your current internet provider doesn't cover will result in hefty early termination fees. These fees are different for every provider and will adjust to how long you have left of your contract. For example Cox Communications charges an extra $15 for every month you have left in your contract. If you're ending service six months early, that'll leave you on the hook for an additional $90 on your final bill plus your normal service fee.
Reoccurring Equipment Fees
To access the internet you're paying for, you will need a modem and it can be assumed that you will also need a router. All internet providers offer lease options ranging from $6 a month up to $15 a month to use their equipment. This recurring equipment fee is in addition to your internet service cost.
If this added cost is simply too much to spend, you could go to your local electronics store or big box store and buy your own equipment. Modems and routers cost between $50 to $200 per device or for a combination device. Overtime you could save money that would have been spent on lease fees. The downside is if the device breaks or you have trouble with service, fixing it is up to you.
However, leasing your equipment is a good option for households that aren't tech savvy or don't plan on staying with their internet provider for an extended amount of time. When you lease your modem, router or both devices, you have access to your internet provider's technical support team that can walk you through any troubleshooting. It also guarantees that if the device is defective, you can exchange it for another device at no extra cost to you.
One Time Installation Fees
When you sign up for internet service, you'll also be subject to a one time installation fee. Luckily many internet providers will waive the installation fee as a part of their new customer deals. Professional installation can cost from $50 to $200 depending on what internet provider you choose.
For example, MetroNet often waives their installation fee for new customers who sign up for auto bill pay. Comcast Xfinity will also waive their $90 installation fee if you install your equipment yourself with their in-home installation kit. Sometimes the one-time installation fee is unavoidable and there's not much you can do about that besides choosing a different internet provider. For example, Charter Spectrum charges an unavoidable $200 professional installation fee for their new gigabit internet service. Unlike other internet providers, Spectrum's gigabit installation process isn't as simple as just plugging it in. It's actually quite involved with their technician, hence the fee. We consider it just the cost of having superior internet service.
Another way you can accidentally increase your internet bill is to go over your data cap. Some internet providers, like HughesNet satellite internet have data caps and others don't. With internet providers that do impose data caps you will need to monitor your usage to avoid extra fees tacked onto your bill.
For example, both Cox Communications and Mediacom will charge their customers a $10 overage fee for every 50 GB you go over your data cap. Other internet providers like HughesNet will slow down your speeds until the next billing cycle to keep you on and connected.
Knowing What Internet Speeds You Really Need
You don't want to overspend on internet service, but you don't want to scrimp on it either. An easy way to find out if the internet plan you're considering will be good enough for your family or not is to divide the number of devices in your household by the download speeds outlined in your new internet plan. You want the end result to be a minimum of 25 Mbps, but higher for households who like to stream and game online.
For example, you have 2 laptops, 2 smartphones, a tablet, and a gaming system. That's 6 devices divided by your 200 Mbps internet plan with Spectrum equaling 33 Mbps. In this scenario that Spectrum internet plan with 200 Mbps would be great for that household.