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Home » Save Money, Summer of Saving, Technology

Getting the Cheapest High Speed Internet: Lets Polish this Turd Together

Last updated by on 24 Comments

In a world of cable TV cord cutting, or really the world today (in general), you need a high speed internet connection.

It’s one of the few things that I’m not going to advise you to pull back on, if you are smart about how you are doing it (more on that in a bit).

Lets hope that the greedy ISP’s don’t figure out how integral it is to us being able to get by without their cable TV offering.

Wait, they already have!

The cost for 25 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up at Comcast (my lovely neighborhood ISP monopoly) is $65 per month. The next lower tier is only 5 Mbps down, which does not adequately stream video, so I’m stuck.

That $65 per month is for nothing more than me plugging my own modem in to the line that they ran (on subsidized government dollars probably) to my house a few decades ago. Considering it only costs $300 to do that with higher priced fiber today, and almost nothing to maintain the lines, that’s almost 100% pure profit for these guys.

cheapest internetSadly, I don’t see prices going down any. When you have a monopoly on high speed, what is preventing you from jacking your rates? Heck, when you are a monopoly, what’s preventing you from doing anything that would require any sort of investment either? The result is Americans are paying ridiculous rates for slow internet speeds. The average South Korean has 200X faster internet than the average American.

Want to pay less?

Sure, we could get 6 Mbps down and 750kb up from an AT&T DSL line. But who has time to sit around for an hour while a 15 minute video buffers and loads?

Google Fiber, you and your 1 Gbps for $70/mo. or 5 Mbps for free, are welcome in my town any day.

But until a legitimate disruptive competitor comes to your and my town, we have to make do with what we’ve got.

So here are my suggestions on how to polish the high-speed internet monopoly turd, as best you can:

1. Don’t pay up for speeds you don’t need

It’d be nice to have twice the speeds (Comcast offers 50 Mbps down) that I currently do for just $15 per month more. But I don’t need it. If I can stream 1080p HD quality video, without having to buffer, why would I pay more? I know that opting for slower internet speeds than the maximum available might seem anti-geek persona to the many beloved geeks out there, but just think of how anti-geeky it would be to further line your ISP’s pockets?

2. Do not pay for a modem rental fee

Most ISP’s are now giving you the honor of renting their modems for the low monthly payment of $7 per month. Here’s the thing. You don’t need to do that. Buy your own modem, and don’t let them rip you off further than they already are. I’ve previously discussed 3 ways you can get rid of your modem rental fee. My favorite? Just replace your modem rental altogether so you don’t have to deal with constant haggling. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Negotiate lower rates

With no modem rental as carrot bait, there’s nothing stopping you from negotiating a lower price on your connection. Even if there are no legit competitors in the area, I always start the conversation by saying I’m thinking of switching to one. And if you do own your own modem, dropping the service, and starting it back up shortly thereafter is a simple phone call away. That gives you more leverage.

4. When all else fails

Hit up your local library or these other fine purveyors of free-wifi.

Cheapest High Speed Internet Discussion:

  • Are there any crazy high-speed satellite or national high speed internet players with competitive pricing that you know about?
  • How have you gotten the fastest internet speeds at the lowest rates?
  • What negotiation strategies on internet have you effectively used with your ISP?

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


24 Comments »
  • Anonymous says:

    I’m pretty sure the comcast article you linked just had a typo about North Korea, as later in the article they mention South Korea’s adoption rate. South Korea is pretty well known as the country with the fastest internet speeds on Earth, whereas North Korea is more known for prison camps, a severe lack of information, and citizens starving to death. Now if they’re taking the NK dictator’s word for it, the 200x may be accurate. Then again, by that logic he is also a movie star and the best at every sport in the world.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Yes, I know the difference between the two, I just did not realize the source was incorrect. I’ve updated the post. Either way, the point stands – the country that invented the internet and wants to be tops in everything (U.S.) is getting blasted in the global economy by other countries. We have underwhelming speeds and pay too much for them b/c ISP’s have monopolistic holds on their wires.

  • r says:

    I recently moved from a city the only cable internet option was Comcast at $76/month (includes cable even though I don’t own a TV – internet alone is more expensive (I called to be sure, and checked every 6 months or so)) to New York where I have Optimum cable internet at a faster speed than Comcast ever gave me for $29.95. I don’t know what Comcast’s problem is but it was completely terrible: way overpriced, frequently slow/down, stupid bundle, incessant marketing. I’m ready for internet as a free public service (along with power and water too), but in the meantime Optimum is pretty painless and cheap.

  • Jim says:

    Well said GE, most people don’t even try to negotiate their rates. Charter which is in my area is always willing to negotiate, because they seem to get the fact that this is a highly competitive environment and perhaps if they lose you it may be forever! Always try to negotiate a better rate!

  • Jake @ Common Cents Wealth says:

    Good advice. We bought our own modem and I call every 6 months to negotiate another promotional rate. We don’t ever pay more than $30 a month for 20 mbps download.

  • Brian says:

    “The average North Korean has 200X faster internet than the average American. NORTH Korean. You know, the Kim Jong regime…”

    The average person in North Korea doesn’t even have Internet. The source you linked to gives no source for its apparently made up statistic. South Korea’s Internet speeds are about 200% faster than the United States according to Akamai’s latest state of the Internet report.

    http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/

  • Sarah says:

    We have Time Warner in this area, and what drives me crazy about them is that they charge every customer a different rate depending on how much they complain. I call every year to ask for a different “promotion” because their service is too expensive, and that’s usually enough for them to knock it down by $10-$15 per month… after trying to sell me a bundle package.

  • I pay $50 a month for semi okay internet. When I get a house, I will be pre-signing up for Google Fiber!

  • Seth says:

    I work for a locally owned utility company in Peoria, IL which offers only fiber optic home entertainment. Right now u can get 20/5 MBPS for $59.95. It’s only $5 cheaper per month, BUT with ours there’s no contracts and this company hasn’t raised rates once in the half decade they’ve been in business(compared to the average 5% inflation rate every year by the big boys). Needless to say, I love going to work because I’m chipping away at comcast one home at a time.

    Trust me, comcast knows exactly what they can get away with.

    Another note with comcast. You’re not always getting dedicated speeds. When everybody in your neighborhood is on the internet streaming video/music, watching videos, playing video games, etc….your speed actually goes down since you’re sharing with your neighbors. With fiber optic, it’s dedicated speeds all day baby.

  • Chris says:

    it costs them “almost nothing to maintain the lines, that’s almost 100% pure profit for these guys.”

    False. I am a network engineer for an ISP and while it doesn’t cost much to maintain the actual wire, there are plenty of people behind the scenes maintaining the network. We aren’t cheap either ;)

  • Thanks for the tips! I look forward to the day a competitor comes to my area so I can switch internet providers. Since day one, I have had nothing but issues with Comcast.

  • Marcie says:

    We switched from an ATT DLS to Time Warner Cable a few months ago. I waited for ATT to increase DSL speeds since I didn’t want to go through the hassle of switching and we don’t have cable TV. I finally gave up. Price was similar but speed is much improved. I’m on an introductory rate of $45/mo for 15mbps which is very adequate for our needs. Like you, I bought my own modem figuring it would pay off in the long run.

  • I laughed when my ISP (Time Warner Cable) tried to charge me a rental fee for a modem that I had for close to 7 years. I called them and told them that the modem was far paid off by now and they now put a credit on my account for the fee that they “have” to charge. The biggest issue I see is how the large ISP’s are allowed to have monopolies. There is a small town near me that installed their own fiber and were giving their residents 50 mbps down for only $14. Time Warner got upset and took them to court and WON! They were saying that the town was stifling competition. Can you believe that? The best part is that Time Warner doesn’t even service that area. They just told the court that that might in the future. That is the problem here.

  • Dennis Patrick says:

    Ah yes I’ve noticed this over the last several years. I had a plan back in 2008 or so when I was moving out of my parents place to get cheap internet for 40 bucks a month, and just stream/download everything. However I always thought it was pretty stupid and self defeating on their part to do this, as often the internet company is also the cable company, and who’s going to pay for the cable when the internet is cheaper and more content is moving online?

    It was only a matter of time before they figured out they were competing with themselves, and all they had to do was jack up the internet only pricing so it “saves” you money by getting a bundle of some sort. Bastards. Of course I moved from the NYC Tri State area, and that lovely Optimum online internet only option at 30 to 40 bucks is NOWHERE ELSE! lol.

    We are getting screwed pretty bad and here is a great video interview from an author who researched this and wrote a book about it. She talks about a town that actually treated the internet like a utility (which it is now) and invested in building it up that way so it was cheaper for their residents.

    http://billmoyers.com/segment/susan-crawford-on-why-u-s-internet-access-is-slow-costly-and-unfair/

    Hopefully this sheds some light to the issue, but with the powers of lobbying at hand I don’t have much faith it will make a big impact. Also there’s a high amount of fragmentation with Online streaming services now as well. The copyrights holders (like WB) figure why the hell should Netflix make this $? We’ll open our own WB only on demand service and take our films out of there lol.

    So now we’re getting DOUBLE screwed. It’ll probably cost less to have cable to have the internet when you account for all the multiple streaming services you might need to actually get all the shows you want to watch legitimately. Ugh.

  • Jacob says:

    Great article, I’m going to be paying for Internet service come fall, and I’d like to try to negotiate with the awful monopoly, Cox, that dominates my town. My only issue is that free wifi isn’t really a solution. There’s no way I, or most people that use the Internet daily, would ever settle for having to go somewhere else to connect. Free wifi is convenient when you need to get some work done and want to be out of the house, or want to turn the mobile data off on your phone, but there’s no way I could replace an Internet service with free wifi at restaurants. So I don’t see how it could save me money, being charged monthly regardless of how much I use the Internet.

    • anna says:

      “So I don’t see how it could save me money, being charged monthly regardless of how much I use the Internet.”

      That’s only true if you DON’T have AT&T DSL internet. Once AT&T made U-Verse fairly widely available, they started limiting “include” DSL data to 150G. It’s an additional $10 per 50G after that. Plus they only charge the additional data in 50G increments, so if you happen to use 151G’s in a billing cycle, you’re going to pay for 49G’s you didn’t get to use and it doesn’t carry over the unused allocation to the next month.

      I understand AT&T is doing this to get more people to switch to their U-Verse service, but U-Verse isn’t available to all of their customers. Fortunately, I can be very persuasive and stubborn so I managed to get a 50% discount on their highest speed available to me. However, the fastest speed available is only 6Mbps which, even with the hefty price cut still costs $20 a month and I have to call them every single month and run around in circles to get the extra data fees reversed.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Comcast is crazy in the summer. The internet goes down daily. Has anyone given clear.com a try?

    • Ethan says:

      I have clear internet and it is incredibly easy to use and set up but the speeds are slow and for $45 a month and the faster service I see little to no increase in speed. We have also moved into the no cable and all streaming life and in Michigan we haven’t found a company that can really provide us with that we need. Clear is alright but I believe its to slow for the money.

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