Cheap internet service providers
There are many factors that come into play when determining the price of internet service. Some of these factors are data, speed, installation costs, contract length, bundling, special features and promotions. Because of the increasing amount of internet service providers (ISPs), prices vary and the process of finding cheap internet can seem confusing. This article is designed to help find cheap internet service and provide helpful statistics in order to find the best option.
How to compare the cheapest internet service
It is important to understand exactly what activities the service will support. For example, for a residential internet plan, consider how many devices will log on to the WiFi signal at one time. Will the devices browse, stream movies or music? What about gaming requirements? Taking a look at the amount of data used daily, weekly and monthly will reveal the data speeds required to support the internet activity.
For streaming movies, TV shows and audio, the quality can vary. Here is a list of common data speeds required for different quality media:
Standard quality music – 128 Kbps
SD high quality – 1 Mbps
High Definition – 8 Mbps
4k HDR -18 Mbps.
The higher the internet speeds, the more expensive the plan.
In addition to determining how much data is required, it is also a good idea to figure out how many devices are going to be logged in. The average person has 6.58 connected devices and this number is only expected to increase over the next decade. If each device has browsing, streaming and gaming capabilities, the data speed requirements can increase quickly.
Fees to consider when shopping for cheap internet plans
Internet plans may include additional fees on top of the monthly service price. Plans may include some or all of the fees listed below.
- Breaking the contract: When the customer terminates the service prior to when the signed contract’s term concludes.
- Installation: The costs associated with installing new equipment in order to activate the service.
- Buying or leasing equipment: Costs associated with obtaining necessary hardware.
- End of promotional period: Promotional rate period ends and the regular rate begins. Often times this rate is higher than the promotional rate.
- Exceed data limits: When the data used exceeds the amount included in the plan.
Ways to save more money on cheap internet plans
Finding a cheap internet plan is possible if you know what to look for. There are ways to save on internet packages by understanding how internet plans are structured. Here are some ways to find cheap internet:
- Bundling: Many internet companies offer more than one service. Many offer internet and TV, and some offer internet, TV and phone service. When you sign up for two or more services, that is called a bundle. Bundled plans are cheaper than if each service is purchased separately. This is an incentive to encourage signing up for more than one service.
- Promotions: At certain times of the year there may be promotions available. Popular times for major promotions are during major holidays and other commercial events like sales-tax-free day and Black Friday.
- Perks and discounts: The ISP chooses to include additional features, increase data allowance, waive certain installation or rental fees or add services. Military personnel, students and the elderly often take advantage of these saving opportunities.
- Low-income assistance: If the customer’s annual income falls beneath a certain level, the ISP may have a reduced-rate plan available.
Top cheap internet providers
Gathering basic information can help uncover the cheapest internet deals to suit your needs. The information below can help narrow down the search.
|Provider||Availability||Speed||Satisfaction rating||Contract?||Starting price|
|Cox||22 Cities||10 Mbps||60/100 ASCI score||Y||$29.99/mo.|
|Mediacom||22 states||60 Mbps||56/100 ASCI score||Y||$39.99/mo.|
|RCN||7 states||10 Mbps||64/100 ASCI score||Y||$19.99/mo.|
|Spectrum||41 States||100 Mbps||59/100 ASCI score||N||$49.99/mo.|
|Xfinity||42 States||100 Mbps||61/100 ASCI score||N||$39.99/mo.|
The information provided may vary depending on location. Check and see deals near you using the ISP.com zip code finder tool.
Comparing the cheapest internet service
Understanding the differences between ISPs can help identify the cheapest internet plans that meet your requirements. Here is a comparison of the cheapest internet plans with details about data speeds, starting price, fees, bundles, perks and discounts and pros and cons.
Cox provides internet speeds between 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. Their cheapest internet plans begin at $29.99 per month. They require a 12-month contract, however, customers can cancel within 30 days of signing the agreement. After that, an early termination fee of $120.00 is applied if the service is canceled. Professional installation costs $75.00 and self-installation is $20.00. Cox offers low-income assistance through their Connect2Compete program. Internet plans are available in 10, 30, 150, 300, and 1000 Mbps, however, Cox has limited coverage, providing service in only 22 cities.
Mediacom provides internet speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. Their cheapest plan is $39.99 per month with a 12-month contract. If it is canceled before the end of the term, there is a fee of $240.00. Mediacom has a $99.00 installation fee that is waived if the service is ordered online. They offer bundled packages with their TV service. In this case, there is only a $10.00 activation fee. They offer low-income families service at a reduced rate as part of their EveryoneOn program. Mediacom delivers on its advertised speeds but they do have data caps that can become pricey if exceeded.
RCN has internet speeds from 100 Mbps to 940 Mbps with the cheapest plan starting at $39.99 per month. They offer bundling with TV and phone services and require a 12-month contract with an early termination fee amounting to the remaining monthly service charges that are left in the contract period. The installation fee is $49.99 and the router is $10 per month to rent and the WiFi modem is $8.95 per month. The internet plans RCN provides are available in 10, 250, 330 and 940 Mbps, however, they are only available in seven states.
Spectrum has internet plans with speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 940 Mbps and their cheapest plan starts at $49.99 per month. They offer bundling of internet, TV and home phone plans and do not require a contract. The cost to install internet service is $49.99 and the WIFI modem is provided free of charge. Spectrum offers low-income assistance through a program called Internet Assist. Not having to sign a contract is a plus for Spectrum customers. However, during times of high internet usage, the speeds can slow down.
Xfinity’s internet speeds begin at 175 Mbps and go all the way up to 1000 Mbps with the cheapest plan starting at $39.99 per month, and they offer bundling options for internet and TV services. Xfinity does not require a contract, but they do charge an installation fee of $60.00 and a self-install kit is $15.00. An internet modem with WiFi rental costs $14.00 per month. Xfinity is conveniently available in 42 states and offers low-income assistance, but it comes along with pricey fees that can add up over time.
Frequently asked questions
- Is there low-income internet assistance?
Cox, Mediacom, Spectrum and Xfinity offer low-income assistance programs.
- How can I get free WiFi?
Accessing local hotspots is a great way to get free WiFi. There are public parks, cafes and libraries that offer free WiFi for the public.
- How can I save money on internet services?
First, make sure you are not paying for more data speed than you need. If you only use 5 Mbps on average, you do not need to pay for a 1000 Mbps plan. Second, buy your own router and modem in order to get rid of the rental fees.
- What’s the cheapest internet connection?
DSL and cable connections are typically the cheapest internet connections.
- How much should I be paying for internet?
There is no simple answer to this. In order to determine how much you should be paying, you need to figure out how much data you need and then find out what the going rates are for plans that can support your needs.
- Should I buy my own router?
Yes. Buying your own router will save you money every month because you will not need to pay a rental fee.
Call now to learn about cheap internet providers near you
Finding the cheapest internet plan is possible when you take the time to research and understand what kind of plan is needed. Once that is determined, look for a plan that is cheap and does not have a lot of hidden fees, and can offer upfront discounts or incentives. Use the tools at ISP.com to compare what is available, and you will most likely find a plan that’s right for you.