Mon, Nov 13, 2023 9:50 PMInternet Deals
When signing up for an internet plan, most providers advertise enticing introductory rates. However, it's important to be aware of any additional fees you may incur beyond the basic monthly rate. Hidden charges can add up and potentially increase your bill unexpectedly each month. In this article, we'll explore some common extra fees associated with internet services and how to avoid unexpected costs.
Many internet providers will offer discounted or even free equipment initially when you sign up, such as a router, modem, or set-top streaming box. However, there is usually a monthly rental charge applied if you choose not to provide your own equipment. These fees typically range from $5-15 per month but can be avoided by purchasing approved equipment outright instead of leasing from the provider. Be sure to ask about equipment ownership options so you're not stuck paying to use a router forever.
Taxes and regulatory fees are also common additions to monthly internet bills applied by federal, state, and local governments. While taxes themselves cannot be avoided, look closely at any additional "government fees" charged by providers as they are sometimes added purely to boost profits rather than required by law. Taxes on top of standard internet service typically average a few dollars per month.
Many providers will offer discounted bundles that combine internet with phone, TV, home security or other services. However, signing up for extra features also opens the door to further fees. Things like modem rental prices, DVR usage charges, installation costs, and international calling rates add apparent value but ongoing financial commitments as well. Read bundle package details thoroughly so no sneaky charges catch you off guard.
If you exceed any monthly data allowance, providers may impose steep overage penalties per gigabyte of excess usage. While fiber and 5G networks make strict data caps less common, some DSL or cable internet still has limits. To avoid fees, check your plan's data cap and whether providers offer adjustments if regularly going over the cap due to large household sizes or bandwidth-intensive activities like 4K streaming, online gaming or work from home needs.
Missing payments, paying bills late or needing to reconnect disconnected service all carry additional fees from most providers. Late fees average around $10 but can be higher, while service disconnection and reconnection both incur charges separately. To sidestep these financial penalties, ensure auto-pay is set up to avoid potential late fees and maintain consistent internet access.
Now that we've covered common extra fee categories, let's break down some of the less obvious charges levied by top internet service options:
AT&T charges $10 rental per month for their internet gateway and charges a $99 installation fee that can often be waived with a 2-year contract. They also impose data overage fees at $10/50GB for customers who exceed 1TB monthly data limits.
Buck Eye Broadband charges a $9.99 broadcast TV fee on top of standard internet prices for families wanting expanded channel selections. They also charge $35 for any technician visits related to customer issues not caused by equipment malfunctions.
Cable One charges $10 for an internet gateway rental monthly along with $5 additional for a wireless router. There is also a $99 non-contract installation fee for new customers that can be reduced with a long term service agreement.
CenturyLink levies a surcharge of approximately $5 per month on internet-only pricing, plus they charge a $99 activation fee that is usually credited back monthly over a year of service. They also charge $10 for a limited time period to allow new customers to try their services risk-free.
Cox assesses a $10 monthly modem rental charge and a one-time $49.99 installation cost for new customers. They also charge up to $10 per data over usage increments starting at 1TB monthly limits depending on service area and plan signed up for.
Optimum applies a $10 equipment rental fee each month, plus a one-time $99 installation fee. They also assess $10 per 50GB of overage charges once additional 1TB monthly data allowances are exceeded on select plans.
Spectrum levies a $5 broadcast TV fee and up to $14 router rental monthly on internet services. They also impose $10 online account manager and $25 paper billing fees. Spectrum charges $100 per incident for any on-site technician visits not covered under included support for customers with intermittent connection problems.
To minimize additional charges on your internet bills each month, consider the following tips:
buying an approved DOCSIS 3.1 modem and WiFi router avoids rental/lease fees completely over the long run. Look for deals during major online sales.
many providers waive activation charges, equipment rental or go beyond regular pricing for 12+ months as introductory offers to lock in new customers long term.
enrolling in e-statements and electronic auto-withdrawal sidesteps fees due to missed, late or paper payments.
unlimited plans remove strict data caps and overage penalty risks that vary pricing month to month.
calling providers directly allows negotiating promotional discounts, locked-in pricing or waived charges that aren't always apparent online.
no-contract options have flexibility without early termination penalties if wanting to later change providers.
With transparency on additional fees and taking advantage of promotions, savvy internet users can optimize service value beyond just headline rates and keep bills predictable each month.
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