Internet Fees: Your Guide to Hidden Costs
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Internet, as essential as it is, sometimes comes with a motto to clear out your wallet. But, have you ever considered why your internet bill is loaded with unforeseen expenses?
If not, read along to understand the various extra, somewhat hidden, charges that you have to pay for your internet connection.
Installation and activation charges
We all know that most internet providers offer promotional rates to new customers and so the first few months are nothing less than a blessing. However, you should know that the first month of your connection would have some added expenses in the form of installation and activation charges.
Some providers include activation fees in the installation expense, but it varies from provider to provider. If your provider chooses to charge both fees separately, you should be aware that the activation fee usually starts from 10 USD. However, there is a hack – if you buy internet services over the call, the odds of your sales agent excusing you of these charges are high.
While activation charges are somewhat nominal, installation of your internet connection can cost you a substantial amount. Some providers like Ziply Fiber offer free professional installation services but it can go up to 200 USD. You might read customer reviews advising self-installation as it is a cheaper option, but you must only go for it if you are believably good at it, or else your connection might get messed up.
For a smooth internet connection, you need to deploy additional equipment like a modem and/or router. The decision to buy or rent the equipment is entirely your call, although if you choose to rent these gadgets from your internet provider, your monthly bill will include an additional rental expense between 05 USD to 15 USD, depending on the ISP.
A healthier option is, however, to buy your own router and/or modem. Investing in these gadgets can save you a ton of money in the long run. Moreover, you can decide which gadget you want and only buy a router or a modem instead of spending money on both. You can also buy a modem-router combo to ensure getting the essence of both devices.
Data Overage Charges
If you subscribe to an internet plan with a data cap, you might have to suffer data overage charges. In simple terms, if you exceed the data limit allowed on your internet plan, you will be charged with data overage or data excess charges.
The best way to counter this problem is to subscribe to an internet plan with an unlimited data allowance. However, for people living alone, it can be a better option as data-capped plans are likely less expensive. If you decide to go with a capped plan, make sure to calculate your internet usage to avoid going above the set limit.
Late fee charges
As with the other bills, if you fail to pay your monthly internet bill in time, you will be charged extra on the next bill. Most providers offer a few days in case you forgot to pay the bill, but after a week or so, your bill will have an added late fee charge of 10 USD to 25 USD, or a percentage of the bill.
This can be avoided if you set up auto-alerts or online payments. Some ISPs also waive off some amount for customers who opt for paperless payment methods.
Early cancelation charges
Breaking a contract before its legal end is never easy. Therefore, if you are not ready to commit to an internet provider, do not sign the contract. Many ISPs offer contract-free services that can be canceled at any time and so you should go for such plans. While these contract-free plans tend to be relatively expensive from the regular, contractual plans, you will not be expected to pay an extra 300 USD as early cancelation charges.
As such, it is advisable to discuss your service contract with the ISP in detail before signing the deed.
How can I lower my internet bill?
The above section discusses all the hidden and extra charges and so this section shares all the ways you can lower your internet bill.
If you use cable and/or phone service in addition to your internet service, you should consider bundling them up. Not only is it a cost-effective option, but it also is a lot more convenient. You will be free from the hassle of two to three different bills and providers. Moreover, customers paying for bundled services are treated with more urgency and care than those paying for just one service. Bundled-service customers also get their hands on many extra perks.
Disable your cellular data plan
Providers like Spectrum and Optimum offer nationwide hotspots making sure that you stay connected always and so instead of paying for an additional cellular data plan, you should rely on your Wi-Fi at all times.
If your provider does not offer such perks, you might want to turn to public wi-fi connections. However, before jumping on a free connection, make sure to enable your VPN settings. This will help keep your identity secure from any cyber criminals hogging the connection.
Switch to a better provider
If you are not satisfied with your internet services or find out that your ISP is charging you a lot more than discussed, you might want to switch to a better provider. Start by researching all the ISPs available in your area and then compare their services. if and when you find a better-suited provider, make the switch. In the event that you are under a contractual obligation to your current provider, you might want to head to providers that offer contract buyouts.
It is a common fact that internet services have become as essential as air in the present digitized world; however, using the internet should not mean getting a hole drilled in our wallets. Some internet providers add up a lot of expense to increase your bills and in order to combat that, you should be aware of all the hidden and extra charges. Before signing with any ISP, make sure to discuss the billing and extra charges in detail so there is no miscommunication in the future.
You can also exercise lowering your internet bill by bundling up with cable and/or phone services, cutting out your mobile data plan, and switching to a better ISP as the last resort.
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