On Saturday, I checked my mail and found out that my internet service provider was raising my monthly bill from $49.99 to $69.99 beginning Monday. So I went up to my apartment, called my provider immediately, and asked the representative to cancel my service by 12:00 AM on Monday. She offered me a rate of $59.99 but I declined the offer. She then tried to get me to stay on until I found another provider. She was “concerned” about me not having any internet access. I stood my ground and kindly, yet firmly, told her that our relationship was over. I should have ended it a long time ago.
In my opinion, internet service providers charge way too much for home service. Do you know why they are able to do so? It’s due to 1. the high cost of broadband, which are the cables that your internet service runs over, and 2. lack of competition. Have you noticed that you only have the choice or one or two service providers to pick from? Three if you’re lucky? That’s intentional.
According to The Center of Public Integrity, telecommunications companies carve out territories “to avoid competing with more than one provider.” In addition, their studies find that we in the U.S. pay more for service and have fewer choices than our friends in Europe. Here’s a direct quote from their research published in 2015:
“A Center for Public Integrity analysis of Internet prices in five U.S. cities and five comparable French cities found that prices in the U.S. were as much as 3 1/2 times higher than those in France for similar service. The analysis shows that consumers in France have a choice between a far greater number of providers — seven on average — than those in the U.S., where most residents can get service from no more than two companies. The Center’s analysis echoes the findings of several studies on Internet pricing disparities worldwide.”
They go on to state the fact that low to middle income families are affected by these high prices, with 8% of U.S. households saying that they simply can’t afford to pay for service. It’s so unfortunate, especially given the fact that just about everything we do for work, business, school, health, banking, etc. requires decent internet access.
Fortunately, there is a way for some of us to still read blogs or watch our favorite shows on our laptops, in the comfort of our homes, without paying for home service. No, it does not require that you share service with your neighbor, although that is a good option. It does require that you have a cell phone plan.
If your smartphone has a hotspot function, you’re all set. All you have to do is turn on your hotspot, connect to the network on your laptop, and voila! Internet access! The service is just as fast as a home connection. However, please note that unless you have a plan with unlimited data, your data usage will be deducted from your monthly allowance.
Most smartphone’s from Verizon have a built-in mobile hotspot function but using it may eat into your data. Be sure to call and ask before using it. Given that we all have different plans and cell phone providers, I suggest that you either go online or call your provider to get your plan’s details. If you have an unlimited data plan, using your mobile hotspot could be a good money saving option, as you most likely won’t pay an additional fee. The same goes if you’re one of those rare internet users that only check the headlines and e-mail. However, for most of us, this might just serve as a temporary option. I don’t think my 5GB cell plan is enough to cover my monthly usage, so this is temporary solution as I evaluate other options.
How much do you pay for the internet? Could you use your hotspot instead?
4/13/18 Update: I was able to find another internet service provider for a similar rate. As mentioned, my old rate was $49.99. I’m now paying $53.37 each month, a $3.38 difference. By not continuing with my old provider, I’ve avoided a $20.00 monthly hike, or $240 for the year.