Are you paying too much for internet service?

SAN ANTONIO – How much are you paying for your internet service? If you scoured your bill but still can’t find the answer, you’re not alone.

“Knowing how much you pay for it is important so that you can budget on a month-to-month basis of having this essential service,” said Jonathan Schwantes of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports spent more than eight months analyzing more than 22,000 internet bills submitted by people from all across the country. With so many lines of charges and fees, determining the true price of the internet proved to be challenging.

“A lot of consumers bundle it with their TV or their phone service. And some providers have a separate line item for internet service, but others do not,” Schwantes said. “They have just one price for bundled service and you can’t really tell on that sort of bill what part of that bundle is paying for your broadband service.”

The NCTA-Internet and Television Association, a trade group, disagrees and says, “Cable providers continue to provide consumers with transparent billing information on their websites and promotional materials.”

Consumer Reports also found prices for internet service varied widely.

“We found people paying for subpar broadband service, like 5 to 10 megabits per second download speeds, were paying on average the same as people getting 100 or 300 megabits per second,” Schwantes said.

Overall, Consumer Reports found the average pre-discount prices for internet service ranged from less than $40 to more than $100 a month. The median price of the bills where they could clearly identify internet cost was $74.99.

Consumer Reports also found costs were higher in areas where there were fewer providers competing for business.

How can you make sure you’re getting the best possible deal?

First, make sure you’re getting the speed you’re paying for. You can use internet speed tests at Speedtest by Ookla or M-Lab.

Next, call your provider to find out what you’re actually paying each month, then start to negotiate with your provider. Even if they don’t lower your payment, they may up your speed.

Instead of paying a fee every month to rent the router, buy one.

And, some companies offer a discount if you enroll in paperless billing and autopay.

Through the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, eligible people can get a monthly discount of $30.

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