Are you paying too much for internet service?

SAN ANTONIO – How much do you pay for your internet service? If you’ve checked your credit but still can’t get an answer, you’re not alone.

“Knowing how much you’re paying is important so you can make a monthly budget to get this important 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 over the country. With so many lines of charges and fees, determining the true price of the internet can be a challenge.

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

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

Consumer Reports also found that Internet service prices vary widely.

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

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Overall, Consumer Reports found the average discounted prices for Internet service ranged from less than $40 to more than $100 per month. The average price of bills where they could clearly identify internet charges was $74.99.

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

How can you make sure you get the best deal?

First, make sure you’re getting the speed you’re paying for. You can use the Internet speed test in Speedtest with Ookla or M-Lab.

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Next, call your provider to find out what you actually pay each month, and start negotiating with your provider. Even if they don’t lower your premium, they may increase your speed.

Instead of paying money every month to rent a router, buy it.

Also, some companies offer a discount if you sign up for paperless payments and automatic payments.

Through the state’s Affordable Connections Program, eligible individuals can receive a monthly discount of $30.

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