6 Ways to Get Cheap Internet in 2021

Get cheap internet service by evaluating your usage, negotiating your bill or switching to a less expensive service.
Stephen LaytonJun 10, 2021

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Saving money feels good, especially on costly (but often necessary) expenses like internet.

If you’re happy with your provider, but not your bill, try negotiating or bundling your services. Looking to make a change? If you’re lucky enough to have options, switching providers can help you score a great deal.

Plan to stay with an internet provider for a few years? It might be more cost-effective to .

Many providers charge $10 to $15 per month to rent their equipment. If you stay with that company for two years, the total rental costs would be $240 to $360. You can buy a top-rated modem and router for less than $200.

Keep in mind that some providers won't offer support or troubleshooting for your personal hardware.

Internet providers are taking high-speed to the next level, with plans that promise download speeds of 100 Mbps or more. That’s great if you need that level of service. Most families don’t.

Dropping to a lower, more appropriate speed could reduce your monthly bill by around $20 or more, depending on your carrier. Consult the chart below to help determine what speed you need, then contact your provider to lower your plan. The recommended speeds assume multiple devices doing the activities listed, so you can adjust down if you only have one device gaming or streaming HD video at a time, for example.

You don’t need to be a fast-talking salesperson to play the negotiation game. Your position is simple: I know of a better deal elsewhere, and I’m prepared to leave your company to get it.

Be polite, but firm. Don’t bluff. The better you can back up your position, the more leverage you’ll have. Research the promotional prices that your provider and its competitors are offering to new customers — and be prepared to actually cancel your service and change providers.

If you already have cable, you can save with some providers by bundling your cable and internet service. But beware of the up-sell. Carriers may try to talk you into extra speed or channels for $5 or $10 more per month. Even small monthly increases add up over time, and defeat your goal — to save money.

The government offers subsidies for broadband internet if you fall below a certain income threshold or are enrolled in certain government programs. The nonprofit  can help you find out if you qualify.

There’s more information on the . If your income is at or below 135% of federal poverty guidelines or you participate in government programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid or others, you might qualify for a broadband subsidy.

If you need to save money while maintaining an internet connection, you might want to downgrade to a limited-data mobile hot spot plan. You can find . For instance, you can get 1 gigabyte of data per month on a Verizon prepaid plan for $30.

These plans might be suitable for activities such as checking your email or social media a handful of times per month, but perhaps not for streaming video or gaming.

If you can trim $10 to $20 or more off your monthly internet bill, the savings could provide a great  or a little more leeway in .

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