5 Ways to Get Cheap Internet in 2024

Get cheap internet service by slowing your speed, negotiating your bill or seeking help from assistance programs.

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Written by Tommy Tindall
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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 how much internet costs you each month, 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.

1. Buy your own cable modem and router for cheaper Wi-Fi (over time)

Planning to get your internet through a cable provider and staying with it for a few years? It might be more cost-effective to buy your internet hardware rather than rent it.

A provider may charge $15 to $25 per month to rent a combined modem and Wi-Fi router device. If you stay with that company for two years, the total rental costs would be $360 to $600. You can buy a top-rated cable modem and router for less than $200 on Amazon. Check places like Best Buy too. Be sure to confirm with your internet provider that the modem you plan to buy will work with its service.

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

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2. Reduce your internet speed for a lower price

Internet providers are taking high-speed to the next level, with plans that promise download speeds of 400 Mbps or more. That’s great if you need that level of service. Most households don’t.

Dropping to a slower, perhaps more appropriate speed could reduce your monthly bill. Go to your provider’s website to see what various plans cost to get an idea of potential savings.

Consult the guidelines below from the Federal Communications Commission to help determine what download speed you need, then consider contacting your provider to lower your plan.

Federal Communications Commission. Household Broadband Guide. Accessed Feb 6, 2024.

Light use

Moderate use

High use

1 user on 1 device

3-8 Mbps.

3-8 Mbps.

12-25 Mbps.

2 users or devices at a time

3-8 Mbps.

12-25 Mbps.

12-25 Mbps to more than 25 Mbps.

3 users or devices at a time

12-25 Mbps.

12-25 Mbps.

More than 25 Mbps.

4 users or devices at a time

12-25 Mbps.

More than 25 Mbps.

More than 25 Mbps.

Mbps (megabits per second) is a measure of internet data upload and download speed.

Light use: Basic functions such as email, web browsing, basic video, VoIP and internet radio.

Moderate use: Basic functions, plus one high-demand application, such as streaming HD video, multiparty video conferencing, online gaming and telecommuting.

High use: Basic functions, plus more than one high-demand application running at the same time.

3. Negotiate with your internet provider for a better deal

You don’t need to be a fast-talking salesperson to lower your bills. Your negotiating 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.

You may get a hand from the FCC, which is now requiring major internet service providers to display consumer labels, similar to nutrition labels on food, that detail fees.

4. Bundle your services for a better combined price

If you already have cable, you can save with some providers by bundling your TV and internet service. But beware of the upsell. Carriers may try to talk you into extra speed, equipment or channels that can tack on an additional $10 here and there. Even small monthly increases add up over time and defeat your goal — to save money.

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5. Check on assistance programs for a monthly discount

The government offers subsidies for broadband internet if you fall below a certain income threshold or are enrolled in certain government programs.

The nonprofit EveryoneOn can help connect you with discounts and other assistance programs in your area.

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