Internet services are a complete necessity for households and businesses in America. At a time when services are primarily being conducted and accessed online, and a point when the Coronavirus pandemic has forced almost everyone to work from Home, cheap and reliable Internet service is an absolute necessity. Besides this, Internet service in the USA seems to be very expensive. Some people end up paying more than $100 every month for Internet-only services.
The average starting price for Internet service in the USA is $35, which is still a bit expensive. The prices can equally vary from one location to the other, one provider to the other, and the features that come with a specific Internet plan. Add equipment fees, taxes, installation, and other necessities, the monthly cost can skyrocket to about $150 every month.
Determinants of Internet cost
The initial price for a particular internet plan is not the only determinant of how much you will pay for the internet. There are a couple of other factors such as added costs, Specific provider, Location, Type of internet connection, and taxes that can play a key role in Internet price.
Cost of Internet per state
If you want to know how the cost of the internet varies from one state to the other, the below information will help you immensely. In Colorado, people pay as low as $1.83 per month for Internet services, while in North Carolina, people spend a little higher on average. People in North Carolina pay $2.40 as the lowest amount for internet services. States that have a greater population density have a lower average internet cost. But remember, just because one type of internet is low doesn’t make all the other internet services cheap.
Cost of Internet per provider
Another factor that makes a huge difference is a specific provider. Internet prices may vary from one provider to the other. AT&T, for example, has a starting price of $35.00 for 5Mbps. Moving on, CenturyLink has a starting price of $49 for internet starting from 3Mbps. Several other Internet providers usually charge a similar cost for Internet-only plans.
Equipment rental and their effect on monthly internet cost
Besides the stand-alone price for internet, depending on the speed, modem, and router rental fee has a significant impact on the price. It can actually cost anywhere from $10 to $20 every month. Luckily, some providers don’t charge extra rental fees. But this is very likely to happen with high-end tiers. Other providers may allow you to use your own compatible router and skip the rental costs.
Installation and activation costs
Activation costs and Installation fees are one-time fees that can impact the amount of money you’re likely to pay for the internet as a new customer. These fees can add up to $100 or even more to the initial internet cost. Thankfully, installing the services online would reduce the chances of paying this huge amount. Other providers will give room for self-installation at a lower price.
Early Termination fees
Most Internet users don’t necessarily waste time weighing the impact of early contract terminations. Given That most Internet service providers charge an early termination fee in case you want to switch providers, it’s imperative to take this into consideration. Some providers such as Spectrum, Verizon, and CenturyLink don’t require early termination costs.
Late Payment Fees
It’s equally important to read the policy report to understand all the other costs that may accrue after signing up. Some Internet service providers will charge you more than $10 for late payments. Some even set higher Late payment fees, which can bring huge surprises.
I wouldn’t have bothered about Hidden costs if all the providers were transparent with their service, fees, and expenses. Unluckily, some providers will never disclose vital information, which means you can make some costly mistakes. Most ISPs will never inform you of the compulsory FCC Universal Service Fund Fee or any other fees that can add significantly to your monthly internet bills.
How much should you pay for the internet in the US?
It’s tough to state categorically how much you should pay for the internet, given all the factors above that can impact the pricing. So, there’s no precise answer to this question. It highly depends on your internet needs, your location, and the providers available. But you can expect to pay as low as $30 for basic internet service and more than $100 for robust internet packages. Besides that, I can share some important information about saving on the internet and how you can avoid paying more for the internet in the USA.
How to Avoid Overpaying for Internet service
There are countless tips you can apply to avoid overpaying for internet service. It’s all about having enough information about different internet options, your needs, and how to negotiate. That said, these are the most practical tips on how to avoid overpaying for internet.
What are your internet needs?
The first thing is to think about the internet needs in your business or Home. So what will you be using the internet for in your Business or Home? How many connected users are there? You ought to get the answers to all these questions that will inform you of the amount of internet speed you need and eventually how much you should pay for specific internet features.
What options do you have?
Don’t just subscribe to a provider because your friend or neighbor is using the same service. Take a list of all the available options and evaluate their monthly costs, speeds, costs, and additional fees such as equipment rental, activation, and contracts. If you have two or more options available, always choose the best services at lower monthly costs. Be careful with contracts and hidden costs. Long contracts and huge hidden costs can significantly impact your experience with an ISP.
It’s always worth Bundling
Most Internet service providers also offer Phone service and TV services. My guess is right if I say you definitely need all these services. Apart from paying for each of the services individually and get different bills at the end of the month, you can bundle the services, which will definitely attract a lower cost.
Keep looking for options
The fact that CenturyLink is a good Internet provider in your area today doesn’t mean that the services will be the best forever. New ISPs are entering the market, older ISPs such as Cox, Verizon, and AT&T are expanding to your area. These new ISPs in your area might come with the cheapest and the best Internet services. So, keep on researching for cheap and reliable internet options in your area.
Everything is Negotiable
If you can negotiate your favorite shoe at Walmart, why is it hard to do the same for internet services? I understand that after a year, internet costs usually skyrocket, leaving internet users disappointed. Always feel free to call your current internet provider and try to negotiate your way to cheap internet services.
Avoid Data caps
Data Caps can mean additional costs in your monthly bills, especially if the limits are low. Consequently, it’s important to go for providers with higher data caps or none at all. Data Overcharges are something we never think about but can unknowingly increase your monthly cost.
Ask for Discounts
If you come across any type of promotions and special offers, you can always contact the customer service asking for the discounts. You can as well get the customer service and ask about the available discounts.
Use your own equipment
If applicable, always buy your own modem and router because it can save you more than $20 every month. Most companies would ask for at least $20 every month as equipment rental fees.
2020/2021’s Best Cheap Internet Plans and Providers
RCN internet service is the best for budgeters with a rating of 4.2/5 stars online currently. RCN internet service price starts from $19.99 and download speeds of 10Mbps to 940Mbps. So is RCN available in your area? If yes, then it’s a top pick for Cheap Internet service providers in the US for 2020 and 2021. According to my research, most RCN’s customers are satisfied with the less expensive base plan for budgeters.
The only challenge is RCN’s Fiber and DSL availability. The service is unfortunately only available in New York City, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Boston, and few other markets. Currently, RCN combines Fiber and cable connection types. The least expensive internet-only plan from RCN costs $19.99 per month, and the speed is up to 25Mbps. Unlike other providers, you can never get high speed at a cost lower than $35. Another RCN selling feature is that no contract is needed, and there are countless discounts for installation fees and free monthly service. Keep checking for RCN internet deals and promotions.
Although RCN’s customer service is not the best, it has a higher rating from customers. RCN customer service is the third, with a rating of 4.05 on a scale of 5 Stars. 10Mbps-25Mbps Internet-only plans are the best for limited internet use. As a matter of fact, you only need 5Mbps to stream HD quality movies and TV shows on Netflix and other streaming platforms.
For families with multiple internet users, RCN internet 100Mbps-250Mbps plans are enough. Gamers and Freelancers can benefit from this plan. You can play your favorite online game without buffering. Power internet users should always go for higher RCN internet plans. 500Mbps-940Mbps download speed is enough for home businesses and people who are more likely to participate in daily web conferences or Zoom Meetings.
In this case, the verdict is that RCN is an all-around internet provider with the best and most affordable internet plans for light internet users and power internet users. The only limit is availability. The Company offers internet services in major metropolitan areas.
RCN Internet pros and cons
- High rated Customer service
- The prices are very affordable
- High speed Internet
- No data limits
- Limited Availability
- Speeds vary from one place to the other
AT&T DSL internet
When Internet availability is a concern for you, then AT&T proves to be a widely available cheap DSL provider in the country. It’s actually the second largest DSL provider in the US. AT&T delivers high-speed DSL internet to more than 123 million Americans at a very affordable price. Besides DSL internet, AT&T offers Fiber internet to more than 25 million households and businesses. Its broad availability is good news for rural budgeters.
The AT&T internet service is incredibly fast, with speeds of up to 1Gbps. Unlike other DSL internet providers that offer lower DSL speeds at a relatively high price, AT&T stands in the pool with cheap yet fast DSL internet. Both Fiber and DSL internet costs the same. The lowest tier costs $50 every month with download speeds of 100Mbps.
The router is included without any extra cost regardless of the internet plan you’ll choose. This is an unusual benefit in the Internet industry. Most ISPs usually charge up to $10 on Equipment rental fees every month. However, it’s important to remember that AT&T has some confusing plan structure. The AT&T DSL and Fiber internet plans overlap at 100Mbps. It can be unclear whether people who can access DSL and Fiber internet would get any of them.
Lastly, speed and pricing for AT&T vary from one location to the other. In some areas, you might end up spending $40 every month for 5Mbps. For example, Houston users are quoted at $40 for 5Mbps, while Freeport can get 100Mbps for an extra $10.
AT&T DSL internet pros and cons
- Well priced plans
- Bundle with DirecTV
- Full Fiber connections
- High-speed Internet
- Solid customer service rating
- Not terrible prices
- Limited availability
There’s a reason why Frontier is on the list today. This Company offers averagely priced internet plans and very low-cost equipment. If all the available alternatives charge high prices for equipment every month, then you can go with Frontier internet.
Frontier internet 500Mbps is available at $40 per month in some locations. Some cable internet providers charge more for almost half the speeds. According to an FCC report on Household Broadband, 100Mbps is more than enough for average internet users. 100Mbps is enough for data-intensive internet activities such as streaming, Video conferencing, and Zoom meetings.
The only complaint is that Frontier DSL offers low-speed plans. Although this is the case, the plans are very cheap. You can actually pay as low as $28 every month. The main selling feature is the fact that they are all contract-free plans with a price lock. The price you pay today for the internet will not change for as long as you are using Frontier Internet. You can definitely cancel the plan any time of the day.
That said, there are few things to consider. Customer feedback is critical in this case. In fact, people have reported service interruptions during and after they acquired Verizon Fios’s Fiber optic infrastructure. According to a report from the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index), Frontier scored 55/100, which is below the average score. Most people complain about the billing issues and difficulties cancelling the service or changing the plans.
Frontier service is provided in 29 states in the country, and there’s a likelihood the service is available in your area. The DSL service is affordable, and you can get good internet speeds depending on your specific internet needs.
Frontier Internet pros and cons
- No data limits
- Price lock
- Greater access in rural areas
- Bundle with Phone and TV
- Has a Mobile app to monitor and manage your bills
- Available in more than 29 states in the country
- Hidden Fees
- Limited Fios availability
- Poor customer satisfaction
Xfinity offers two types of internet connections, which are Fiber and Cable internet, at a price starting from $29.99. Internet speeds start from 15Mbps for downloads. Surprisingly, Xfinity is the only ISP that offers internet speeds of up to 2,000Mbps. You can equally bundle Internet with TV, Phone, and Home Security.
Currently, Xfinity is owned by Comcast and ties with Cox for the fourth cheapest Internet service provider in the USA today. The first Internet plan is the Performance Starter plan, which costs $29.99 every month. This offers Internet speeds of up to 25Mbps. Though, we don’t like the fact that Xfinity has very low upload speeds. The ISP imposes a Data limit of 1TB every month. The equipment rental fee is also relatively expensive, at $14 every month.
With Xfinity, you don’t have to enter a long-term contract, but this can save you a lot of money. Other fees vary depending on the Internet plan and contract. For autopay and Paperless billing attracts some form of discounts. Another selling feature is that you will get free online security software. With Xfinity, you can access numerous Xfinity Hotspots around the country.
If you don’t intend to commit to long term contracts, you have an option to choose what you like. For customers that don’t have a bank account, it’s easy to go for the prepaid Internet option. This can as well appeal to the users that want to avoid a credit check.
Xfinity is likely to quote you the lowest prices for the base level, stand-alone internet service. But there’s a tradeoff with the speed and other top picks. For an average household, 15Mbps is enough for streaming and other data-intensive activities. But if you need more speeds, you can go for 100Mbps for just $40.
You definitely have to consider the upload speeds, which are lower than average. While 15Mbps is enough for download speeds, the upload speeds will suffice for people that don’t need to upload large files.
Xfinity Internet pros and cons
- Excellent modem/router
- Strong customer service
- High-speed internet of up to 940Mbps
- Reliable high-speed internet
- No contract Option
- Wide availability
- Limited Availability
- Relatively high priced plans
Price for Life Guarantee-CenturyLink Internet
The main reason why we included CenturyLink on this list is because of its price for life Guarantee. Unlike most ISPs that offer promotional prices that are likely to go up after one year, CenturyLink will lock you into low-cost internet for good. So, unless you change your service or address, the price will stay the same indefinitely.
Furthermore, you don’t need a contract to use CenturyLink services. The plans are month-to-month, meaning that there are no termination fees. For the Price for Life Guarantee, the service will renew automatically unless you cancel the service.
Regardless, it would help if you considered the CenturyLink Speed vs. Price. This service is an excellent option for budgeters, mainly because of the low starting price. But remember, CenturyLink offers less speeds than most competitors. Another thing to note is that the Company has a very confusing price structure. The fact is that CenturyLink Fiber and DSL overlap at 40Mbps. It’s unclear how the company prices most of the plans.
CenturyLink pros and cons
- Price for life guarantee
- No cancellation fees or contracts
- Gig Fiber internet options
- High-speed Data
- Up to 2,000Mbps Internet speeds
- Cheap and affordable DSL internet.
- Relatively poor customer service
- Speed performance is not the best
- Confusing availability map.
Who has internet for $10 a month?
There are several cheap internet alternatives available out there, but AT&T proves to offer the most affordable internet for budgeters. They offer $10 per month for High-speed Internet for Low-Income families. Though, you must be eligible to get this offer.
Who has the best Internet deal right now?
Verizon is the best now, but several other providers have the best Internet services out there. It can actually offer speeds of up to 200Mbps at $40.
Who has the Cheapest and Best Internet service?
I would recommend Xfinity, Verizon Fios, and AT&T services as the best internet service at affordable prices.
The list above contains the cheapest internet plans from five major Internet services. As a matter of fact, the list doesn’t include the providers with the least initial price but the lowest equipment prices, zero hidden costs, lowest activation costs, and Early termination costs.