6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Broadband Access and Costs

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(ABC 6 News) – How much are you paying for your internet?

If you grabbed your bill but are confused and still can’t find the answer, guess what, 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,” says Consumer Reports’ Jonathan Schwantes.

Consumer Reports spent more than eight months analyzing more than 22,000 internet bills submitted by people from all across the country.

Amidst lines of charges and fees, determining the true price of internet proved to be challenging.

“A lot of consumers bundle it with their TV or their phone service,” says Schwantes, “and some providers have a separate line item for internet service but others do not. 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 & Television Association, a trade group, disagrees and says “Cable providers continue to provide consumers with transparent billing information on their websites and promotional materials.”

CR 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, 300 megabits per second,” says Schwantes.

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 MLabs.

Next, call your provider to find out what you’re actually paying each month, then start to negotiate with your provider. CR’s members consistently find lower prices by haggling.

And buy a top-rated router to avoid recurring monthly rental fees.