How to cut the cost of high-speed internet in the Northwest

Over the past few years, we’ve come to realize how critical access to fast, reliable internet is. Although the height of online classrooms and remote work have passed, a new reality has set in since the Covid-19 pandemic: more of us are relying on the internet, and slow speeds don’t cut it.

That presents a problem. High-speed internet comes with a price tag that’s too high for many families. Even for those who can afford it, the bill can take a big bite out of the monthly budget. Everyone wants cheaper internet service. Here are some ways to get it.

Save money on your internet bill

Take a look at your next internet bill. Granted, there will be some line items in there that you can’t mess with, like regulatory fees. But you can chip small chunks off your bill by doing things like buying your router instead of renting it. Leasing your router does have benefits, like your internet company being able to diagnose issues remotely, but if savings is your goal, then buying a router outright may make financial sense.

If you rent your router from your internet company, you’re probably paying a rental fee of $10-$15/month. You can buy a router for less than $200. That may sound like a big out-of-pocket cost, but you’ll have made it back in less than a year versus renting. Renting a router for $15/month for five years will cost you $900. You’ll just want to make sure any router you buy is optimized and compatible with your internet service provider.

You can also avoid some fees by opting in to paperless billing and autopay. (Just remember to look at your bill to keep track of any additional fees.) Be sure to know if your calls to tech support incur a fee, too. If a technician comes out to look into a problem, you may end up with a hefty surprise charge on next month’s bill. Finally, check your bundles. Bundles can save money by grouping services together, but sometimes they can be more costly, especially if you’re not using one of the products, such as a landline or cable channels.

Switch to a more affordable internet service provider

Changing a service provider can be a pain. But if you find a better deal with another reliable company, give yourself the gift of a lower bill—and maybe better service. On some occasions, internet companies will even buy you out of your contract to get your business. Again, be sure to check your bill regularly for charge creep.

Switch to fiber-optic internet

If you’re continuing your education online, have settled into remote work for good or you’ve picked up a hobby or side hustle as a content creator or gamer, you need your network to work, and work well.

Fiber-optic internet is far and above faster and more reliable than cable and DSL. Both of these older forms of internet technology suffer from network slowdowns, data caps and uneven download and upload speeds, with upload speeds significantly slower. With fiber, you can get 1 Gig—that’s up to 1,000 Mbps—and beyond, with equal download and upload speeds. Serious content creators and busy families may want to explore multi-gig fiber internet plans.

Fiber is not only a better technology, but it’s also a way to save. Many households are still bundling cable internet and cable TV. This can get extremely pricey. With fiber, you can untangle these bills by opting for streaming TV. Say goodbye to commercials and hundreds of channels you don’t need. Services like YouTube TV and Hulu+ have pretty much everything you need, and it will cost a fraction of the price of a big cable bundle. Fiber’s speed and reliability make it ideal for streaming.

Ziply Fiber, a fiber-optic internet service provider in the Northwest, offers a range of plans, so you can get the speed you need at a price that works for you. Ziply Fiber also avoids complicated bundles and annual contracts, so you don’t get stuck with a huge bill for a bunch of services you don’t need for the indeterminate future.

Government assistance programs for affordable internet

If you’re eligible for government assistance programs, like SNAP, Medicare, WIC or free or reduced lunch, or if your household income is below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the federal Lifeline program may help you. This is a government-sponsored program that partners with internet service providers to reduce your bill.

Lifeline was launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985 to ensure communication access to families experiencing poverty. What started as discounted phone service grew to include broadband internet service in 2016. Lifeline is administered by the Universal Service Administration Co. and serves over 8 million Americans. Find out if you qualify for this benefit by simply filling out the form on the USAC website.

Lifeline also assists Tribal communities via the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and Head Start. Lifeline’s Enhanced Tribal Benefit and Tribal Link Up programs provide low-income individuals on Tribal lands with a discount up to $34.25/a month and up to $100 off first-time connection charges. Learn more about these programs here.

These programs can be game changers for anyone struggling to make ends meet, especially in this era of reliance on the internet for so many daily tasks, like virtual doctor visits, work and shopping.

High-speed internet doesn't have to be expensive

Inexpensive, fast, reliable home internet doesn’t have to be an unrealistic dream. Ziply Fiber knows this, and with the goal of elevating the connected lives of everyone across the Northwest every day, they are rapidly expanding their fiber lines out to rural and underserved communities that have been overlooked by bigger companies.

If you’re in Washington, Oregon, Idaho or Montana, check your address with Ziply Fiber to find out if we service your address or if we’re going to be in your neighborhood soon. We have simple-to-understand plans with no bundles, no annual contract requirements, no data limits and a 30-day moneyback guarantee. Fiber internet plans start at just $20/month. 

Learn more about Ziply Fiber's affordable internet plans here.