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.
Change internet service providers
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 can
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.
Look into government assistance programs like Lifeline and ACP
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 Lifeline or Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) may work for you. These are government-sponsored programs that partner with internet service providers to reduce your bill or even make it free.
Lifeline was launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985 to ensure communication access to families experiencing poverty. More recently, during the pandemic, the FCC created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to help families afford the high-speed internet they need for work and school. ACP contributes up to $30 off your bill, and $75 off if you’re located on Tribal land. ACP also offers a one-time $100 technology credit you can use toward a computer or tablet. While ACP covers internet only, Lifeline takes $9.25 off phone, internet or phone-internet bundles.
Paired with a low-cost internet plan, these services can actually bring your internet bill down to zero. With Ziply Fiber’s Fiber 200 plan for $30/month, you can get 200 Mbps upload and download speeds along with a free router and complimentary installation. After the $30 ACP benefit is applied, the plan is entirely free.
For those living on Tribal lands, the benefits are extended to $75/month off your bill plus the $100 credit. You must qualify for certain Tribal benefits and earn a household income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
To check eligibility and apply for ACP, visit affordableconnectivity.gov. Once you’ve been approved, the credit will be applied to your internet bill. Note that ACP is funded by a one-time grant and may come to an end in 2024 unless legislation comes forward to continue it. Even so, there is still plenty of time to take advantage of this incredible benefit, especially if you need a few months to get on your feet or catch up on other bills.
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.
Ziply Fiber has fiber internet plans starting at just $20/month and new reduced prices on multi-gig plans for those who need a little more power. And if you are struggling to pay your bill, check your eligibility for Lifeline and ACP benefits.