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With most of us forced to stay home during the ongoing pandemic, having a good home internet service that isn’t too much for our wallets, has become a necessity. Subsequent to the increased reliance of masses on internet connectivity, it’s inevitable for internet service providers to be hit with more grumblings and complaints too—but not all internet providers are bad news. 

Yet, when you have multiple internet services showcasing a variety of internet offerings, it can get a little overwhelming to find one that fits the needs of the entire family—especially if you’re on a budget, and also want to find a cheap internet provider you can place your trust in.

To make things easy, we’ve made a list of some of the less expensive home internet service offerings from top nationwide names in the U.S. ISP market. Almost all providers offer promotional pricing for a fixed term to new customers—beyond which your monthly service charge levels with the standard rate prevalent at the time. However, the first year of subscription brings you loads of savings courtesy of the promo offer—which if available is worth a shot.

Many other factors also add to the cost of an internet subscription besides the monthly service charge—for instance, the upfront installation fee if you are not in for self-install, monthly rental for the internet equipment, or a small cost attached to the in-home Wi-Fi service, and data overage fees if the plan is capped. And, then there are taxes and government fees which are over and above, and vary with your geo-location. 

To compare better, it is necessary to take all of the above factors into account, and also evaluate each offer based on its service features, and perks if any—in addition to speed and data. Because it is the overall value of an offer that best differentiates one from another.

AT&T

AT&T is the second biggest DSL broadband provider in the U.S. and ranks at the top in fiber broadband provision. The AT&T DSL network covers around 123 million while the provider’s Fiber network reaches an estimated 36 million in its 21-state service territory. AT&T is known best for its speedy wireless internet service, which is available across the U.S., but residential AT&T internet plans offer no less value.

Here are some service features which are common to high-speed DSL and Fiber broadband plans from AT&T:

There is however one thing you must remain mindful of—while AT&T IPBB and Fiber networks deliver a variety of speeds, not all speed tiers are available in all service locations due to variation in network capability. Also, while AT&T Fiber is fast spreading its footprint in all service states, it maybe sometime before it becomes as widely available as high-speed DSL from the provider.

Recommended AT&T Residential Internet Plans:

AT&T Internet 100

$45/mo.
For 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee. Autopay & Paperless Bill read. $10/mo equip. fee applies.

AT&T Internet 100 is delivered over AT&T’s innovative IPBB network—capable of providing reliable and consistent speeds that keep you connected with confidence. 

 Up to 100 Mbps, fast download speeds allow 3-4 devices to connect.

Remote work, virtual learning, streaming HD, online gaming, or large file sharing.

AT&T Fiber 300

$35/mo.
For 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee . Autopay & Paperless Bill req’d. $10/mo equip. fee applies.

  •  AT&T Fiber 300 is delivered over AT&T’s cutting-edge fiber-optic network—capable of getting you ultra-fast speeds with 99% reliability.  
  • Up to 300 Mbps fast equal download and upload speeds allow 6 devices to connect.
  • Run your home-based office, attend school online, stream HD video, or play competitive online games.

 As you can see above, you’ll have to pay a $10 per month rental fee for the equipment provided—this is part of the service and there is no way around it. If however, you need to use an additional router with the AT&T gateway, you can use your own. Another cost involved is that of full-tech install which is $99 upfront—but AT&T does provide you the option to save by letting you self-install the service—so at the time of placing your order request a FREE self-install kit if you are ready for a DIY job. 

Browse more AT&T internet plans and call at 1-855-925-2541 to check offer availability in your area.   

Spectrum

Charter Spectrum™ is ranked the 2nd largest cable broadband provider in the U.S., with coverage in 40 states and about 103 million people in its network fold. Spectrum Internet® is delivered via the provider’s upgraded hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network which is capable of getting you reliable ultra-fast download speeds.

Spectrum delivers 3-speed tiers in most service locations, but the standard tier which gives you up to 200 Mbps fast download speeds is the most affordable and widely available. With that said, all Spectrum Internet plans come with a variety of service features common to all:

Recommended Spectrum Residential Internet Plan:

Spectrum Internet

$49.99/mo. for 12 months

  • Spectrum Internet 200 is delivered over Spectrum’s hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network—capable of providing reliable and fast internet.
  • Up to 200 Mbps, fast download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed allowing up to 5 devices to connect.
  • You can work from home without worrying about a poor connection during your video conference call, meet all requirements of virtual learning, stream HD or game online in leisure time.   


Other than the monthly service charge for the service, there are some other costs involved with Spectrum Internet—for instance, while the modem you get is WiFi-enabled, in order to have in-home WiFi service, you will have to pay Spectrum $5 per month. And there is also a one-time fee associated with in-home WiFi—you must pay $9.99 to have the WiFi service activated once your Spectrum connection has been installed.

Moreover, while Spectrum does not charge as high for professional installation as many other ISPs, you’re liable to pay a one-time $49 to have a professional tech set things up. To save on that upfront cost though you can self install the service.

Explore all Spectrum Internet plans, and call at 1-844-760-4220 to check offer availability in your area. 

CenturyLink

CenturyLink is ranked as the 4th largest DSL and Fiber provider in the US—its DSL network covers about 48.4 million people while the fiber optic network makes service available to an estimated 18.7 million. DSL service is accessible across the 50-state CenturyLink footprint, but the availability of fiber broadband is relatively limited at this point in time.

The CenturyLink DSL network utilizes an extended fiber backbone which helps shorten the distance traveled by data over copper lines. As a result, CenturyLink is able to deliver high-speed DSL as fast as 100 Mbps in most service locations. On the other hand, CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit service reaches you via fiber-optic lines straight to your doorstep—with symmetrical speeds up to 940 Mbps.

CenturyLink takes a customer-centric approach towards pricing and terms—

Recommended CenturyLink Residential Internet Plans:

CenturyLink Internet 100

$49/mo.
Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.

  • CenturyLink Internet 100 is delivered over CenturyLink’s hybrid Fiber-Copper network—capable of boosting DSL speeds.
  • Up to 100 Mbps, fast download speeds allow 3-4 devices to connect.
  • Use CenturyLink Internet for remote work, virtual learning, streaming video, social media networking, file sharing, etc.

CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit

$65/mo.
Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.

  • CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit is delivered over CenturyLink’s 100% fiber-optic network—capable of getting you ultra-fast speeds with 99% reliability. 
  • Up to 940 Mbps fast equal download and upload speeds allow 10 devices to connect.
  • Run your home-based office, hold video conference calls, attend school online, stream your TV, enjoy 4K gameplay, connect all your smart home devices, etc.


Besides the monthly service charge, other CenturyLink costs include equipment rental worth $15 per month—which you can avoid by purchasing the high-end device upfront if you foresee yourself keeping the Price for Life plan. Or just use your own CenturyLink compatible equipment instead. The pro installation fee for CenturyLink service is a little higher—up to $125—but avoidable if you want to set things up on your own using the self-install kit.

On the other hand, when you order online, the CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit service comes with a free modem and installation offer! 

Explore all CenturyLink Internet plans, and call at 1-855-349-9310 to determine offer availability in your neighborhood.

Cox

Cox Communications is the 3rd largest cable broadband provider in the U.S. and is available to about 21 million people in 18 states. Cox puts to use its hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network to deliver superfast speeds with great reliability—good enough for Nielson data to rank Cox Internet as one the best for streaming video.

Albeit Cox speed plans come in quite a variety, based on network capability some speed tiers may not be available in some Cox service locations. For instance the Cox Gig service is limited to select areas as of yet. Let’s take a quick look at Cox internet service features—included and optional:

Recommended Cox Residential Internet Plan:

Cox Internet Preferred

$59.99/mo. for 12 months with 1-yr. term agmt.

  • Cox Internet Preferred is delivered over the hybrid Fiber-Coaxial Cox network—which facilitates ultra-fast reliable internet.
  • Up to 150 Mbps, fast download speed, and 10 Mbps upload speed allowing up to 5 devices to connect.
  • Get all remote work-related tasks done, kids can easily study online, video chat with family, stream HD TV or game online, etc.     

The Cox wifi Panoramic gateway device costs $12 per month—but it is an advanced high-end wireless modem-router combo that gives you wall-to-wall coverage in return. You can use Cox-certified equipment if you wish to save money every month, and are willing to look after the health of your equipment yourself. 

As for installation, Cox does charge an installation fee, but may also waive it when you bundle internet with other Cox services. You can opt for self-install, and pay a small fee for the kit instead when you place your order.

Browse Cox internet plans, and call at 1-855-349-9316 to check availability in your area.

Xfinity

Xfinity by Comcast is the largest cable service provider in the U.S., with over 112 million under its network coverage. Fiber-optic broadband from the provider is available to a select population of 19,000.

Powered by Fiber in the Loop, Xfinity cable broadband comes in a range of super-fast speeds—but as with other providers, it depends on network capability as to which speed tiers are available to you. Here are a few features of the Xfinity Internet service:

Recommended Xfinity Residential Internet Plan:

Xfinity Internet Performance Pro

$49.99/mo. for the first 12 mos. with 1-Year Agreement

  • Xfinity Internet Performance Pro is delivered over Xfinity’s state-of-the-art network—which can deliver reliable ultra-fast speeds.
  • Up to 200 Mbps fast download speed that connects 5 devices with ease.
  • Download large files as you work from home, or have young ones attend school online, shop or bank, stream video or game online—you can do all of that without glitches.        


As for internet equipment, the advanced Panoramic WiFi gateway device from Xfinity costs $14/month in the rental fee. Xfinity sure allows you to BYOD, but the xFi gateway you get is every bit worth it for that fee. Similarly, Xfinity also lets you self install the service if you wish to save on the standard pro-install charge. Browse Xfinity internet plans.  

Conclusion

These 5 home internet service providers we have discussed above put forth the most lucrative plans in terms of speed, data, service features, and perks. As we said earlier most internet plans you see around may appear to be priced similarly because prices do not change drastically in this industry—however when you dig a little deeper into what you get out of an offer, and what all are the additional costs involved—you can make a better judgment.

For more information, you can call experts in the field at 1-855-349-9328, and speak about your household internet needs, as well as ask them to determine deals available at your address.

FAQs

Why do my internet bills increase each year?

If you weren’t aware, most if not all promo rates expire after the promo term comes to an end, and you start getting billed at the prevailing standard rate of the service.  Apart from the expiration of the promotional rate, it’s also common for internet service providers to increase rates due to the expansion of their network or operational costs. These price hikes can turn up at any point in time. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of the internet plan you subscribe to.

Is it cheaper to go for contract or month-to-month internet plans?

It is rare to have a choice between contract or month-to-month service. Most internet service providers either don’t make contracts mandatory or require one which is either 1 or 2 years long.

With that said, most consumers prefer to stay on a month-to-month plan as there is no Early Termination Fee involved if the service is canceled earlier than the term of the contract. But, when you sign up for a contract you can often take advantage of a lower per month price. At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preference for one or the other.  

Should I buy my own equipment?

If you were to calculate the yearly equipment cost, it’ll most likely be hovering around $100. Now, if you think you are tech-savvy enough to set up and maintain your in-home network, BYOD is a good option. But if you’d rather that the internet service provider takes care of all technical matters, we’d say go with the equipment from your ISP.