Author Topic: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!  (Read 4696 times)

joer1212

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During the past couple of years, my monthly internet bill has ballooned from $39.95 to $59.95. That's more than a 50% increase!
The increases have been particularly dramatic during the past 6 months, where my charges went from $44.95 to $59.95 a month in 3 back-to-back rate hikes.
Being a dedicated Mustachican, this is very distressing news to me. I am aggressively seeking to reduce my costs, not increase them!

Is there a cheaper way for me to get broadband internet?

I live in Brooklyn, NY (Bensonhurst), and I don't think my internet service provider (Optimum) has any competition in my area, so they're free to screw me at will (I don't think Verizon Fios is available in my neighborhood yet).
Not only that, but I fear that frequent rate increases will become a lot more common in the future. It's not inconceivable that my bill will skyrocket to $100/mo. in just a couple of years.

There has to be a cheaper way to get home internet access, even if it means some compromise.

Are there any reliable high-speed wireless service providers in my area?

What about WiFi for the home? Is this free, or do you still have to pay an ISP monthly? Is it reliable, or will weak signal strength be disruptive to my online experience? 

Is there an equivalent to Magic Jack for internet access?


FYI: I currently use a desktop computer, which is connected to the internet with a cable.
I only have internet (no phone, internet & cable bundle).

I've always had Optimum Online since I first got home access back in 2005, so I am totally unaware of the alternatives.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks. 



« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 03:10:37 PM by joer1212 »

CommonCents

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 03:15:02 PM »
I would start by calling to complain, and request info on what other products they have available.  I do this with Comcast every 6-12 mos, reject at least the first 2 offers before I get something reduced to what I can accept.

The first time I did it, I was unemployed and absolutely planning to cancel.  Got the best deal then, when you really are walking.  Discovered then I should call and negotiate.

Nothlit

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 03:36:20 PM »
Yes, I think your best bet will be to call and complain about the price increases and see what they offer. Do you have any other cable options like Time Warner or Comcast in your area? Verizon FiOS may not be in your area, but Verizon (or some other company) DSL might be. Depending on your needs, that might be sufficiently fast. You can always threaten to switch, even if you have no real intention of following through. That's usually sufficient to get them to transfer you to the "retention" department, which can often offer better discounts than the front-line customer service reps. Or you could actually switch, if one of those other providers is offering a good deal for new customers.

Wireless (cellular) internet service is not usually practical for home use, unless you are an extremely light user (as in, no video streaming or large file downloads ever).

As to your question about Wi-Fi, it doesn't sound like you have a complete grasp on what exactly it is. Wi-Fi is different from cellular data service; it is not some magical "Internet out of thin air." Wi-Fi fulfills a similar purpose to the cordless landline phones of a decade ago -- you still have to have wired service to your home, and then you have a device that turns that wired connection into a wireless signal within your home.

Now, since you live in Brooklyn, I assume you are in close proximity to one or more neighbors. You might find that one of your neighbors would be willing to split the cost of internet service with you and let you use their Wi-Fi network, assuming you can get decent signal strength.

Zamboni

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 07:29:10 PM »
I had the exact same thing happen with TWC.  I tried calling to complain, but after talking to four people are repeating myself over and over, I still hadn't gotten to anyone who had the authority to lower my rate OR even cancel my service.  WTF? 

So, online resources helped me find that Frontier no longer requires a home phone.  $29.99 for internet only, with the fastest speed my line allows, with a 2 year price guarantee.  We shall see.

Taking the equipment back to TWC to cancel my service in person on Friday.

joer1212

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 01:25:11 AM »
Yes, I think your best bet will be to call and complain about the price increases and see what they offer. Do you have any other cable options like Time Warner or Comcast in your area? Verizon FiOS may not be in your area, but Verizon (or some other company) DSL might be. Depending on your needs, that might be sufficiently fast. You can always threaten to switch, even if you have no real intention of following through. That's usually sufficient to get them to transfer you to the "retention" department, which can often offer better discounts than the front-line customer service reps. Or you could actually switch, if one of those other providers is offering a good deal for new customers.

Wireless (cellular) internet service is not usually practical for home use, unless you are an extremely light user (as in, no video streaming or large file downloads ever).

As to your question about Wi-Fi, it doesn't sound like you have a complete grasp on what exactly it is. Wi-Fi is different from cellular data service; it is not some magical "Internet out of thin air." Wi-Fi fulfills a similar purpose to the cordless landline phones of a decade ago -- you still have to have wired service to your home, and then you have a device that turns that wired connection into a wireless signal within your home.

Now, since you live in Brooklyn, I assume you are in close proximity to one or more neighbors. You might find that one of your neighbors would be willing to split the cost of internet service with you and let you use their Wi-Fi network, assuming you can get decent signal strength.

Yeah, it looks like I'm screwed alright. I don't even have any leverage when I call Optimum.

Daley

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 01:42:46 AM »
Give post #5 of the Superguide a read, it might help give you a few ideas on how to approach your situation.

wtjbatman

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 01:54:15 AM »
Yeah, it looks like I'm screwed alright. I don't even have any leverage when I call Optimum.

If you haven't called yet, you should at least try. Just say you'd like to cancel your service (don't talk about your lack of alternatives), they might offer you a lower rate on the spot. If they don't, ask for the introductory rate. When I used to play that game with Comcast I could always get the introductory rate. Once I had to hang up and call back, then the second person took care of me.

It's worth a shot.

sleepyguy

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 07:57:48 AM »
Wow that is damn expensive!  I guess we have it pretty good here Toronto with internet rates with 3rd party providers ($33/mth)

Possible to get an unlimited phone plan (cheap in US i think) then just use your phone as an access point?

Nothlit

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 08:07:02 AM »
Possible to get an unlimited phone plan (cheap in US i think) then just use your phone as an access point?

Not really. Most cellular carriers don't even offer unlimited data plans anymore, and those that still exist are usually soft-capped (throttled) after anywhere from 2 to 5 GB per month.

joer1212

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 01:03:00 PM »
Give post #5 of the Superguide a read, it might help give you a few ideas on how to approach your situation.

Thanks. I will definitely give this a read!

joer1212

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Re: Getting fleeced by rate increases from internet service provider. Help!
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 01:05:23 PM »
Wow that is damn expensive!  I guess we have it pretty good here Toronto with internet rates with 3rd party providers ($33/mth)

Possible to get an unlimited phone plan (cheap in US i think) then just use your phone as an access point?

But would this service be comparable to my cable broadband internet?