Beware These Hidden Charges on Internet Service

Couple looking at computer and bill.
Photo by bbernard / Shutterstock.com

This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com.

Finding an internet plan that fits your needs and budget can be challenging enough. The last thing you want is to be caught with huge surprise fees after you’ve already signed the contract. So when you’re comparing plans, take into account these other charges that aren’t reflected in your monthly price. Follows is a look at some of the most popular internet service providers in the U.S. and their hidden fees.

Installation fees

Installation fees are one of the most common things to forget about when choosing an internet plan. Some carriers charge very little in installation fees, or none at all if you’re lucky. However, you’re likely going to be paying about $50 or more for installation.

As a general rule of thumb, satellite internet and fiber internet plans will have the most expensive installation fees on average, while fixed wireless plans (mobile internet) don’t come with any installation fees. This makes sense when you think about it — installing satellite and fiber internet requires a professional technician, while you can install mobile internet yourself.

Keep an eye out for special deals — internet providers will often waive installation fees for new customers.

Price increases

Something very common among internet plans are the price increases that occur after your introductory rate has expired. This commonly happens after a year of service, but can vary depending on your internet provider. If your internet plan locks you into a contract, then your monthly rate will likely be locked in until your contract is up.

If you are on a no-contract internet plan, however, make sure you ask your provider what your monthly rates will be in the long term. Rate increases can be quite hefty if you’re not careful.

Taxes and fees

Depending on whom you pick as your internet service provider, taxes and fees may already be included in your monthly fee. Luckily, these fees are pretty minimal with internet plans. If you’re bundling your internet plan with a TV service, however, look out for additional TV broadcast fees that you’ll be charged each month.

Equipment rental

Something you’ll need to add to your monthly rate is modem/router rental. This should only set you back about $10/month, but it does add up over time. Most providers do give you the option to supply your own modem/router, so this is also an option if you’d rather buy your own rather than lease one.

Data overages

Data overage charges only apply if you have an internet plan with a data cap. (If you’re on an unlimited data plan, feel free to skip this part.) Data overages can be a huge pain, especially if you’re not monitoring your data usage carefully. Some internet providers charge you if you go over your monthly data cap, while others may automatically upgrade you to the next level plan.

The most common way that internet service providers charge for excessive data use is in 50 GB blocks. For example, if you have a 300 GB data cap and you use 340 GB of data that month, a provider like AT&T or Xfinity (see below) would charge you an additional $10 that month. It’s important to have a good idea of how much data you use at home each month so you pick an internet plan that suits your needs.

Early termination fees

If you are locked into a contract, then do your best to stick with that provider until your contract is up. If you cancel your internet service early, your provider will charge you early termination fees that can be hundreds of dollars. If you might be moving to a new home soon, or you’re unsure about which service is right for you, try to find a plan that doesn’t lock you into a contract.

If you move to a new address, while it’s possible to take your internet plan with you (so you don’t break your contract), there’s no guarantee that your internet provider offers service at your new address. The safest thing to do is to find a no-contract plan so you have the flexibility of being able to cancel at any time.

Carrier hidden fees compared

Here’s an overview of how some of the most popular internet providers compare when it comes to additional fees. Note that the information below may differ depending on which exact internet plan you have with your provider.

Provider Type Installation Price Increase
After Introductory Period
Data Overages Early Termination Fees
AT&T DSL $99 $10/month $10 per 50GB $180 (pro-rated)
Xfinity Cable $59.99 – $89.99 Varies $10 per 50GB1 $110 (pro-rated)
Spectrum Cable $49.99 $20+/month No data cap None (no contract plans)

1Xfinity will only charge you overage fees if you’ve exceeded your data cap more than twice in 12 months.

More from WhistleOut.com:

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