Everyone at home wants access to the broadband connection. To surf the Web. To watch TV. To download music and video. To share files. And in an average digital household, the cost of broadband Internet services continues to grow steeply. Never before has choosing the right plan, which is optimized for your unique needs, been more important. Here are some smart ways you can slash those scary broadband bills - without cutting down on your enjoyment that this powerful technology brings into your home.
Don't Blindly Bundle Landline Services
Wirless broadband service providers want you to sign up for a range of related things that they also offer, like a bundled landline. But your household may not need a landline, especially if you have a mobile phone contract that offers unlimited calls. Why pay extra for a landline? And if you need one at all, check your usage pattern and opt for a limited version like an "evenings and weekends" plan, which often costs less.
Optimize Your Broadband Plan
When you first sign up for a broadband package, you probably are not sure how heavy your usage will be. But by monitoring the pattern of your Internet use, you'll have a fair idea of it within a few months.
At this point, review your plan and revise it to better reflect your actual usage. Unless you're an avid fan of downloaded movies, or you play games online, your "unlimited downloads" package is rather wasteful - and costs you more than a limited bandwidth plan.
Use Broadband Facilities To Cut Other Costs
Maybe you're making expensive overseas calls on a landline or mobile phone. Consider shifting those to VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) which can make it incredibly inexpensive, without sacrificing much by way of quality or comfort.
In fact, by throwing in a Web camera, you can even carry on video calls with people across the world, practically for free. Skype is one of the best known VOIP providers, but there are many alternatives.
Pay For Your Broadband In Advance
Broadband service providers save money on management costs when you pay for your services in advance, every year or every quarter. Another way they save is when you sign up to their direct bank transfer or online payment interface. The savings they enjoy are partially passed on back to you, by way of a pre-payment discount, or extra features and benefits from your broadband bundle.
Avoid Going Over Your Limit
Many new broadband users get excited at the promise of "unlimited access", and go wild with their Internet usage. It's a shock when they get hit by their bill. Going over your bandwidth limit can be scarily expensive. So find out what your plan limits are, and monitor your usage carefully to avoid paying more. If you find that the current plan constrains your use, opt for one with a higher allowance, even if it costs a little more.
Prune Extra Services
Many broadband services throw in many extras as 'paid up-sells'. With one click, you can add these services to your bundle. The trouble is that each of them costs a little more. And it all adds up.
Find out how much you are paying for these extras. Then ask yourself it you really need them. If you don't, cancel those services right away. Or look for less expensive alternatives from other providers.
Watch Out For Better Deals
Just because you signed up for one broadband provider doesn't mean you are locked to them for life. If another service delivers greater value at a lower price, you should consider switching over. So keep an eye out for new entrants. Ask friends and family for recommendations. Browse review sites for information.
The idea is to enjoy the highest benefits of broadband access, at the least cost. These simple tweaks will help you squeeze more value from your broadband experience.
Sam Jones, the author, has been looking into wireless broadband deals to try and replace his ailing connection.