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Are You Paying Too Much for Your Internet Service?

September 16th, 2009 : · 9 Comments ·

I was. I can’t even count the number of Internet service providers I’ve had through the years, but for the past 7 years I’ve been with the same company. Comcast.

Now for those of you who live in the United States, that name is quite familiar to you. For those that don’t, Comcast is one of the largest cable TV and broadband providers in North America.

I really have no complaints about the Internet service Comcast has given me over the past 7 years. They have been reliable, and quick to resolve any problems, and the number of outages has been very low.

I’ve been paying approximately $65 USD per month since 2002. My rates have not changed more than a couple dollars, while the speed of the service has increased several times.

Until yesterday my service was rated at 6 MBps download speed and 1 MBps upload speed. Compared to some services that’s pretty fast although in the real world your actual download speeds never reach the actual speed that your service is rated. At most the best I was seeing was about 10% of that speed or around 600KBps. Still not bad but not great for 2009.

I happen to live in an area where there is actually true competition for your ISP and television service.

I can choose from a number of companies, but until recently they were all pretty much the same, cable companies using the same basic infrastructure.

This past year Verizon, another huge mega company in these parts of the US installed their fiber optic network into our region.

They have been constantly trying to get me to switch both my TV from my current satellite provider and also my Internet service.

There offers have been quite tempting, especially for the Internet service where they were offering me basically 4 times the speed at the same price I was paying now.

Internet service is kind of like a lot of things in life, you don’t really pay attention to it most of the time if it’s working correctly. It’s there, you use it, but you don’t think too  much about it unless you have a problem.

I was just about ready to make the switch and go with Verizon’s FIOS service, but decided I would give Comcast a call first and see what they could offer me. After all, no company likes to lose a customer.

But I have to admit I was pretty surprised at what Comcast actually offered me. I made it very clear to them that I was strongly considering switching to Verizon FIOS. Not only did they offer to triple my speeds, they offered to do it at a price of $29 per month. They were willing to cut my monthly bill in half, and then some and give me far more speed without requiring any long term contract.

So I said yes, Verizon’s service would still have been a bit faster but also more costly and then you have the hassle of changing over your networks, and personal email addresses.

So within 10 minutes of making the call, my speeds literally tripled.

So I wonder just how much money I’d given Comcast that I really didn’t have to over the past year?

If you live in an area where you have competition with both your television and Internet providers, you may be surprised at just how much pull you have, even if you’re not really thinking of switching providers, you can certainly use the option of switching as a bargaining tool.

I also did the same thing with my satellite TV provider getting them to substantially cut my monthly fees and offering me some new updated equipment at no cost.

Unfortunately I know a lot of areas in the US where there is limited or literally no competition for either television service or Internet service, and I’m sure that applies to many reading this.

But if you are lucky enough to live in a region that offers competition and choice, make a few phone calls, you might be surprised at the response you get. I was. Well maybe I wasn’t. Just don’t be lazy like me!

- Dave -

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • PL Plugin

    True Dave,

    Hehe… you would be surprised to know how different it looks over here in Europe (Germany) :-)

    Yes, we have competition here too, but… companies are too rigid to offer individual plans to customers.

    You either get the plan everyone else has or you have to switch the company and bother with so many things.

    That’s why I try to use American service providers for whatever I can, be it hosting or whatever else…

    Works fine for me :-)

    Best

    Metodi

  • Denny | StartupShack.com

    I gotta disagree with you on this one Dave, I just switched to comcast after our permanent relo to Naples and they are almost as bad as Time Warner. I miss my windstream DSL up north. Dynamic IP’s and always fast speed.

  • admin

    Hi Denny, Sorry to hear your experience is very different than mine.. I’ve certainly heard all the horror stories about Comcast and virtually every other ISP out there.

    It’s interesting how the service quality can vary from market to market. I would never use Comcast for my TV, really poor quality pic etc.. But I’ve had really trouble free internet service with them for 7 years now. In the past 20 years they have been my most reliable provider.. even though I would never have predicted that when I started with them

    - Dave -

  • Sonia

    Yes Dave it does vary from market to market. When I lived in Maryland, Comcast was the best service I could find. The story is very different in Florida.

  • Sonia

    Dave

    I submitted some questions through (email address edited) over a week ago like you suggested after the PL Webinar on 9/9. No reply though. In fact, I never seem to get a reply whenever I send mail to that address. Is support even getting my emails?

  • admin

    Hi Sonia, that email address should come directly to me, but I do not see anything from you.. even in my junk folders.. can you send them again,

    Dave

  • Mike

    Thanks Dave for the post. I was recently on Comcast residential but switched to a business line just last week. They are laying fiber optic in my area and within a week I should be at 22 MBps download and 6MBps upload on an dedicated ip. And with that business agreement (and the hefty 6 MBps), I’m able to set up my own web server and lease out each month some status ips from Comcast. Profit Loophole and Affiliate Armory, here I come!

    Go to http://www.speedtest.net/ and check out your own speed tests to see how your download and upload speeds compare.

  • admin

    Mike, I do pretty well at speed test, avg about 21 MBPS DL and about 7 MBPS UL, – Dave -

  • J-man

    I did a simular scenario as dave with my ISP/cable service. Out here we have a HUGE direct tv service (almost every home everywhere is plagued with constant dishes lol)… My local broadband company charges an arm and a leg for service but I called their bluff and told them I would switch to Direct and they offered me a year deal. I went from 7 megs per second to 12 (they literally just had to flip a switch) , although my advertized speed is 18 12 is about where it stabilizes, and they threw in a bunch of premium channels at an overall lower price.

    The barter system is still very much alive today, but most people don’t realize it because they are not in the business mindset. The business mindset basically is an awareness that every company out there is only as successful as their sales, and not just the first sale but the prospect of repeat business. Although many of the hard core companies are harder to barter/deal with because they hire and train a staff to deal with you who probably don’t care to help you, you there are many small businesses that will.

    You can’t barter with a tech support rep, unless the company is smart enough to implement a “if they ask we’ll concider it” policy of some sort or a “the customer is always right” policy. I live near a small town called “Sisters” where 98% of the stores are owned and opperated by either the owner or a family member (and many of their non family member clerks are like family and will pass on your message) and they will, IF YOU ASK barter on the price, especially if you say something aloud like I’m going to tell my friends to come in here, you guys are great.

    It’s simple economics, most businesses are hurting and need your business. This usually won’t work for online companies that are pretty much keeping their prices at rock bottom to compete- the internet is highly competitive, especially with online services. But it never hurts to ask anyway, if your offer is beneficial to both parties…. well….

    -J

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