How Much Does Internet Service Really Cost?

Updated on February 18, 2022 | by Ankit

Cost of internet Services

From once a luxury item to a necessity, high-speed internet service is now as important as any other utility. We need high-speed internet to work remotely, to attend class and submit homework, stay in touch with friends and family and so much more. So how can we all fit internet service into our family budget? How much does high-speed internet service really cost? Find out what you can expect to pay, what added fees you may come across, and what to consider when choosing an internet provider here.

Top 10 Internet Providers & Their Costs

Internet ProviderMonthly PricesInternet Speeds
AT&T$35/mo to $60/mo768K to 1 Gig
CenturyLink$49/mo to $65/mo100 Mbps to 940 Mbps
Charter Spectrum$49.99/mo to $69.99/mo100 Mbps to 940 Mbps
Comcast Xfinity$39.99/mo to $299.95/mo15 Mbps to 2000 Mbps
Cox Communications$29.99/mo to $99.99/mo25 Mbps to 940 Mbps
EarthLink$49.95/mo to $99.95/mo15 Mbps to 1 Gbps
Frontier Communications$37.99/mo to $79.99/mo9 Mbps to 940 Mbps
HughesNet$49.99/mo to $149.99/mo25 Mbps
MetroNet$49.95/mo to $89.95100 Mbps to 1 Gbps
Verizon FiOS$39.99/mo to $79.99/mo200 Mbps to 940 Mbps

Beware of Added Fees

Like other services, the monthly price advertised for service isn’t the final cost you can expect to see on your bill. Unfortunately, the same holds true for internet service. Added fees are different per provider, but these are some of the fees that you should beware of:

Installation or activation fee: When you sign up for service, you may be subjected to a one-time installation or activation fee. These aren’t recurring charges, but they can be a surprise on your first monthly bill if you’re not expecting it. Many internet providers waive this fee for new customers or offer self-installation in its place to avoid the added cost, however, with some internet providers this fee is unavoidable. Installation or activation fees can be as high as $100 and vary per provider.

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Equipment lease fee: You may or may not find an equipment lease fee on your monthly bill. This recurring charge is for your modem and/or router that you’ll eventually have to give back to your internet provider someday. Modem and router lease fees are as low as $8 a month to as high as $20 a month and vary per internet provider. Some internet providers include your modem and router at no extra cost to you as a part of their service. If you find equipment lease fees on your bill, some internet providers let you purchase your own compatible equipment to avoid the recurring charge.

Data overage charges: If your internet plan has a hard data cap, you may be subjected to data overage charges if you go over during any billing cycle. Data overage charges stack up quickly if you’re not careful for as high as $10 extra per 50 GB and if you’re a repeat offender you could be putting your account at risk of being turned off.

Federal Universal Service Fee: The FCC charges all internet providers a quarterly fee to help expand broadband internet access in currently underserved, unserved, and low-income areas. Some internet providers pass this added cost onto their subscribers for as high as $5 more a month, but the cost if there’s any for the customer varies per provider. 

Early cancelation fee:  If you’re in a contract and decide to cancel service, you may be subjected to a hefty early cancelation fee. Early cancellation fees are determined by how much time you have left in your contract and vary per provider. If you find yourself in this position you can expect your early cancelation fee to be a couple hundred dollars or more.

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Shop Around for the Best Deal

To get the best deal and price on internet service, shop around. Ask what internet plans are available to you, how much, for what speeds, and what new customer deals are running right now. If you don’t ask about them, you won’t find out. Internet providers want to entice you into subscribing to their service and will offer lower rates and even freebies to those that qualify. Just don’t get into attractive offers that make you spend more money than you’re willing to spend.

Choosing Internet Providers

It’s hard not getting caught up in how much internet service costs when choosing a new internet provider or internet plan. However, to choose the best one for your family, you’ll have to think beyond just the cost or you could end up with subpar internet service that won’t live up to basic expectations. While comparing internet providers look at internet speeds, service reliability, data caps, and service contract lengths.

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