We hope you enjoy the following guest post from Chris Brantner, regarding affordable standalone internet, the cord cutting expert behind CutCableToday.com.
At least a few times a week, I get an email or two asking about internet service. It’s happened so often, in fact, that I added an ISP search engine to my site to help people find affordable standalone internet in their area. The main question?
“How do I save on internet service when I break the bundle?”
Which makes sense, right? You get a discount on internet service when you bundle together with pay-TV and landline. So won’t the cable companies try and get their money back when you cut cable and signup for broadband?
Of course they will. But the truth is that you can still save money and get the internet service you need. Let’s take a closer look.
Do I Need Broadband If I’m Only Using an Antenna?
First of all, if your TV setup is simply an antenna for over-the-air television, you might be able to get away with simply using your wireless data for email, Facebook, etc. But for most people, this probably won’t work out. If you plan on doing any streaming, you can expect to burn through your data pretty quickly.
- 1 hour of SD streaming uses about 1 GB of data
- 1 hour of HD streaming uses about 3 GB of data
- 1 hour of 4K streaming uses about 6 GB of data
So while speed isn’t necessarily the issue (wireless speed is sufficient for streaming, although you won’t get speeds rivaling Verizon Fios, the fastest ISP according to Netflix) the data can be the deal breaker.
However, recently T-Mobile came out with an app called Binge On that acts as an exception to this rule. When you use the Binge On app, you can stream video without affecting your data plan. So essentially, it’s free data. The catch? It only works if you’re using one of the approved Binge On streaming services. That list is pretty robust though, with services like Sling TV, HBO NOW, Amazon Prime and more (full list here).
Of course, many people who go the antenna route need the option to record their shows. And for that I typically recommend my go-to DVR, Tablo. With Tablo, the need for a reliable internet connection reappears. While an OTA antenna alone doesn’t require an internet connection, Tablo relies on an external internet connection to keep your programming guide and firmware up-to-date. (It doesn’t however use external internet for streaming to devices within your home, so it won’t use up your datacap that way.)
What Are the Top Three Ways to Save Money When Searching for Standalone Internet?
If you need high speed internet, odds are you’re going to have to go back to the cable company to get it. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still save plenty of money. Here are three ways you can drive down the cost of your standalone internet plan:
- Compare prices—As mentioned at the beginning of this article, I built an internet search engine on my site for exactly this reason. Using this tool, you can find out exactly what internet service providers are available in your area, as well as information on their current promotions. Do your homework and find the best deal available.
- Know the speed you need—You probably only need about 5 mbps per stream in your home. So if you have two people streaming at once, you’ll need about 10 mbps, 3 streams you’ll need 15 mbps, etc. In some cases you can cut your bill by downgrading connection speed.
- Purchase your own modem/router—Those rental fees can add up. Find out if your ISP will let you use a compatible modem/router. If so, purchase your own on Amazon and you’ll realize savings in a matter of 10 or so months.
So if you need an affordable standalone internet connection, don’t worry. Most people can get the internet they need and still save money. Just take the time to do your research before signing up with anyone.
Chris Brantner runs CutCableToday.com, a blog dedicated to helping people find legal cable TV alternatives. Follow him on Twitter @CutCableToday and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/CutCableToday.