The average American with home internet is paying approximately $15 a month in fees for their modem and Wi-Fi router. That amounts to $180 a year and nearly $1,000 in just five years.
Home Internet Equipment Fees
Most Americans pay equipment fees associated with their home internet. In many areas, the average fee is $10 a month, but then there are outliers like San Francisco where the average is more than $20 a month. The whole renting internet equipment is a bit of a racket, and it used to be worse. The FCC actually passed laws that required internet service providers to be much more upfront and affordable internet plans. They also put an end to people being charged for unused equipment, but there are still caveats in that area.
At any rate, you should go check your internet bill. If there is an equipment fee there, then there is a good chance that you can save yourself hundreds by buying your own equipment and returning theirs.
No Equipment Fees
It is important to review your bill. While most ISPs do charge equipment fees, not all do. Therefore, you cannot just assume that yours does. A great example of a company that does not charge them is Google Fiber. In fact, Google will give you a mesh router and two additional extenders at no charge.
Something else to be cognizant of is market differences. Some companies that do charge equipment fees have been known to waive them in areas where there is stiffer competition, and as competition increases in the U.S., we may eventually see a day when such fees are more uncommon than not.
Unavoidable Equipment Fees
You should also be aware that there may be equipment fees you cannot avoid. Earlier we mentioned that the FCC changed the law so that internet service providers could not charge you for equipment you did not use. However, they can mandate that you use their equipment as long as they do not charge you for it or they do charge you for it but include that cost in their advertised price. Frontier is a prime example of a company that charges equipment fees and will not let you out of them.
The Usual Case
Most ISPs, however, do charge equipment fees but do not want to include them in their advertised prices. That means that you are in your right to purchase your own equipment, and as soon as you return their equipment, they will eliminate the charge and even prorate the charge for the current month if applicable. This usually includes the router. It may or may not include the modem. Even if it does, you can replace one item at a time and still have your bill decreased for that item.
Save Hundreds and Even Thousands
Consider a scenario in which you pay $10 a month, which is less than the national average. That amounts to $120 a year, which is more than you need to purchase a good router and probably comes close to purchasing a modem too. That first year you come out even or close to it. Each subsequent year, you save $120, and routers and modems tend to last a long time. Saving $1,000 or more over the course of the equipment lifespan is not an unrealistic proposition.
For the person who perhaps does not feel tech-savvy, purchasing your own internet equipment can seem a little scary. But in most cases, the purchase and setup are a lot easier than you think, and there are numerous resources online that will help you ensure that you are purchasing the right products.
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