Shop and compare with our free, friendly concierge service

Cutting Costs, Not Connections: Cheap Internet Plans Demystified

Cutting Costs


High-speed internet access is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity for work, school, entertainment and more. But with prices creeping higher every year, finding an affordable internet plan can be a challenge. The good news is that there are ways to cut your internet bill without sacrificing connection quality. This guide will demystify cheap internet plans and providers, helping you get online for less.

The Landscape of Discount Internet Providers 

The internet service provider (ISP) market in the US is dominated by just a handful of big cable and telecom companies, like Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum and AT&T. These providers can charge high prices – often $50-70 per month or more – because they face little competition in their regional monopolies and duopolies.  

Thankfully, there are a growing number of budget-friendly alternatives for getting online. The cheap internet market generally falls into three categories:

  • Discount and Reseller ISPs: Companies like Vast, Rise Broadband and EarthLink offer discounted plans by reselling network access from the major ISPs. This allows them to offer service at 10-50% less than flagship brands.  
  • Fixed Wireless Providers: Fixed wireless providers like Starry and Wisper use radio towers to beam internet to antennas mounted on homes and buildings. By bypassing cable infrastructure, they can offer plans for as little as $30 per month.
  • Low-Income Programs: Comcast and many other ISPs offer special low-cost internet plans for lower income households and students through programs like Internet Essentials and Spectrum Internet Assist. Plans start as low as $10-20 per month.   

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Cheap Internet Plans

Bargain-priced internet plans offer obvious cost savings. But before signing up, it pays to weigh the pros and cons:  


  • Significantly lower monthly fees. Discount plans can cut your internet bill by 50% or more compared to mainstream providers.
  • No long-term contracts. Many budget providers offer month-to-month terms, allowing you to switch plans or cancel anytime.  
  • Enough speed for most users. Cheap plans provide 10-100 Mbps speeds – ample bandwidth for activities like streaming, surfing and social media.


  • Availability limited by location. Discount internet plans have less extensive regional coverage networks than major brands. Verify service at your address beforehand.
  • Speeds may be capped for data usage. Some budget ISPs slow speeds after exceeding designated data thresholds each billing cycle.
  • Customer service could be lacking. Smaller discount internet providers tend to get lower customer satisfaction scores in surveys than mainstream brands.

Tips for Finding the Best Deal on Cheap Internet 

Follow these tips to locate a cheap internet plan that meets both your budget and connectivity needs:

Compare discounts side-by-side. Websites like Allconnect and BroadbandNow allow you to input your address and instantly see available plans and pricing from low-cost providers in your area.  

Ask about real-world speeds. Speed claims from ISPs are aspirational “up to” rates. Ask each provider what speeds customers typically get during peak evening usage times, when networks are busiest.  

Check for data caps. Unlimited data is getting rare. Many budget ISPs have caps as low as 100-250 GB per month, which can prompt overage fees if exceeded. Make sure your data needs won’t bump up against a cap.

Read the fine print on other fees. A $20 per month internet plan sounds great…until you notice it comes with a $10 monthly equipment rental fee or $100 early termination fee. Factor in all recurring fees.   

Inquire about price guarantees. Some ISPs guarantee rates for a period of time, usually 6-12 months. Locking in an initial low price can provide savings stability, preventing rising bills.

See if you qualify for low-income programs. Households meeting income limits can get steeply discounted internet through programs like Internet Essentials from Comcast (up to 50 Mbps for $9.95/month) and Spectrum Internet Assist (30 Mbps for $17.99/month).  

Review value-added perks. A free month of service, WiFi router or streaming subscription can make an already cheap internet offer even sweeter.   

Top Low-Cost Internet Providers

Here is an overview of 5 of the top low-price internet providers in the US:


  • Technology: Fixed wireless 
  • Starting monthly price: $30  
  • Speeds: Up to 200 Mbps 
  • Data caps: None
  • Key perks: Free standard installation ($99 value); WiFi hub included; No long-term contract

Starry is one of the newest budget home internet providers, using fixed wireless technology to deliver speeds up to 200 Mbps. With no data caps, contracts orhidden fees, their $30 per month plan is straightforwardly priced. Availability is limited but expanding to more US metro areas.

Vast Broadband

  • Technology: DSL & Fiber 
  • Starting monthly price: $40
  • Speeds: 25-100+ Mbps
  • Data caps: 150 GB to Unlimited  
  • Key perks: Free DSL modem; Unlimited calling plans available  

Vast Broadband focuses on providing residential service in underserved small towns and rural markets of the West and Midwest. With capabilities to provision both fiber and DSL internet based on area infrastructure, Vast offers an affordable entry point for reliable internet across their coverage footprint.


  • Technology: DSL  
  • Starting monthly price: $40
  • Speeds: Up to 115 Mbps
  • Data caps: 150 GB
  • Key perks: Free standard installation ($99 value); WiFi router included; No contract

First making its name as one of the early pioneers in internet access, EarthLink today offers impressively low rates on DSL internet. While DSL can’t match the lightning speeds of pricier fiber plans, EarthLink’s service still provides enough bandwidth for an average family – and with no binding contracts.

Spectrum Internet Assist

  • Technology: Cable 
  • Starting monthly price: $17.99  
  • Speeds: 30 Mbps
  • Data caps: None
  • Key perks: WiFi router included; No credit check qualifications  

Charter Communications’ Spectrum Internet Assist targets 30 Mbps no-contract cable internet service to lower-income households, senior citizens and disabled individuals meeting eligibility criteria. It comes with unlimited data, no deposits, free installation and in-home WiFi equipment.  

Xfinity Internet Essentials  

  • Technology: Cable
  • Starting monthly price: $9.95
  • Speeds: 25-50 Mbps
  • Data caps: 1.2 TB
  • Key perks: Low-cost computer purchase options; Free digital literacy training

Comcast Xfinity’s Internet Essentials program has connected over 10 million low-income people to the internet since 2011. It offers 25-50 Mbps cable internet plans with 1.2 TB of data for only $9.95 per month to qualifying households. Extras like discounted computer ownership, digital skills programs and 60 days of free service help address key adoption barriers.

Cutting the Cord? Combine Internet with Streaming TV

On their own, cheap internet plans can slash your connectivity costs. But you can lock in even more savings by getting rid of expensive legacy pay TV services and switching to more affordable streaming entertainment. Combining discounted internet with low-cost live TV and on-demand services like Sling TV, YouTube TV, Netflix and Hulu can add up to huge savings over your current provider.   

Budget-friendly streaming TV packages typically range from only $20-65 per month with no contracts, equipment costs or other hidden fees. And streaming services give you flexibility to mix-and-match your favorite content sources into a customized entertainment bundle. 

Want local news and sports from broadcast channels? Choose a streaming package with offerings from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Love movies and original shows? Add subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Disney+. Can’t miss primetime hits and prestige cable dramas? HBO Max or Showtime’s standalone streaming app have you covered without paying for hundreds of extraneous channels. 

By pairing discounted internet service with low-cost live and on-demand streaming content, you can save $50, $75 or even $100+ per month over inflated conventional pay TV packages – without sacrificing entertainment variety and access.

The Bottom Line

You no longer need to pay a fortune just to get fast and reliable internet for your home. Despite rising internet prices from the biggest cable and telecom brands, quality budget-friendly alternatives are readily available across the US thanks to discount ISPs leveraging new technologies like fixed wireless. Combining a low-priced internet plan under $50 per month with streaming video gives savvy cord cutters the best of both worlds:Staying connected for less.

More related articles about Cutting Costs: here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *