How to reduce comcast internet bill, and how fast do I really need?
January 16, 2013 9:05 PM   Subscribe

How to reduce comcast internet bill, and how fast do I really need? Details inside.

Due to the fact that our internet bill goes up by 3ish dollars every year, and it's now our most expensive monthly bill other than heating, I'd like to get it reduced. I searched online and found advice as to what to say and what to ask for. This all fell apart when they started offering me downgraded speeds.

Currently (according to Comcast), we've got 12mb speeds. I don't know how this varies during the day, but right now is telling me we're getting 23mb.

They offered to reduce our bill by $13 a month if we go down to 6mb, or by $23 if we go down to 3mb.

I don't know how fast is considered "fast", and how much speed we actually need.

Right now our main use of internet is to watch netflix through our xbox. Other than that I do download some larger files from time to time, but rarely, and those are things which could take longer if needed. I can't think of anything else that we need fast internet for.

So, my question boils down to 2 things:

1 - Would we have any issues if we reduced our speed to 6mb, or even 3mb?

2 - Are there any other tips to try to get our bill reduced without lowering our service?
posted by markblasco to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
How much do you pay now? Is it bundled with tv or phone service? Are there competing cable companies, or DSL, fiber, or other Internet providers?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:08 PM on January 16, 2013

Think about getting rid of TV.

You don't even need 6mb if you aren't downloading a bunch of torrents, really.
posted by empath at 9:09 PM on January 16, 2013

Response by poster: We don't have any other services with them. Currently we pay $65 a month. Previous searches for competing companies didn't get me anything that was any cheaper, but I haven't looked recently (I will go do that right now)
posted by markblasco at 9:09 PM on January 16, 2013

Response by poster: We don't watch any TV other than netflix, and that gets used pretty much every day. I think that is the big thing which I want to make sure doesn't get screwed up if we reduce our internet speed.
posted by markblasco at 9:10 PM on January 16, 2013

According to this page, Netflix streaming uses about 2.3 GB/hour for HD video. A gigabyte is 8,000 megabits, so that works out to about 5.1 Mb/sec. Even allowing for a bit of overhead, 6Mb should be fine.

You can go down to 3Mb if you want, but then you'll only be able to get standard-definition video. (roughly DVD-quality, maybe a little blurrier)
posted by teraflop at 9:18 PM on January 16, 2013

I've watched Netflix on 1.5Mbps, but you're looking at low quality and any other internet activity will cause stuttering.
posted by meowzilla at 9:26 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

As another data point, 1080p YouTube streams at about 4 megabits.

So I'd agree that 6Mb should handle the vast majority of streaming video or other cases.

You'd only notice a big improvement if you did a lot of torrents or download-and-play VOD or something
posted by wildcrdj at 9:28 PM on January 16, 2013

I have 3MB and netflix is ok, but not amazing. I've considered upgrading it just to have a better Netflix experience. I think 6MB would be good.
posted by bswinburn at 9:33 PM on January 16, 2013

6 megabit service for $50+ is completely ridiculous. Do you live in the middle of nowhere, or something? Tell them to pound sand, you're going for X promotional deal from Y competing DSL service. I bet they suddenly find a deal for you, and if they don't, good riddance.
posted by zjacreman at 9:40 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We're just North of Seattle in the Lynnwood WA area. If someone knows of a better deal elsewhere I'd love to hear it!
posted by markblasco at 9:42 PM on January 16, 2013

I live in Seattle. There's a cable provider called Wave Broadband who is doing a $30 for 30Mbps down (and I think 5 Mbps up) promotion. They don't service all areas though. Qwest has a promotion for $30 for 40Mbps down, 20Mbps up, if they have that in your area, but if not they probably have regular ADSL2 which is still faster than 6Mbps down. Both are for a limited number of months of course, and then you have to call in or switch again.

Neither require a TV/phone subscription. PS: I found that the second you get any TV/phone subscription, Comcast lays on the tax/fee party (about an additional $15 per month), since now it's some kind of regulated utility. So don't go for any BS about "if you add TV, you will get cheaper rates even with the TV!"
posted by seattlejeff at 11:12 PM on January 16, 2013

Comcast is smart, and their website won't show you some new customer deals if you come from an IP address that is one of theirs.

So...visit the Comcast website from work, or google something like "Comcast special offers" from there, then call Comcast and ask specifically if they can match the terms of a new customer offer. Comcast customer service also actively monitors Twitter for grumpy Comcast users under the handle @comcastcares. You could try complaining there if they won't match the new customer offer for you, a loyal customer.

Finally, I would look at both AT&T Uverse and Verizon FIOS and see if they're available in your area. Whether or not you want to switch, these are two prominent competitors, and Comcast probably tracks their offers and may have official guidelines in place to prevent losing you to these companies.
posted by psycheslamp at 11:17 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Unfortunately, Wave, AT&T, and Verizon are not available to us. We had Qwest at our last house, but had to switch to Comcast because they don't service this area. Oh bother.
posted by markblasco at 7:56 AM on January 17, 2013

I was in your position exactly last month. We have an antenna for TV and had internet only through Comcast. Our deal was ending and they said "no new internet only deal for you; that's for new customers only." Somehow I got hooked in with a sales guy and he was able to offer us an internet-tv bundle for one year with superfast "blast internet" and basic basic cable for $39. The first cable box was free so there's no new equipment costs.

We were eligible for the promotion because we "upgraded" to a bundle. We worked out free installation and free HBO for a year too. So we got the cable installed but we never turn it on or use it. As a bonus I signed up for HBO Go which gives us access to all their stuff online and on our various devices.

tl;dr - consider upgrading to a bundle and it might save you money on the standalone internet price.
posted by AgentRocket at 8:39 AM on January 17, 2013

« Older Orlando hot pot or dim sum restaurants?   |   Where will my WA license be sent? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.