If you are in an area that provides internet over your cable tv company’s line then you have probably looked at the costs involved. The first thing you should know is that if you are a large data user the major internet providers are going to limit your data download amount with what is called a Data Cap. Although there are FCC rules that force cable and phone providers to provide open access and not limit any single site the providers have found a way around this by throttling accounts that go over about 300 Gigs of data a month. If you are a high volume user then expect to be paying $30 extra or more a month to get that data cap removed. The reason for this is that some people are turning to streaming movie and tv show sites instead of buying cable tv television packages. It is cutting into their bottom end and because they can’t just go after Amazon Prime or NetFlix users they have to install this data cap for everyone.
The worst thing about this cap is that if you are one of the gigabit subscribers there isn’t a data cap. This makes absolutely no sense to me that a 5mbit customer would be capped at 300gigs a month and that a gigabit customer who could download 60 times as much or basically as much in a half day as the slower subscriber can in a month. So this isn’t about reducing traffic on their network its about limiting your ability to watch online content and nothing else.
So, now that your hopes and dreams of becoming a data only subscriber now include a huge fee about 50% of your bill on top of what you are paying now you better find ways to reduce your bill.
Buying your Cable Modem
If you are getting Internet over Cable TV then you must buy your Cable Modem. If you buy your modem you won’t be paying the $10 a month rental and that might be enough to let you upgrade to the next faster plan or just keep more money in your pocket.
The best place to find out which modems are comparable with your service is to visit their website. They will list all the models out there and then you can go where ever you want to buy one.
I was just looking for a device for a friend and I found that the Big A online merchant has them as Warehouse deals and that means they are returnable.
The cost for a return warehouse modem was only $35 so that is less than 4 months of cable rental. Remember if you don’t have the highest plan you don’t need the fastest cable modem just read reviews and make sure its on the company’s website list and you should be good to go.
Selecting the Correct Speed Internet Account
The first thing to reduce your cost would be to reduce your speed. The lower in speed you go the less you pay. However the lowest cost plans especially with the big C cable company often cost you more per mbit of speed.
So, Not the cheapest plan but maybe the second or third from the bottom is where the cost per mbit of speed is cheaper per mbit.
In other words the 3mbit BigC plan costs $40 a month and the 10mbit costs $50 so for $10 more per month you are getting just over 3x the speed.
If you like to stream video off the internet and do so to your tv then I would suggest that you get a 10mbit plan to start with. This is what is required to stream HD video without buffering.
If you don’t watch a lot of movies on your TV then you can drop down to whatever plan suits you 3mbit has been fine for me for a long time and I only get moderate buffering when watching Music videos on YouTube.
Making use of your Data Plan for Phone
There are a variety of services out there that will help you set up a VOIP Phone service to provide home phone to your entire house. Some of them are very expensive and you are likely to have seen them on commercials with the woot woo fools singing in the background. I suggest you don’t use them.
All these devices are is small boxes that you plug into your cable modem router and then plug your phone into the other side. Follow the setup for each device and your home phone will ring like normal. You can often even transfer your home number to this device which means if you rent and move you keep your phone number.
Other services like MagicJack, Google Hangouts, GVMate, Obihai and others are either free or have a moderate cost. Some are as cheap as $2 a month for a real phone number that can also be used on your cellphone as a second line or to allow you to answer your home phone while you are on the road.
There are many options but the service I went with saves me about $200 a year on my regular home phone. If I was on Dialup Internet or had DSL I would keep my home phone with the phone company but with VOIP the service is just as good with the exception of not being able to use a fax or modem.
Add WiFi to your home so your cellphone can use the Internet
This is pretty basic but if you don’t do this because you don’t have wired broadband at this time you really need to setup a cheap wifi router in your home so your phone can use the internet instead of your data plan.
You don’t need the most expensive WiFi router to support your cellphone. a basic 300mbit wifi router is probably many times faster than your cable internet so it will work well for updating all your apps or downloading new ones.
You can also install VOIP apps on your cellphone and dial out for free. There are a few but you may want to match them with your home voip service listed above.
Another cool thing you can do is buy a cheap Android phone or if you have one you upgraded but don’t use anymore then you can install a VOIP app on it and use it as your home phone. This way if someone asks to use your phone when they come over you hand them that and they can dial out free and they won’t be using your personal cellphone. If you don’t have one the dollar G place sells them for under $10 and you don’t need to register the phone with the service or pay a monthly bill if you are only using it as a in your home VOIP phone.
The speed and other services you can use over your Data Account will reduce your overall budget but it won’t lower that monthly bill. For that reason its good to remember if you are really in need buy the cheapest plan available and you will be able to use home phone services without buying them from your phone company or cable provider.
I also suggest that if you do have home television services that you find a way to record your own archive of TV shows that you can watch instead of paying a monthly bill to NetFlix or Hulu.
Our other how tos will cover how to setup a SiliconDust for Antenna or Cable TV recording and a Ceton Tuner and other PCIE Antenna Tuners. They are excellent ways to build your archive of shows and movies and they are legal to use.