Category Archives: Broadband Shopping Guide

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Broadband Bill Autopsy: The Origin and Purpose of Every Single Fee

Fun fact: Internet and telecom providers paid $1.8 Billion dollars to the government’s “Universal Connectivity Fund” last year. [1] Where did the cash come from? Take a look at your bill, and you’ll see that much of it came directly from millions of Americans like you — mostly in the form of “Universal Connectivity Charges” tacked onto broadband bills. [2] Unfortunately, that particular fee is just one of many you’ll find if you squint hard enough at your monthly statement: Phone-Related Fees: Federal Universal Service Charge Regulatory Recovery Fee 911 Service Fees State Universal Service Fund County Telecom Surcharge State Telecom Surcharge Telecommunications Relay Service Gross Receipts Tax Surcharge Administrative Charge Communications Sales Tax Television Fees: Receiver Fee Broadcast TV… Continue reading →

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Choosing the Best Media Streaming Services and Devices

The number of cable customers “cutting the cord” from traditional cable in favor of over-the-top streaming services grows every year. 8.2 percent ditched cable in 2014 alone, driving big media players like Amazon and Google to step up their game in the battle for the box that sits on top of your TV. [1] With satellite and cable TV bills easily topping the 100 dollar mark monthly, it’s no wonder that consumers are opting for streaming services like Hulu (only $7.99 per month) and streaming devices like the Roku ($50 for the entry-level Streaming Stick device). The only drawback is that the wide selection of streaming services and devices sometimes makes it difficult to figure out which of the many… Continue reading →

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How to Determine Which Internet Plan Is Right for You

Getting a broadband connection to your house can be a frustrating process. Choosing an Internet plan used to be a simple question of comparing prices and speeds. But these days, the quickly-changing tech marketplace has introduced a number of other factors consumers need to be aware of before they sign on the dotted line. For starters, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) recently began implementing data caps (limits to the amount of data you can use in a month), which can have a big effect on your monthly bill if you go over. At the same time, the growing popularity of high-definition video streaming via services like Netflix is poised to eat up data like never before — meaning that your bandwidth… Continue reading →

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Cable, Satellite, IPTV & OTT Streaming: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the difference between Cable TV, Sattelite TV, IPTV, and OTT (over-the-top) streaming services can be tricky — particularly as content providers scramble to offer bundled services that blur the line between Internet and broadcast media. While cable subscription numbers have been tailing off in favor of alternatives like Netflix and Hulu, the video-consumption industry on the whole has only grown.  [1] There are more ways to tune into our favorite shows than ever before. More choices translate to more power for consumers, but only if you take a moment to understand the differences between the various types of TV connection available on the market today. Our goal in this post is to walk you through the basics of each “flavor”… Continue reading →

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How to Design a Supercharged Home Network

Your home is your kingdom. What’s a kingdom without strong Wi-Fi? The cable guy’s default settings will only get you the basics. Luckily, it doesn’t take much time or money to supercharge your home network. This article goes over everything needed to strengthen your Wi-Fi, enhance security, and dispel the dreaded “buffering” symbol from your Netflix forever. We’ll also cover ways to extend and enhance your network using hardware like switches, security systems, and power line extenders. Stop: if you’re here because your network is slow or not working, do the following first: Restart your router and/or modem (if no restart button, just unplug for a few seconds) Try different DNS servers (video guide here) If you’re unfamiliar with the… Continue reading →

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How to Optimize your Home Network for Faster Speeds

It’s frustrating to run a speed test and discover that you’re only getting half the Wi-Fi speeds advertised for your broadband plan. Luckily, optimizing your Wi-Fi network for faster speeds isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a basic understanding of how your network operates. In most cases, you can boost your speeds significantly for little or no extra money. This post will break down the basics of how your Wi-Fi network operates and walk through some steps you can take to boost your Internet speeds. Home Network 101 Here are the three main pieces of hardware you need to understand: Modem: The “gatekeeper” between your ISP and your home network, connects to cable or DSL wall outlet. Router: The… Continue reading →

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Renting vs Buying a Modem: What’s Best for Your Budget

If you have broadband, you’re probably renting a modem or modem/router combo from your provider. But is the money worth the convenience? With rental fees from big ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner increasing by as much as 33% in the past year, many consumers are foregoing the monthly fee and buying their own modems. A modem that costs $150 pays for itself in a little over a year. After that, you stand to save $8–$10 per month for as long as the modem keeps ticking. [1] …The catch is that buying a modem isn’t always the best decision. Depending on your situation, installing and maintaining your own modem might be more expensive and time-consuming than it’s worth. In this… Continue reading →

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How to Choose Between Internet Service Providers

Consumer satisfaction with the broadband industry hit a seven-year low last year [1], leaving Internet users more confused than ever about how to choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Where do you even start? What are you comparing when you compare ISPs, and how do you decide which one is right for your needs? While 25 percent of US households still only have access to one provider [2], the rest of us have a laundry list of factors and features to consider before signing on the dotted line. Choice is a good thing, but you have to understand what you’re buying in order to get the best deal. Our goal in this post is to walk you through everything you… Continue reading →

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13 Creative Ways to save Money on Your Internet Bill

My neighbor and I have the same broadband plan. Same speeds, same caps, same disgruntled customer service reps. The only difference is that he pays $86 per month for it — while I only pay $47. Why am I paying half the price for the same service? In my case, it was just a question of negotiating with my provider — but there are plenty of other ways to cut your broadband bill. Depending on your situation, some of the strategies below could save you even more. Let’s start with the no-brainers then move on to more “creative” ideas. I guarantee some of them will be new to you. PS: if you find this list useful, send it to a… Continue reading →

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The best internet service & setup for serious gamers

You’re broadcasting a League of Legends marathon on Twitch and everything is going great: chat flowing in the sidebar; crystal-clear graphics on the stream. But then your Internet starts acting wonky. Everything feels delayed, like a long-distance phone call. Before you know it, you’re looking at this: Some Internet connections are better than others when it comes to gaming, and figuring out which you need and how to set it up isn’t exactly straightforward. In this post we’ll walk you through the factors to consider while choosing an Internet plan for serious gaming, and some tips for optimizing your network to get the most bang for your buck. Understand your Internet needs Gaming is a highly variable beast compared with… Continue reading →