Gephardt busts inflation: Is saving hundreds on your internet bill worth the hassle?

Gephardt busts inflation: Is saving hundreds on your internet bill worth the hassle?

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

BOUNTIFUL — When you sign up for internet, you need a modem to connect and router for your home’s Wi-Fi. But most internet service providers charge you to use their equipment, on top of what you pay for their plan. But did you know you can buy your own and potentially save hundreds of dollars? The thing is, it’s not necessarily that simple.

Most of us are charged around $64 a month for home internet. But look at your bill and that is probably not even close to what you actually pay. You have fees, taxes, and for millions of us, you have a fairly large chunk of change going to rental fees. That modem your service provider gave you — you pay them a rental fee on it every month. So, the question is: Could you save money by simply buying your own?

KSL’s Matt Gephardt took it to Starwest Computers in Bountiful, where owner Josh Holley said they field questions about buying versus renting internet gear all the time.

“Owning one is definitely less expensive,” Holley said.

How much less?

The KSL Investigators went online and found a solid, gigabit-speed cable modem/router combo that’s compatible with Xfinity for $170. Xfinity leases a modem/router combo for $14 per month, so a two-year agreement means paying $336. Buying your own at $170 trims your internet bill by $166. Hold onto it for three years, the savings go up to $334. For four years, it is $502. Or even five years of use will save you $670 compared to the rental fee.

Josh Holley of Starwest Computers goes over the pros and cons of buying your own internet gear versus renting it.

But while buying can save in the long run, Holley said sometimes renting just makes more sense, especially if you’re tech averse.

“It can be a real hassle to set up your own router,” he said.

Do not expect much customer support from the internet provider if your third-party modem goes down. And if it is down for the count, the cost to replace it is on you, not the provider. But the real benefit to renting is that modems and routers, like computers, tend to evolve every couple of years.

“So, as they come out with new Wi-Fi’s, you’d have to buy new routers to keep up with that technology and get the true speed that you’re supposedly paying for or closer to,” Holley said.

The longer you hold on to your gear, the more it will pay off. But you may be eager to upgrade before it becomes obsolete.

In the end, it is a personal decision. You are trading money for potential hassle.

If you do decide to buy to save on rental fees, Holley said you should check the internet provider’s website to see what devices are compatible with its network.

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Matt Gephardt

Matt Gephardt has worked in television news for more than 20 years, and as a reporter since 2010. He is now a consumer investigative reporter for KSL TV. You can find Matt on Twitter at @KSLmatt or email him at matt@ksl.com.

Sloan Schrage

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