High Speed Internet Bundles: All Your Options
Internet service has become a core utility for virtually all Americans. It joins phone and TV service to form the core three communications services. Telecommunications companies often offer all three at once and allow you to bundle two or three of them together for a savings. In general, the bundles with two services are known as double plays and the ones with three services are known as triple plays. The savings can be considerable. It is also common for these bundles to be offered in tiers of service, with each telecom offering four or more different levels of service. In this article, we will go over the various bundles and combinations across different forms of telecom technology. For each one, we will explain how it works and how it saves you money.
Internet and TV Bundles
Cable Internet and Cable TV Bundles
Cable Internet and Cable TV are the current typical services that most service providers offer. Cable Internet includes a wide variety of speed options, but generally can deliver enough to satisfy a family’s usage depending on your needs. More speed costs more per month, with service typically coming in tiers. Cable TV also has a variety of options depending on how many channels you want in your package. The company might allow you to combine any level of cable Internet with any package of cable TV, but they will commonly offer special deals on specific combinations with low prices for a certain time period, usually one to two years. You’ll get access to on-demand and recording features as well as other benefits. It varies based on exactly what you choose but under many pricing schemes the Internet service makes up the bulk of the monthly cost. A technician will need to install cables and a modem for the Internet service, plus a set-top box for the TV service.
Fiber Internet and Fiber TV Bundles
Fiber optic wiring is more advanced than cable. It uses light beamed through glass fibers to send information. For you, that means faster and better-quality connections as compared to standard cable service. Fiber networks are not available in all areas because they require special installation. Because of that, fiber can sometimes cost more than cable. Fiber is a higher-quality product with a higher price. Other than that, the pricing system is generally the same as for cable packages, with tiered service plans for both TV and Internet. The installation and service process is the same on your end. Not all telecoms companies offer fiber, and those that do have not rolled out coverage to everywhere in the US. If the option is available to you, then it may provide better value for money because of the improved service, but you should be prepared to pay more out of pocket. Fiber technology benefits Internet service more than TV service. It is most commonly found in major cities and other population centers because it is more expensive to install it in rural areas, with fewer people to serve.
DSL Internet and Satellite TV Bundles
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is a technology that first became popular in the early 2000s. DSL has two main advantages over the previous system, which was dial-up. First, DSL is capable of significantly higher speeds. Second, it is possible to have a DSL Internet connection and talk on the phone at the same time. This is because DSL uses signals at a higher frequency than voice signals. DSL is still the world’s most popular form of Internet connection. It is not as fast as cable, but it is readily available using traditional phone lines and tends to be inexpensive. DSL will not carry TV signals, but telecoms companies often pair DSL Internet with satellite TV. Satellite TV is versatile because as long as you install the equipment, you can use it just about anywhere: it is not dependent on a cable network of any kind. Satellite TV can be expensive but it may be the only option available if you do not have cable access to your home.
Satellite Internet and Satellite TV Bundles
Both Internet and TV service can be done through satellite connections. Using a device installed at your home, you will send and receive signals using a satellite orbiting the Earth. The process tends to be slower than a cable connection and it is generally only used when there are no other options. For example, if you live in a remote area that does not have installed cables or phone lines, then you might only have Internet and TV access via satellite. Satellite is also the usual technology in place for ships when their passengers and crew access the Internet or watch live TV. Satellite has all the same functionality as other forms of Internet, but it is usually slower and costlier. That means most people avoid it unless they can’t find anything else in their area. Some satellite TV and Internet plans charge based on how much data you use instead of a flat fee per month. In either case, though, the value is not as great as for other forms of service.
Internet and Phone Bundles
Cable Internet and Cable Phone Bundles
Instead of bundling Internet with TV service, it’s also possible to substitute TV service with phone service. There are a number of reasons you may want to do this. For example, you might be cutting the cord and using streaming services like Netflix instead of cable. Or you might have TV from a different company but you want to get phone service as well and there is a good deal if you bundle it with your Internet. We’ve already gone over cable Internet service, but cable phone service has some interesting features. Fewer people are using landlines, so phone companies are adding features like the ability to forward calls to your cell phone, anonymous call blocking, call screening, call tracing, three-way calls, and so on. The phone line uses the same digital network as the Internet connection and offer a significant increase in quality over traditional land lines. If you plan to make use of a landline the bundle offers can be quite good and you might not end up paying much at all for the phone portion of your bill.
Fiber Internet and VoIP Phone Bundles
VoIP stands for Voice over IP, and it’s an Internet-based approach to phone service. VoIP is entirely digital and has a lot of special features for that reason. It is especially well-suited to conference calls. That makes it the go-to choice for many businesses that need phone service. It is also easy to scale up. All of these features are great for businesses but don’t offer home consumers that much more than cable voice does. However, it’s often paired with fiber Internet instead of cable voice. The overall effect will be the same. You certainly do not lose anything by taking VoIP instead of cable voice. If you want home phone service and fiber Internet then VoIP is likely to be the default choice in the double play. The overall package may cost more than a cable version but it will also have better speed, more reliability, and better call quality. Modern voice services almost never drop calls or create bad connections anymore, so it mostly comes down to comparing the extra features.
DSL Internet and DSL Phone Bundles
DSL is a valid option for voice service and it is likely to be paired with DSL Internet. The relationship between DSL voice and cable voice is similar to the relationship between DSL Internet and cable Internet. It is less expensive but the quality is not as good. For most of the US cable will be the default option but every major telecom should have DSL service as well. It just might take more digging to find the bundles. The DSL bundles make very good budget options because the monthly bill is usually far lower and it is still possible to surf the Web, check email, play games, stream content, and do anything else you want to do online. The same goes for voice service: If you don’t really need the extra features of cable voice, and many people do not, then DSL voice can be a nice way to save money. As a bundle you will pay a small fraction of cable Internet alone, let alone cable Internet and voice.
Internet, TV, and Home Phone Bundles
Cable Triple Play Bundle
The cable triple play is a core offering in almost any telecom’s portfolio. It has all three major home services bundled together for additional savings. The most common decision you have to make is between this deal and a double play with Internet and TV. It comes down to whether you will use a landline. While fewer and fewer people are choosing home phone service, the marginal increase in cost from adding in the voice element is generally smaller than, say, adding one or two more packages of channels to your TV service. You also get the convenience of one bill and one company to contact for all service concerns. It all hinges on whether or not you want voice service. If you do, then the cable triple play is probably the most accessible option for you and it offers a good combination of value and price. Of course, the price vary based on any options you want. In some cases, advanced calling features may incur an extra charge per month, so make sure you know which are included.
Fiber Triple Play
The fiber triple play is much like the cable version. It tends to be faster and cost more, and there is also the matter of availability. Having all three services at your building is by no means a guarantee. Telecoms only build out fiber where they know they will have customers. That means you might need to make a request to the company or ask them if they have any plans to expand to you in the near future. If you do have fiber access, then the triple play offers a lot of value. The Internet speeds are very high and the TV signal quality is excellent as well. The VoIP service is attractive if you are interested in some of the higher-end features that you can access. Keep in mind, though, that just as with the cable triple play, some of the features may not be included in the basic bill. Take that into account when you are comparing the features of different bundles: some of them throw in phone features or TV channel packages free for a year as part of a promo.
DSL Internet, Home Phone Service, and Satellite TV Bundles
For a more economical triple play, consider the DSL version. DSL Internet and phone service is excellent value for your money. Satellite TV is accessible to nearly anyone. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of this deal is how friendly it is if you have nothing more than a phone line and no cable network or fiber network to your house. You can get all three major services using just your phone line at significantly better speed and quality than dialup. You’ll enjoy modern service from just about anywhere in the world at a reasonable cost. Depending on your location the TV portion is likely to be the most expensive part of this triple play. The DSL Internet and phone service can share the same phone wires without interfering with each other, which is highly convenient and makes the setup minimal. Plus, the ease of access means there should be at least one and likely more than one provider in your area. That means more competition and better prices for you.
Internet, TV, Home Phone, and Wireless Phone Bundles
There is a relatively new trend appearing on the market. It consists of adding on a fourth service to the usual triple play: wireless phone service. Many telecoms companies sell both landline and cell service, such as AT&T and Verizon, in addition to TV and Internet service. They have begun bundling them all together into one large deal. Cell phones are so ubiquitous that this is an appealing deal for any family that wants to use cell phones but also maintain a landline. This is useful to provide a central communications access point for the family as a whole. The typical bundle of this type has cable or fiber service. The unified bill can look expensive at first glance, but that is because it contains all four bills. Cell service for a family in particular can be costly, so it helps to have any kind of discount or savings. To have access to this bundle, you must have a local telecom that offers all four services and is willing to bundle them.
Taking one of these bundles is becoming increasingly common. To incentivize potential customers even more, many telecoms offer promos for extra discounts if you are a new customer. These can help you reach one higher tier of service for the cost of the tier below. If you can, try to shop around and compare your options for the same bundle because sometimes one telecom is offering a better promo than the competition. Bundles are the best way to save on your monthly bill, so decide what kind of services you need and how much you want to invest in each one and then find the bundle that works best for you.