Cut your telecom bill

Also, 69,000 readers reveal the best TV, Internet, and phone providers

Consumer Reports magazine: June 2012

Find Ratings

Many of us love to hate our home telecom provider. In our latest survey, our readers once again ranked telecom services as less satisfying than most other services we rate. Yet there were a few companies that managed to please subscribers for TV, Internet, and home phone. Trouble is, it’s unlikely they serve your area.

Case in point: One of the best providers in our Ratings, a regional cable company you may not have heard of, was among the top-rated providers for TV, Net, and phone and for bundles of all three services. Another of the top services, one that you have heard of, is available only in limited areas of the U.S.

Though you might not be able to get one of the highly rated cable companies or local alternatives, you can still level the playing field with providers and deal from a position of power. Our report outlines five strategies you can use to help you get the best service and biggest savings in telecom:

  • Bargaining for your bundle bill.
  • Pushing back when rates go up.
  • Making sure you buy just the amount of Internet that you need.
  • Trying out Internet-based phone service to save money.
  • Downsizing your TV service.

For maximum flexibility, try to avoid signing a contract with early-termination penalties, which will limit your ability to negotiate rates or switch providers. Some providers require a contract, so you’re stuck. But others give you the option of a contract-free plan, usually at a slightly higher rate. It’s worth paying a little more to maintain your bargaining power.

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