If you feel like you’re paying an arm and a leg for internet every month, you’re not imagining things. Americans really do pay more for internet service over a lifetime than almost any other country on earth.
Our internet isn’t exactly the fastest or most stable compared to other countries, so why the high costs? It isn’t government-subsidized for starters, and service providers take a decent sized cut of the profit. Tap or click here to see how to reduce your data usage.
To understand just how much Americans pay, check out this eye-opening list of what the top 20 countries with the highest amount of internet users pay for a lifetime of service. We’re only number two, but others on the list pay much less than we do.
Americans pay how much for internet?
U.S. residents can expect to pay $32,400 for the internet over the course of a lifetime. This number, which was calculated by researchers at reviews.org, ranks second in terms of lifetime internet costs compared to 18 other countries with the highest daily users.
The people of Nigeria are the only ones who pay more for a lifetime of internet service — a whopping $50,680 in U.S. dollars. This is mostly due to lack of infrastructure and access, but systems like Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet should soon be reducing these costs by a big margin.
Right behind the U.S. is Japan, where users pay around $26,134 for a lifetime of service. This is close to $6,000 less despite having speeds on par with the U.S. and Europe.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Russia, where users pay less than $5,000 over a lifetime for internet service! This may sound like a steal, but the country doesn’t have access to all of the same websites as the rest of the world.
Here are the complete rankings of the top 20 countries in terms of what users pay. Try not to get too jealous of some of these numbers compared to ours. The tradeoff for countries like Russia, China and Iran is heavy censorship and monitoring.
- United States
- United Kingdom
I’m tired of paying so much for internet! What can I do to cut my bills?
Your monthly bills might be high, but you cut them down if you know how much internet you actually need, get the services you actually want and talk to the right people. Here’s how.
1. Figure out how much internet you need
Signing up for the highest-priced internet plan isn’t necessary for good speeds and data caps. If you find out what you actually use, you can pick a smarter plan that works for you.
Browsing the web and sharing photos barely scratches your data cap. Video and streaming services use the most data — especially if they broadcast in 4K.
How do you find out how much you actually use? Tap or click here to use AT&T’s data calculator.
This tool includes estimates of data you consume based on time and quantity. Once you estimate how much you use every month, call your ISP to find the best plan. You may be able to slash your bill by dropping down a pricing tier.
Be careful: If you sign up for too cheap of a plan, you may go over your cap and end up with speed throttling or surcharges. Tap or click here to see how a VPN can show you if your ISP is throttling you.
2. Pick out a a bundle
ISPs usually offer plans that include live TV, so you can get a good discount by subscribing to a bundle that includes discounted internet and a cable subscription.
Prices will vary depending on promotions your ISP offers, and bundles tend to change from year to year. Call yours and ask how much you can save by bundling TV or landline phone service with your internet plan.
RELATED: Thinking of ditching your cable bill? Tap or click for what you need to know before you cut the cord.
3. Know who to talk to
ISPs want to keep their customers, and they’ll jump through hoops to keep you around if you threaten to leave. Before your current rate expires, call your ISP and say you’re considering going to another provider with a cheaper plan.
At this point, you can ask to be transferred to your ISP’s retention department. This is where the company’s representatives will try to negotiate your plan to prevent you from leaving.
Your ISP would rather have you pay slightly less each month than lose a customer. So make sure they know you’re serious and have the prices of competitor plans on hand.
Don’t agree on anything unless they offer to lower your bill without downgrading your service. Sometimes, the retention agent will give you what seems like a good deal, but the plan lowers your speeds and data cap.
As long as there’s profit to be made, internet service prices will continue to go up. With 5G finally starting to hit the mainstream, maybe ISPs will see the light and start to charge a little bit less. Tap or click here to see how fast 5G is.