When should you bundle home internet with other services? – CNET

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The ongoing pandemic illustrates how essential home internet service is for many homes. With more employers offering work-from-home options, and some schools opting to hold classes remotely, having reliable internet is the key to staying connected. 

When searching for affordable home internet service, some providers also give you the option of bundling other services with it, like cable TV or home phone. Some even offer smart home services and options for monitored home security.

This guide will help you examine the benefits and disadvantages of bundling specific services, so you can decide if bundling services is a smart fit for you.

Bundling home internet with cable TV 

One of the most common bundles is home internet service with cable TV. With these packages, you will receive internet service (specified in download speeds), cable TV and all the equipment for each service. 

An attractive component to bundling is you can save more money than you would if you purchased each service separately. Moreover, some companies offer promotional deals, where you can save even more for the first year or two for service, and receive free premium channels like HBO. 

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Comcast offers Xfinity home internet service bundled with a cable TV subscription, among other packages.


Comcast

While these prices might seem enticing, keep in mind that some providers want you to sign a service contract to receive promotional pricing. Not only do you incur an early termination fee if you cancel service early, but you might also end up paying significantly more when the promotion ends. While you can save some money doing this bundle, you need to read the fine print first to ensure you understand terms and restrictions like those.

Internet with phone service

If you need home phone service, some of the best internet service providers (ISPs) will bundle it in with your connection to the web. Depending on the provider, you could receive unlimited minutes and access to international calling, forwarding call capabilities, and voicemail, plus you could save more money than you would if you did home phone service on its own. 

Before signing up for a bundle like that, you should consider your home phone needs. If you plan to make international calls regularly, for instance, some companies that specialize in home phone service might be a better and more affordable option. With this in mind, you’ll want to compare offerings from ISPs in your area with home phone services to see which one offers you the best fit for your needs.

Home internet and cell phone plans

Some providers also offer bundling deals with your cell phone. You could receive a great fixed rate for service, and you might be able to receive a newer smartphone for much less than it retails. 

However, there are other things to consider. Along with promotional pricing and contracts, there are benefits you might miss by bundling. Some cell phone companies like Boost Mobile offer loyalty discounts, where, after paying for service on time for a defined period, you receive a significant discount. 

Internet with smart home

With the rising popularity of smart home devices, you can now control your lights, door locks, and your home’s temperature with the press of a button or a quick voice command. To simplify things, some providers now offer dedicated smart home services along with home internet.

One of the main benefits here is convenience. Having one provider for both systems makes setup a cinch. You could also save money on equipment, as some companies provide smart home devices as a way to incentivize you to try their services.  And if you need any assistance, your provider can help. 

That said, tech support could be one of the disadvantages, as well. Depending on your provider’s responsiveness, help might be hard to come by, and that could obviously be a problem if you’re having urgent trouble with your door locks.

When comparing internet providers who also offer smart home services, use tools like the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which employs a mix of metrics to score companies with the best customer service, including internet providers. You should also see if they offer cellular or battery backup services if the power ever goes out. 

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A separate, dedicated home security provider like Vivint will offer the best control over your setup, but going with an internet bundle that includes home security monitoring might save you some cash.

Home security with internet

Home security equipment has also become more prevalent in people’s homes thanks to doorbell cameras, motion sensors, and 24/7 monitoring services. You can view who knocks on your door, receive notifications when someone comes home, and more right from your smartphone.

Some ISPs have expanded their services in recent years to offer home security bundled with home internet services. In a lot of cases, you can score a great deal by combining the two, and it’s convenient to control all of your services with one provider.

Conversely, there are some disadvantages to consider. Some ISPs like Xfinity offer you monitoring service, but you have to buy the equipment separately. That can be expensive depending on how many sensors, cameras, and other equipment you need. 

Also, keep in mind that ISPs might not offer the same range of services home security companies do. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to consider your needs first. Then, compare ISPs and home security companies, so you can find the plan and equipment that works best for you.

Bundling comes with its advantages and downsides

Bundling can save you money, and it’s convenient to have all of your services housed by one provider. That said, you might limit your choices when you bundle. Other providers that specialize in a specific service like home security might give you more flexible options at a better price. 

You also limit your ability to scale as needed. For instance, if providers lock you into a contract for internet bundled with TV, you would have to pay a fee to get out of it if you haven’t fulfilled your contractual obligations. 

Meanwhile, if you had home internet with a separate streaming service like Hulu or YouTube TV, you could cancel or downsize it without fear of incurring added charges. In addition, with streaming TV platforms, you don’t need to pay for expensive add-ons like DVR box rentals, HD access, local taxes, and programming fees the cable provider will often charge. 

With this in mind, bundling comes down to your preferences. In some cases, the ease of simplicity and initial cost-savings will be best, but in other instances, you might receive a better deal keeping services apart. 

In the meantime, here are some other ways you can optimize your home internet experience:

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