According to a Consumer Reports survey, one in three readers chose to bundle their basic home TV, phone, and Internet services from one provider. Of those who chose to bundle, 27 percent said they would certainly bundle again with the same company and 55 percent said they were likely to do so.

Why should I bundle Internet and Cable services?

Internet and cable companies are fighting to get you as a loyal customer. In order to win your business, many companies offer bundled services at a reduced rate. Couple the cost savings with the simplicity of one monthly bill and it’s easy to see why so many are choosing to bundle with cable TV and Internet packages.

  • Savings: The biggest plus for choosing to bundle is the cost savings. When you bundle two or more services together from the same company, you can save a significant amount of money. A May 2013 Consumer Report estimates that customers can save 40 to 60 percent simply by bundling. When you choose to get your services from one company, your cable and Internet are coming from one wire, making it cheaper for the company to offer the service. The amount you save depends on where you live and how many competitors are in the area.
  • Convenience: With a bundled service, you’ll only have one easy-to-manage bill each month. Plus, when it comes time for services calls, you can make one phone call instead of several. It’s all about creating a relationship with a single company.
  • Features: Companies are vying for your business and willing to roll out the best incentives and features to get you as a customer. Most bundles get you extras like faster download speeds, premium programming, HD service, or even On Demand.

What comes with Cable and Internet packages?

Major Cable TV providers will offer flexible packages that meet your needs. You can choose from standard cable TV packages and a basic Internet service or you may wish to add premium TV channels and faster download speeds, all based on what you need.

When looking at your TV options, think about your current viewing habits. Are you getting channels you never use? Are there channels you would like, but aren’t included in your current subscription? With a bundle, you may be able to choose from multiple tier options, giving you more choices. For example, you can choose if you want to add premium networks, such as HBO, to your cable TV.

For high speed Internet, pricing is usually determined by download speed.

  • Light Users: You typically have one or two people in your household using the Internet to surf online, check email, or play simple games. Speeds up to 3 Mbps will likely work for you.
  • Medium Users: If you typically have three or more users online at the same time, you’ll want more speed. Anywhere from 6 to 12 Mpbs should be best.
  • Heavy Users: If you use a lot of data and have multiple people on multiple devices online at the same time, you’ll probably need at least 15 Mbps of service.

How should I shop for a bundle?

Shopping for a cable TV and Internet package may seem straightforward, but when you start comparing multiservice packages, you’ll realize no two packages are alike. Two bundles that both include TV and Internet might offer different channels, download speeds, or price.

You’ll want to get the specifics before you commit to a bundling option. When you call a representative, be sure to ask about:

  • Installation fees. Is there an additional fee for installation and activation? Some companies charge as much as $100 for a setup fee.
  • Promotional prices. Is the price you’ve been quoted a promotional price? If so, how long will the introductory period last? After a set number of months, usually 3 to 6 months, promotional rates end and higher prices could appear.
  • Contracts. Are you locked into a contract for a specific amount of time? If so, how long? Is there a penalty if you terminate early?

As with any contract or service, be sure to get your offer in writing.

If you feel like you’ve been overpaying for either of these services, it’s time to consider bundling. As you research TV, phone, and Internet services in your area, it’s worth the effort to look into packages that will save you both time and money.

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Photo: James Cridland
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