Well, let's start with the fact that Grace has been using a combination of dial-up from AOL and theft from an unwary neighbor to get online for the past 16 years. Said unwary neighbor recently wised up and secured their system. Dial-up alone suddenly became a slow and unnattractive option.
SO--I began exploring various options for internet. Verizon Fios has not yet reached my neighborhood, so that was out. Pretty much, Qwest, Clear and Comcast were my best sources of internet service. Clear has such negative word of mouth that I rejected it even though its monthly $35 charge is among the lowest available. Both Qwest (who handles my landline service) and Comcast (through which I currently have cable TV service) have regular specials, so it was a matter of sorting through all the plans, specials, new deals, etc. to see what would work best (and longest) for my household.
I settled on a Comcast introductory package that offered a bundle of cable, telephone and internet for $99 a month on a two year contract.
There was a 'cheaper' package whereby I could get the same package for $89 a month, but it lasted only a year and did not include free installation (which runs anywhere from $89 to $149.00).
Naturally, the $99 a month did not turn out to be $99. (If you think any of these special deals actually cost what is advertised, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale that you might like!) There's an additional $5 'rental' fee, which brings the total up to $104.99 a month. There is also a one-time $10 shipping charge for the 'free' router (which I have to give back if I cancel the internet service).
But that was it. And there are a lot of nice perks. For example, while I had Qwest for my landline, I didn't have long distance--for that I used a calling card or my Tracfone. Now I have long distance, caller ID, and call waiting. I was able to port my telephone number. It would have been a deal-killer if I hadn't been able to do that--I've had the same number for the past twenty years and do not want to give it up. The only disadvantage is that if the electrical power goes out, I won't be able to reach 911 on the landline. But I figure my cell will work for emergency calls should that happen.
I also get HD for the first year. I plan NOT to renew it after that, though my cynical daughter has a bet that I will! If I do, it would add $9.99 a month to the bill. In addition, I get HBO, Showtime and Starz movie channels free for three months. I'm enjoying them, but there's no way I'll continue with them when the free trial runs out.
So, here's the math:
I currently spend $67.25 for cable TV; $14.49 for AOL; and $27.35 for Qwest which (provided I am doing the arithmetic correctly, which it might be a mistake to assume) totals $109.55 for my current expenses.
Under my new package, I will pay $104.99 for the package plus an additional $4.99 to AOL to maintain my security software, e-mail address and some other perks I may ultimately decide to forego. So, my total going forward will be $109.98.
Hence the internet (not to mention free long distance service) for $ .43.
Such a deal!