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7 ways to lower your Internet bill

7 ways to lower your Internet bill Stephen Layton, NerdWallet 4:02 p.m. ET March 12, 2017 (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto) 9 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDIN 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE Even if you’re happy with your current Internet service, you might be paying too much for it. Here are ways to check if you’re getting good value for your money and tips for lowering your monthly Internet bill. 1. Test your speed This will help you make sure you’re getting what you were promised. Head to Speedtest.net to determine your service’s speed, which is most often measured in megabits per second (Mbps). You usually are guaranteed only “up to” the speed advertised on your plan. Test your service at different times of day. Internet infrastructure is shared among households, so you may receive more or less bandwidth than promised, depending on who else is using the network at the time, among other factors. If you’re consistently getting slower speeds, call your Internet service provider. If the issue can’t be resolved, it may be time to look for a different provider that can provide better value. The information about speed also can be helpful if you want to negotiate your bill (see No. 3). 2. Know and reduce your usage The chart below shows common Internet activities and the bandwidth they require. Keep in mind that your total bandwidth is shared by all the devices on your connection. If multiple people are online simultaneously, you’ll need enough bandwidth for everyone. What internet speed do you need? If you want … You’ll need about… General web surfing, email, social media 1 Mbps Online gaming* 1-3 Mbps Video conferencing** 1-4 Mbps Standard-definition video streaming... read more

If you have a cable TV set-top-box, you need to read this

I was excited to hear about Comcast’s new app that will let you watch TV without a set-top box through a Roku. But then I heard they’re still planning to charge customers a monthly fee. What gives? Thanks, Dear POed, Here’s what’s happening. The Roku app will let you watch all the Comcast channels available through your set-top box on a TV that’s not connected to a big, ugly cable box. Not only are those set-top boxes unsightly and bulky but they’re also expensive. Comcast charges a $9.95 rental fee for each additional box in your home. (The first box is included with the price of your monthly service.) The Federal Communications Commission estimates this costs customers on average more than $230 a year.  Comcast The idea of being able to connect multiple TVs, like the TV you might have in your bedroom or the one in your basement, to your cable TV service without paying an additional $10 a month per box sounds like a sweet deal, right? But not so fast. A Comcast spokesperson confirmed that the company will be charging customers an “access fee” of $7.45 for each TV using the Roku app. That’s the same price Comcast charges customers who use a TiVo or other CableCard device instead of renting a set-top box from Comcast. FCC rules require Comcast and other cable operators to give subscribers a discount if they use a Cablecard device instead of renting a set-top box, which is why the price is discounted for Comcast customers. What makes this fee striking is that it’s not designed to pay for any particular... read more

The Great Unwinding of Public Education: Detroit and DeVos

The Great Unwinding of Public Education: Detroit and DeVos   Friday, December 23, 2016 By Joseph Natoli, Truthout |   Weeds and grass overtake the run-down Campbell Elementary School, one of the many closed schools in Detroit, July 19, 2013. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, argued that the Detroit’s public schools should simply be shut down and the system turned over to charters. (Photo: Nathan Weber / The New York Times) Privatization of all things public has slammed Detroit as gentrifying investors seek to put price tags on what was previously public domain. In predatory fashion, privatizers are targeting the city’s struggling students as a new frontier for profit. How weak and vulnerable is public education in Detroit? The Nation’s Report Card, published by an independent federal commission, named Detroit Public Schools the country’s “lowest-performing urban school district” in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. In 2011, a Republican state legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder repealed a statewide cap on the number of Detroit charter schools. The floodgates were opened and privatizing predators rolled in. Bankruptcy following the collapse of the jobs that fueled the “Motor City” has exposed Detroit to the dynamics described by Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine. A crisis, either arranged or accidental, precipitates a rush to recuperation. Lobbyists of wealthy investors petition a government that wealthy investors have put in place. A much-quoted “checks and balances” security shield for democratic governance is thus so easily disarmed. The more startling, dire and urgent the crisis, the greater the rush to a “saving” privatization. Low reading and math scores, shared by both charter and... read more
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