The Family Experiment – part 4

(photo credit:

It started back on April 2nd – our family’s experiment to see if we could do without internet service at home.

So how are we doing? The first month was the hardest. We didn’t realize how many times a day we popped online, just to check out something trivial. All those little visits added up, resulting in us going through our phone data faster than we thought we would. To be sure, we could still get online after we had used the data allowance, but it slowed almost to the speed of dial-up. Not good.

Continue reading “The Family Experiment – part 4”

Home Internet: Can We Do Without It?

library DVDs

When someone from our internet service provider called to remind us that our monthly rate would soon be going up, and asking if we wanted to sign up for a 24-month contract in exchange for a slightly lower price, I said no. That call prompted several family discussions about how much internet we actually needed, and if perhaps we could cancel it entirely.

For years I have negotiated better prices on our home internet, often with astonishing discounts of up to half the listed price. But I think they now have a note on our account, saying something like: “No more good discounts for this address!”

If we do nothing, our internet will jump to $80 a month, or $960 a year. But there’s no way we’re going to be tied up with a 24-month contract. There’s really only two choices for internet in our area (only one has a decent speed), and both companies are pretty snaky to deal with. You always want to get something in print about your price, and then you have to watch for tacked-on extra charges. I’ve had to go in several times over the past few years, armed with my printout of the price we were promised, and straighten out the bill. Truthfully, I’m tired of the whole stinking company that knows they’re really the only one people can subscribe to if they want decently speedy internet.

That brings our family to the thought that perhaps we could ditch this company entirely. There is free wifi everywhere now – the hardware store down the street, the public library, the mall, the coffee house, doctor’s office, even at our church. Our prepaid phones give us a bit of internet/data, enough to do e-mail and a bit of web browsing, but not enough to do any Netflix. Maybe the free DVDs at the library could take the place of watching Netflix and Hulu.

So I stopped in our local library, and within ten minutes was able to check out a variety of DVDs:
Flip-Flop (remodeling and selling houses)
Room 222 (high school back in the 1970s)
Amish Mafia
Time Warp (Discovery science)
Astronaut Wives Club (1960s wives of the early US astronauts)
Perry Mason (old-school courtroom drama)

We haven’t decided yet whether to pull the plug on our internet provider or not, but we might just get bold and try it.