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Black Friday’s not just for gadgets. Find deals on your internet service too!


Image by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

We get it. You’re on the lookout for great discounts on the newest smartphones, biggest TVs, most clever toys or the glitzy new doodad you saw on YouTube the other day. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But don’t sleep on the deals coming from the internet service providers in your area. Those ISPs probably aren’t on your radar, but with the holiday shopping season already here (haven’t you heard about the late-year supply chain woes?), it’s a sneaky-good time to score a deal on internet service.

When we chatted with Earthlink’s CEO Glenn Goad for our deep dive on how to negotiate with your ISP, he passed along several insights. Most important? Be prepared. 

“It’s a great time for promotions, offers and incentives,” Goad told us, pointing out how the arrival of new competitors like Starlink and the emergence of new technologies like 5G have forced ISPs to go big to win customers or even keep hold of existing ones. 

“But,” Goad added, it’s “also a time where you may not get the hand-holding or the time you want to research.” 

That’s where we can help. ISP deals might not be on your radar, but they’re definitely on ours. Whether you currently have a data cap you want to shed or perhaps are looking for a plan with a little more download speed, we may be able to point you to a deal that makes sense for you.

One little disclaimer. We say it all the time with our ISP reviews, but it bears repeating: There may be a provider out there with a seemingly perfect plan for your household but said ISP is not available at your address. It can be frustrating. But with the expansion of satellite internet service and 5G home internet options, your choices may slowly but surely begin to expand.

It’s still early — and many ISPs are still holding their cards close to the vest — but here’s our CNET list of Black Friday broadband deals thus far. Keep this page bookmarked as we’ll continue to update it as more deals, offers and promotions get announced. And if any providers are sitting out Black Friday, we’ll let you know that, too.

Top Black Friday broadband deals

Altice USA: Optimum and Suddenlink

Altice

New customers to either Optimum or Suddenlink will have the option to purchase a 300Mbps plan for $30 a month and receive a $300 Visa Prepaid Card, three months of HBO Max for free and a free Wi-Fi extender.

Also offered will be the 1 Gig Internet plan for $50 a month. New customers will also get a $300 Visa Prepaid card, free HBO Max for a year, a free Wi-Fi extender and a free Optimum Stream device. Both offers are valid through Dec. 5, 2021.

Read our Optimum review.

 

Frontier Communications

Frontier is getting into the game early with an offer that went live on Halloween. It emphasizes its Gig service by offering a $200 reward card for new customers. Also, exclusive to Gig customers, it will include an Eero Pro 6 mesh router for a whole-home Wi-Fi experience for no added charge. 

This deal features a three-year price lock and a one-year contract.

Read our Frontier home internet service review.

 

RCN

RCN

RCN kicks off its Black Friday and Cyber Monday season on Nov. 15, 2021, with several limited-time promotions targeted to its six different metro regions.

In the Boston metro area, consumers who purchase online can get the 250Mbps plan for $26 a month, as well as a $50 Visa gift card and a free TiVo Stream 4K for 12 months. If customers opting for the 500Mbps plan or higher will receive a $100 Visa gift card. These offers end Dec. 10, 2021.

Lehigh Valley consumers who purchase online will be able to get the 300Mbps plan for $37 a month and receive a $100 gift card, one free month of internet, free professional installation and a free TiVo Stream 4K for 12 months. This offer is good through Dec. 10, 2021.

The greater Philadelphia area will see a similar deal for the 300Mbps plan. New customers ordering online will get the 300Mbps plan for $30 a month, as well as a $100 Visa gift card, one free month of internet, free professional installation and a TiVo Stream 4K for free for 12 months. The offer ends on Dec. 10, 2021.

RCN offers its 400Mbps plan for $40 a month and free professional installation for those who order online in the Chicago market. Also, with select plans and speeds, RCN will include HBO Max free for three or 12 months (depending on the plan purchased). These offers are good until Jan. 4, 2022.

Consumers in the Washington, DC area will see an RCN offer of 300Mbps for $30 a month, plus free professional install and one free month of service. If purchased by Dec. 10, 2021, customers will also receive a $100 Visa gift card. The overall offer ends Jan. 4, 2022.

Lastly, new customers in the New York City market will be able to get Gig internet for $35 a month and receive a $200 Visa gift card, two months of free internet and complimentary professional installation. Offer valid through Dec. 10, 2021.

Read our RCN review.

 

Providers not participating in Black Friday

EarthLink

Earthlink

EarthLink is a well-known name that’s been around since 1994. A spokesperson told CNET that the company launched a new mobile offering in addition to its home internet service in October but has opted not to do a special promo for Cyber Monday or Black Friday this year.

Read more in our EarthLink review.

 

WideOpenWest

Wide Open West

A WOW spokesperson shared with CNET that it will not have specific deals planned for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Still, WOW is committed to “offering its customers their most reliable, fastest network at the best price.”

Read our WOW home internet service review.

 

Black Friday internet deal FAQs

Is Black Friday really the best time to get broadband?

It could be. While many sales experts agree that May to October — moving season — is the prime window to find great sales and incentives on internet service, some ISPs are hopping on the Black Friday bandwagon to extend special promos and offers beyond their recurring monthly deals.

What makes for a good internet deal?

That will differ for each household, but one good way to determine value is to look at the cost per megabit per second. For example, you might jump at a 100Mbps plan for $20 per month and skip the 500Mbps plan for $40 per month. That’s $20 a month more!

However, when you look at the cost per Mbps, it’s 20 cents per Mbps for the 100 plan and just 8 cents per Mbps for the 500 plan. Suppose you have several users in your household and multiple smart devices throughout the home. In that case, you’ll notice the performance difference in having the 500Mbps plan versus having to settle for the 100Mbps option.

Lastly, don’t sleep on the value of promotional perks. If a plan offers you free HBO Max, that’s a savings of $15 a month or $180 a year. As more and more of us cut the cord on cable and lean on streaming services, that’s an excellent value.

Are there internet promotions I should avoid on Black Friday?

We would suggest staying away from services that require you to enter into a term agreement. To sign one means you often have to pay a stiff penalty if you decide to end service before the end of the contract. Thankfully, more and more ISPs are giving up the idea of long-term contracts. But if a Black Friday deal requires that you sign a long-term agreement, make sure you have no other options — or already know and like the provider — before signing on the dotted line.



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