Tweaks to save money on the household internet bill

by Emelia M

More South African households are embracing new media technologies mainly because they offer seamless connection to the global village, ease-of-access to information and convenient entertainment. 

The dot-com age is coloured with good and evil; but no one can deny that more often than not, it simplifies human interaction and enhance productivity. Presently, the internet is a supreme hub of economic opportunities. 

There are more than 500 million internet users worldwide and it is estimated that the South African internet population will round up to 14 million before the end of 2013. A respectable number of South Africans consume most media products like news and advertisements online.  

Currently Facebook boasts 88% of South Africa’s social media population, followed by Twitter with 50% and LinkedIn with 39%, said a report by Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA).

Another study by DMMA revealed that 95% of South Africa’s online population use the internet for email purposes, 84% for internet surfing and 78 % for social networking. 
For adults the internet is a must-have resource for global and local current affairs updates, economic transactions and personal entertainment activities. 

For children and students, the internet is a convenient way to research school projects and get the latest computer apps, games, movies, music and celebrity scoops.

Unfortunately, the internet in the country costs an arm and a leg. As compared to other (developed and developing) countries, South Africans pay twice more to surf the net. The out of bundle rate for 1G prepaid or once-off data costs R2 for Vodacom, R0.29 for MTN and R0.15 for Cell C. Across all  these three leading service providers a 1G contract cost between R99-149.

Families that use multiple devices like phones, laptops and home computers stand to pay more on monthly internet bills. Hence they need to be savvy internet users and learn how to save. 

Data contracts are suitable for those who use the internet excessively and primarily for job related tasks. But, if the whole family constantly needs access to the internet, a 1G or 2G, prepaid or contract data may not suffice.  

Alternatively, you can buy several prepaid or contract data for each user.  But this will require massive budget adjustment and may put financial strain on the bread winner.  
The best way to reduce internet charges is to turn your entire townhouse into a wireless broadband connection hotspot.

Most service providers allow one WIFI contract to connect to at least five devices.  The whole house will use one data subscription and will be able to connect to the internet from anywhere in the house simultaneously so long as the device is WIFI enabled. 

The family will enjoy rich browsing experience and save on monthly data bills. Depending on your service provider, the WIFI routers can connect to networks at a distance of close to ten metre or even more. 

Encourage your children to chat in the house but watch and download videos at WIFI hotspots around town.  You can check online for the nearest free WIFI spots.  Wireless connection can allow you and your family seamless connection to the cyber world at minimal costs.

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