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Are there circumstances when elements of an internet plan (e.g. price, contract length, fees, speed) can be negotiated? If so, how do you open the discussion for negotiation with a sales rep?

In my specific situation, I live in a rural area where there is no alternative to satellite internet (HughesNet in fact). The only other options seem to be refuse internet service or pay about the equivalent monthly price for a 4G LTE mobile data plan.

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    There's still dial-up, no? The way to negotiate is to be willing to walk away: inc.com/matthew-swyers/secrets-of-a-master-negotiator.html – user662852 Jul 12 '16 at 10:31
  • @user662852 good point. Interesting that no matter which telecom/service provider I talk to, even the competitors to satellite (e.g. Verizon, CenturyLink, AT&T...) they all say that there are no other options but satellite for internet. They do say however that we can get AT&T voice yet still neglect to mention dial-up. – taxpayer Jul 12 '16 at 12:38
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this doesn't appear to be about personal finance. – user32479 Jul 12 '16 at 12:57
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    @Brick In what way is a question about negotiation of personal, seemingly unavoidable bills not about personal finance? – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jul 12 '16 at 13:00
  • No alternative MAY be right - or there may be a small wireless provider. Given that a WLAN link with proper equipment can span 50km or more... I am now on a 30/30 wlan link covering half a dozen km to a provider, i.e. - check whether you have that available. – TomTom Nov 12 '18 at 10:00
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It is possible to negotiate anything. However, if the internet service options in your area are limited, the likelihood of your successfully reducing the price is not great.

In areas where there is more competition, internet service providers often offer limited-time promotional reductions in price. When these promotions expire, you can often convince the provider to continue the promotion by threatening to switch to a competitor.

  • I wish this were the case in my area. My ISP is like the monopoly in the area, I'm more likely to bluff and win in a poker tournament then with my ISP. – NuWin Jul 12 '16 at 7:02
  • @NuWin if we look hard enough there may be other options: as user6652852 said above, there's still dial-up even though many have forgotten it. I also live in an area with good 4G LTE coverage, and the data plan pricing is competitive with satellite. – taxpayer Jul 12 '16 at 12:49
  • It can also be that yor ISP is not a monopoly as in "keeping others out" but a natural monopoly - the only one bothering to deal with that neighborhood because various reasons and it being too small to make any real sense to connect. In rural areas this is not as rare as you like it to be. – TomTom Nov 12 '18 at 10:54
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Your negotiating power depends a lot on COST. See, no company that is not run by total idiots will enter a contract for a small monthly fee when it has no way to make a profit. Living in a rural area, the cost of providing you with internet is not negotiable, because basically putting cables into the ground is a cost that MUST be paid, AND it is not negotiable how far your house is away from the place one must connect to. Reality just does not negotiate. So, it depends how irrelevant you are. I.e. I am now ordering Internet (did so 2 weeks ago) and there was wiggle room, because it is a optical fiber 1/1 link (1 gigabit down and up) with high SLA for a monthyl cost higher than most car leasings and a multi year non breakable contract. OTOH the cost includes installing fiber underground for ahlfa km and all the permissions necessary - a LOT of planning work. But unless you pay that - no, sorry.

Your best alternative is to challenge the "no alternative" statement in a now cost fashion. Many areas have alternative internet providers that work wireless. WLAN can cover 100km on poles with special antennas - but even then you negotiate based on a cost basis and someone paying 50USD a month for high speed internet that costs the provider 30USD to provide... how much negotiation power you think you have? Little hint: it is not a lot. You reach the point very fast where there simply is no sense in negotiating for the company because they are under water financially if they sign. Heck, they may take years to even get back the time it takes the sales rep to run through yet another round of negotiations.

This is the cost of living in a rural area where housing is cheap - certain utilities are more expensive.

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