Your monthly internet cost may be going up in July. Either that or your internet bandwidth speeds may slow down when you hit a certain limit.
When the pandemic began, the FCC launched "Keep Americans Connected" encouraging internet providers across the country to help people who were suddenly working from home alongside their kids who were finishing up the school year at home.
That program ends June 30, which means those providers are free to raise prices or throttle download speeds.
The FCC reports more than 800 providers made a pledge to help families and customers. Some provided free internet to teachers, students and low-income households. Others lifted data cap limits and postponed any disconnection of service.
With the COVID-19 infection numbers surging once again, many of those households will see their internet speeds throttled or additional charges on their bill.
Internet speeds and your WiFi connections are affected by the number of devices connected to the internet. If your kids are watching YouTube, and your spouse is connected with their office online, your Zoom meetings may not stream correctly.
If you go over the data caps for the month, you may notice more buffering while watching Netflix at night. Some providers will also charge you more if you go over what you're paying for.
To check your internet speed, go to the website speedtest.net.
If you're not getting the speed you're paying for, you should contact your provider.
Pro Tip: If your family is spending more time at home, you're not using the data you pay for through your cellphone provider. One thing you can do is turn off WiFi on all of your mobile devices.
If the kids are watching Netflix and someone else is spending time on Facebook that doesn't require lightning fast speed, you'll conserve the data from your internet provider. Take a close look at your wireless bill over the past few months. Chances are you're paying for 40gb of data or more. You may even be paying for an unlimited data package. All that data is not being used. Use it at home on those devices.
And check your next internet bill to make sure you're not being charged more than your original agreement. Thus far, there's been no word if the major providers intend on extending their commitment to keep America connected.