Should You Go With Your Apartment’s Telecom Package or Buy Your Own?

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When you move into an apartment complex, you get handed a big stack of papers. In that stack is almost always information on signing up with the local telecommunications and utilities companies. Some even include special deals–group rates that your complex negotiated with the company in question.

In most apartment complexes, you have the option of choosing the package put together by apartment management or going out looking for a deal on your own. If your complex manager tries to tell you that you can only use a certain provider, and you’re interested in another company’s services, there is hope.

The FCC banned exclusive agreements between telecommunications providers and apartment buildings. That means that you have freedom to choose your telecommunications provider.

Going with your apartment complexes choice can be a good idea, though, especially if you live in an area with fairly limited options. Nick from Tulsa, OK was able to get cable installed without paying installation fees by going through the apartment’s company. His first choice was Cox Cable, the main cable company in Tulsa. “Cox has a deal with no installation fees for apartment residents. I would have gotten Cox either way, but the deal saved me money.”

Some apartment complexes offer certain services as part of your rent, like Internet access. Shannon from Austin, TX says, “In Texas, you can use any carrier that services the area. The only exception is if the place comes with Internet as part of the rent. But, it’s usually so terribly slow that you’d be better off getting your own.” If you’re considering renting an apartment with provided services, checking out just what kind of service you can expect is key.

Raquel from Tulsa, OK notes that her apartment complex works with only one electric provider. She doesn’t mind their service or prices, generally. However, Raquel would switch utility companies if she had another option. Price isn’t the issue, she says. “I would be willing to pay a little more for wind power or other sustainable energy.”

Many apartment complexes consider their utility and telecommunications packages part of the perks of apartment living: most service providers are willing to offer a slightly lower price to apartment residents on the basis of the higher numbers of service users in a particular area. But many apartment residents are concerned about issues beyond price–the quality of service and lifestyle choices also factor in.

4 Responses to “Should You Go With Your Apartment’s Telecom Package or Buy Your Own?”

  1. June 15, 2008 at 9:59 pm, Guest said:

    When I moved into my current apartment, i signed up with Clearwire, and it’s been the best choice I’ve ever made on utilities as a renter. I’m about to move again, and instead of cancelling my service here and opening new service in my new apartment, I literally stick the modem in the car, drive to the new place, and plug the thing in. Insta-internet. No waiting time, no installation, no waiting on the cableman to show up in a six-hour window.

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  2. June 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm, Guest said:

    As a renter and someone who has shopped around and switched providers numerous times, I’d say it’s best to scope out your options before deciding. The reason for this is that some apartment complexes don’t want new lines being drilled, wired, or attached to their buildings. Check with your landlord on what their policy is on going with a provider who has to setup a cable box, run wire, etc.

    Another thing – I’ve tried several providers, and they all seem to pull the “bait and switch”. This is where you’re offered a low introductory monthly rate, then after X months they jack it up to “normal” rates. Just make sure you read the fine print.

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  3. June 28, 2008 at 12:59 am, Guest said:

    You must double check almost every thing when renting before you sign that lease. Our “luxury”rental would not allow any other service to be used except the one they had already made a deal with. We were not aware of that info till after we signed. Their chosen company was terrible with service as well as the apartments themselves.
    Playa Vista not the best place to rent.

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  4. July 07, 2008 at 5:46 pm, Guest said:

    Do you homework about where you’re moving into. Make sure they don’t have exclusive contracts with timewarner or verizon or whatever your primary provider is. The new ‘thing’ for some property management companies is to let ATT/timewarner/Verizon do the wiring then they have an exclusive contract for providing you services even if you don’t like what they have to offer. At the very least make sure you face the southern sky (for satellite). If they do have exclusive contracts they might raise your price 10-15/month on phone/cable services (you pay the kick back they’re giving to your apartment complex). One apartment i lived at was charging almost 80dollars a month for rebranded directv (and they gave me the OLDEST receivers with horrible features). I’ve read that congress is about to put a stop to the exclusive contracts that some management companies are using for cable and phone services. Thank god the FCC stopped them from banning satellite dishes. Each time I’ve utilized ‘apartment’ services they’ve been sub par, prices aren’t competitive and lack features compared to an apartment that allows any service.

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