Lifetime price points for broadband not what they seem

$29.99 a month forever sounds great until the $19.99 a month plans debut.

Matt Hickey
With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.
Matt Hickey

I just got my digital TV converter box. I'm planning on dumping Comcast, and this is the first step. The next is either DSL or Clearwire or something--anything--but the "traffic shaping" cable giant's offers. In shopping around, I've noticed that many broadband sellers (Comcast included) are offering a special price and, if you sign up for a two-year contract, the ability to lock that price in for life.

Sounds good, right? $29.99 for broadband, from now till you switch carriers, even if their prices go up. The thing is, it's not a great deal.

Broadband prices are dropping, and they're not likely to go higher. While you may save a few dollars per month in the short run, you're locked in to that price for at least two years, even if the carriers' prices drop.

Most providers have a "no commitment" option, which is what you should choose. This means that if they drop their price in the future, you can get the lower price. Or, more to the point, if a competitor comes out with a really great deal you can jump ship without early termination fees.

Be a smart shopper and don't let them trap you into a long-term contract. Now if only we could get the cell phone carriers on board, we'd be in good shape.