Experience shows that the pricing of ADSL services can be very confusing. Maybe some service providers are determined to make their services appear at first glance (and without appropriate analysis) to be much cheaper than their competition, when the reality is that their ‘hidden charges make them more expensive. You should make sure to check ALL the charges that will be due...



Cost Element


Check the following:

Monthly connection fee

4          This is likely to be the most important element of your overall costs – especially if your line is likely to be in service for a long time

Monthly usage charges for data volume or flatrate

4          Sometimes a flatrate (unlimited usage) is included in the quoted monthly connection charge, sometimes it is extra.

4          Sometimes the volume is charged per GB (gigabyte) or flatrate up to a given number of GB per month and per GB thereafter.

4          Check that you have estimated your likely data volume and have chosen the best volume tariff to minimise your costs.

4          Even though you may not have the volume to justify a flatrate, you may choose this tariff in order that you have a predictable constant monthly invoice

Internet Access (ISP) charges

4          Check whether you need to pay an extra subscription for Internet access (ISP) service – this usually includes an email address etc.

4          Check whether these charges include hosting services (e.g. website, own domain name, virus subscription services etc.) which are of value to you

4          Select a different ISP and/or different Internet access tariff if relevant

4          Cancel other ISPs (e.g. AOL) if this is no longer essential

Telephone line costs

4          You are usually obliged to have a standard analogue telephone line or ISDN line service (ISDN2 or BRI), which the ADSL service may share

4          Check the price of this line and the usage charges (even if it is provided by a different public provider)

4          Ask if there is an alternative and compare the costs (line connection fee and usage charges) of the alternative

Cost of DSL modem

4          Consider the purchase cost of your DSL modem

4          Consider the cost of an alternative purchase (e.g. from a computer discount store)

4          Consider re-using the DSL modem you already have (e.g. provided by a previous ADSL service provider)

ADSL installation charges

4          There is usually a one-off charge applied when you first order the service

4          The lower the one-off charge, the longer the duration of the contract commitment you are likely to have to make

4          If you are changing ADSL provider, will you experience a break in service? If so, for how long?

Cost of installation assistance and helpdesk/service

4          Will the provider make a charge for ‘pre-configuring’ your DSL modem and/or other equipment or for assistance on-site when deliverying and connecting the various equipment, or will you do all of this yourself?

4          What charges apply when you call the hotline?

Additional usage charges

4          Are there any other usage or support charges that will be chargeable?

Hidden charges

4          Your DSL modem may be ‘free’ but how much does the smallprint reveal that you will have to pay for ‘postage’?

Length of contract

4          What is the minimum commitment period?

4          What notice will you have to give to cancel the contract thereafter?

4          Is a smooth transition to an alternative ADSL provider (without break in service) assured at the end of the contract?



Make sure you calculate the total costs which will be due over the entire lifetime of your likely usage of the connection. Alternatively, compare the total costs for the first 24 months (including DSL modem, installation etc.) and compare additionally the direct monthly costs which will persist thereafter.