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Do I Have to Bundle Cable and Internet Service?

There’s an old joke about a man going to the store, seeing candy bars under a sign that says “$1 each or three for $5,” and grabbing three so he can get the “better deal.” It’s tempting to look at cable bundles the same way: it’s both Internet and TV together, so it must be a good bargain. But is that actually the case? The truth is, while most cable companies offer bundles that include both TV and Internet — many of which deeply discount one or more of the bundled services — most also offer comparable individual packages. Keep reading for more information on why you might want to avoid bundles, as well as a look at some of the top standalone cable and Internet plans offered by popular providers.  

Reasons to Avoid Bundling

So why would you opt not to bundle? There are two fairly common reasons, and they’re closely related. The first is that the service you want may not be included in any of a given provider’s standard bundles. For instance, if you don’t need anything more than a very basic broadband Internet connection to read e-mails and look at Facebook, you’ll likely be over-served by the Internet offerings in most bundled packages. The second reason to not bundle is if you don’t need one service or the other. You may well be able to do everything you need to do on the Internet with your cellphone, meaning you’ll need only a TV plan. On the other hand, you may be able to cut the cord and use services such as Netflix® and Hulu® instead of cable TV, making a standalone Internet plan the better plan choice for you.  

Standalone Plans

Regardless of why you don’t want to bundle, you should still be able to find plenty of individual offerings for both TV and Internet. Here’s what a few of the big providers have to offer in terms of standalone packages.

Time Warner Cable

For TV offerings, Time Warner Cable® has several options, ranging from the Starter TV package, which costs $19.99 per month for 12 months and includes over 20 channels, to the more comprehensive Preferred TV, which runs as high as $79.99 per month for 12 months and includes over 200 channels plus Whole House HD-DVR. Internet plans offer a similar degree of customization. Lighter users will appreciate the Everyday Low Price offering of speeds up to 2 Mbps for $14.99 per month, while heavier users should be more than satisfied with the Ultimate 50 plan’s speeds up to 50 Mbps for just $64.99 per month for 12 months.


Cox® offers a nice range of standalone television plans. Less comprehensive offerings include the Advanced TV Economy package — a plan that provides over 155 channels for just $31.99 per month. Mid-range plans, like the Cox Contour TV plan, run around $59.99 per month for 12 months and include over 220 channels. For Internet, Cox subscribers have the option to enroll in the powerful Cox Internet Ultimate plan. The package comes with download speeds of up to 300 Mbps and 150GB of Cloud Drive storage — all for just $84.99 per month for 12 months.


XFINITY®, one of the biggest cable providers in the country, has some great standalone TV plans. The Digital Starter package, with over 70 channels, runs customers just $49.99 per month for 12 months with a one-year agreement. At the other end of the spectrum, the Digital Preferred plan provides more than 220 channels for the low cost of $54.99 per month for 12 months with a one-year agreement. XFINITY Internet offerings are just as formidable. The Performance Starter package provides speeds up to 10 Mbps for a cost of $39.99 per month for the first 12 months with a one-year agreement, while the XI Gigabit Pro plan puts out speeds up to 2000 Mbps for just $299.95 per month with a minimum two-year agreement.

Charter Spectrum

Charter Spectrum™ TV offerings aren’t quite as extensive as some other providers, but there are still some individual television plans. The TV Select plan, for instance, runs just $59.99 per month for the first 12 months and includes over 125 channels. The more comprehensive TV Silver package is a bit more costly — $79.99 per month for the first 12 months — but comes with over 175 channels. The company’s most popular standalone Internet package provides speeds up to 60 Mbps for $39.99 per month for 12 months.  

So do you have to bundle cable TV and Internet?

No, definitely not. A bundle will likely save you money if you want or need both a standard TV package and a standard Internet package, but it’s not mandatory. If you want just one or the other, it’s easy to find an individual plan for the service you want. Check out the pay-TV and Internet providers in your area to learn more about the standalone options available where you live.

Reasons you might not want to bail on the bundle

Because, well, you want it all! Also, you could get deep discounts and more options that will satisfy for internet and TV needs. Find available internet and cable bundles by entering your zip code below.
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  *Pricing and speeds are current as of writing. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas. Time Warner Cable and Charter Spectrum packages may differ due to recent company merger.