Hi Yosemite Steve! Welcome back.
It is commonplace for Internet Service Providers to offer a very low rate for an initial period, such as your first year. Then they raise your bill and they HOPE you won't switch to a different provider. Of course, at that point you have at least 3 choices:
1- You could abandon high speed Internet entirely and go back to the lifestyle of the 1980s...
2- You could pay the new, higher bill and continue with your new ISP, or
3- You could shop around for a different ISP.
Evidently you've chosen option 3. Good for you! IMHO that's the correct choice for most people living in areas where competitive Internet Service Providers want your business. Your best allies in this situation will be your own neighbors. They are all facing this same situation every year too, and they will want to know about your experience with your current ISP and with any change you decide to put into effect. Go and visit with them. Find out what other ISPs are offering service in your neighborhood and what they are charging.
You can also search on the Internet. Check websites for Comcast, ATT, and DSL Extreme for starters. They have prominent links that will help you determine whether they offer services in your neighborhood (usually they will get started by asking you for your "zip" code).
It is likely that this search will reveal one or more ISPs offering services in your neighborhood, and it's also likely that you can find one with a low-cost "promotional" price that will be a lot lower than the higher rate your ISP is now demanding. Write down the specifics of the lower-cost offer that you prefer. Then telephone your current ISP. Ask for their "Retention" department if they have one, since those people are paid to persuade you to continue with their service, and they are generally authorized to make very attractive deals. If they don't have a "Retention" department, ask for their "Sales" department and begin negotiating along these lines:
"Hello. My name is YosemiteSteve and my bill for your services this month is MUCH higher than it has ever been before. I have contacted your competitors and they have made me a much more attractive offer, so I am calling to give you a chance to persuade me that you still want my business before I switch to one of the other providers....."
I've used this tactic almost every year for the past 8 years, and I have almost always been successful with it. Sometimes I've had to actually switch to a different provider, and sometimes my current provider has sweetened their deal enough to keep me on board.
If you do decide to switch to a new ISP, they will make it easy (but not necessarily quick, because your current ISP may be able to stall the process for several weeks). They will probably ship you new equipment to replace your old stuff, but they will also include clear, well thought-out instructions for retiring your old items (broadband modem, router, and WiFi access point) and activating their new ones. I wouldn't worry too much about that step: millions of people have done it with success. If you need background information to build your confidence, I suggest you watch the video clips here:http://askmisterwizard.com/WirelessNetw ... nt1of6.htm
I hope this helps.