OT: DSL

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bikefind
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I’ve recently had a wave of motivation to try to stop giving money to organizations I don’t like. Businesses that have either treated me really badly as a customer or that have practices I don’t want to support. This new year I’m planning to switch my AAA over to Better World Club, and am making some minor changes in my buying habits, but the big one I want to address is my DSL. I don’t want to give any more money to Verizon (they’ve been beyond nightmarish with me on customer service) but I don’t like AT&T or Comcast either. Has anyone had good experiences with other companies that serve households within Pittsburgh?

I just need a broadband connection for getting online and running my vonage phone through. Don’t need a land line, don’t want cable.

(completely off topic, I know. But I spend more time here socially than anywhere else, and I wanted to see what people I feel familiar with had to say.)


Pierce
Participant
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This isn’t particularly at all helpful, but a while ago (maybe two years) I was also looking for a smaller broadband company, to no avail. I think your options outside of Verizon and Comcast are very limited. If you look hard, you might be able to get DSL speeds from some satellite provider for a hefty price. (Like $80+ a month or something)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Can’t help you, but just to add my voice to the choir, my wife has put this very thing on the Honey Do list. Between $120/month to Comcast for phone & Internet (and cable I don’t use), and $130/month to Verizon for 4 cell phones, I figure there has to be a better solution.


brian j
Participant
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Yeah, most of the local ISPs (Telerama, for instance) have gone away or have been purchased by larger providers.


Pierce
Participant
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You could drop the phone and use Google Voice for free on your computer. Works marvelously IMO. Then get basic cable and internet for about $60


dwillen
Participant
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I dislike Verizon as well. I used to have a local, independent provider (nidhog) but they stopped providing DSL and sold all their accounts to Verizon. Pissed me off. I have Cavalier ( http://www.cavtel.com/ ) for my DSL. It goes through a landline, but I don’t have to deal with Verizon at all and I don’t have any voice service, just data. I think I pay around $47/mo with all the taxes and such. It seems to lose connectivity for an hour or two about once a month, from what I’ve noticed of it. Usually while we are sitting there trying to stream Netflix. I don’t know if its them, or my particular DSL line. I never called customer service, so I can’t comment on them.

They do have a referral program, and I get some discount on my bill if you mention that you heard about them from me. Let me know if you sign up and if they want some sort of account number or something from me.


netviln
Participant
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You could try speakeasy. They are a colocated service provider and offer no phone service dsl. It owuld come in on verizon lines, etc, but you pay speakeasy and deal with their customer support, which is pretty good and highly rated. The downside is.. it is not cheap. I think the dedicated dsl is ~$80/mo

For what its worth. don’t go to comcast from verizon. several reasons, a) the customer support is worse. b) they intercept and proxy your traffic, intercept your email, dns, and also cap your account at 250gb which sounds like a lot, but is pretty easy to hit if you stream a lot of movies and stuff. If you hit this cap twice within two months, they term your account.

If all you are buying is internet service in the city, and dont want a commitment or bundled services, you best bets are verizon fios or dsl.

If you dont mind bundled services, like pierce said, you can get tv and internet through comcast or verizon fios for about 60/mo


netviln
Participant
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Also, Earthlink may still be able to provide DSL around here.


brian j
Participant
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Speakeasy–that was the indy provider I was trying to think of. Yeah, they are not cheap–I looked into them a year or two ago.

I agree with netviln about fios. I pay about $50 a month for just internet connectivity (I can justify the cost because I work from home so much). I’ve had zero problems with the service, so I can’t speak to the level of customer service.


bikefind
Participant
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thanks everyone.

I just checked out Earthlink – they have service where I live, although they use Verizon’s lines. Without going to astronomical prices, I’m wondering if that’s going to be unavoidable. I’m figuring that’s not as bad a situation as being an actual verizon customer. Much of my money would be going to Earthlink I imagine, with just a portion of it eventually making it to Verizon for rent on their lines. Who knows, maybe that’s worse: maybe they have a higher profit margin renting out line usage. Anyway, the price wasn’t bad, but I’m going to keep researching, see what feedback I can find on their service, etc.

@dwillen: I didn’t see anything on cavtel’s site about using Verizon’s lines – do you know if that’s the deal there?

@pierce: yeah, I definitely have no interest in paying for cable. I live in the city. I can get free, unprogrammed entertainment just by going outside. And not that there’s any reason to feel like we actually have any privacy when we communicate, but I’m less than enthusiastic about putting my phone life in google’s hands/eternal storage. Bad enough they’ve got my email.

[edit: wish I could edit my original post but it’s too late. I think I misused the phrase “land line”. The thing I was trying to say I don’t need is phone service through a land line provided by the company I buy internet service from. I think people got that, but I hate it when I use the wrong words.]


wojty
Participant
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I was going to recommend covad, as my parents had them for a few years out in Oakmont with no trouble. Looks like they just merged this fall with speakeasy and megapath. They look like the moved towards business interests recently, but the combination of these companies may mean you can win out in the end?

Had verizon dsl here in larryville fora while, but it cut out at least once a day, if not more. Numerous tech visits (which they tried to get me to pay for) still could not resolve it. Just wanted to throw that out there depending on where you are located.


jeg
Participant
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I did this same research last February/March when I moved, and came up empty. Smaller providers had gone under, only offered to businesses, or were charging significantly more.

I also have no television or land-line, and finding only internet was frustrating.

Aside from initial set-up, which involved 2 service people visiting and was a huge hassle (Verizon: “Oh, there’s no physical phone line going to your house? Shouldn’t be a problem!”), I haven’t had any problems with Verizon, though.

That and a prepaid cell phone runs me about $55/month, which is more than I want to pay, but not bad considering.


dwillen
Participant
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Everyone will use verizon’s lines, even speakeasy. No way to avoid that unless you get some sort of T1 installed. That is big bucks.

If you want to skip the wires, look into CLEAR 4G (WiMAX). It is basically a 4G cellular modem that you stick in your window. They run on different towers from the standard cellular carriers, and offer unlimited data plans (even some plans for roaming). You can check coverage here (I’d click the “show towers” button, just to see where the closest tower is, and make sure you have a reasonable line of sight on it from your house).


Pseudacris
Participant
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+1 for Speakeasy. I have “shared DSL,” which uses verizon’s line. ~$49/mo. I’ve used them for 6+ years and have only had to call customer service a couple of times. They’re great. At this point, I’m willing to pay extra *not to deal with verizon.


netviln
Participant
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I do love my fios, but I also run servers from home so having 35mbit upload speeds is awesome. That aside, unless you need low latency, low loss connections for gaming,etc, the wimax option may be a good one.. I am not sure with what voice performance is over wimax tho. would be something you would need to investigate.

As to who gets your money, like dwillen said, verizon is the local carrier of the area after aquiring all the regional bell providers.. bell atlantic, etc. All of the copper that phones and dsl use belongs to them. In the end, it is likely that no matter who you chose as an ISP, verizon will get some money as they are also a tier 1 isp, (after the mci worldcomm/ uunet acquisition) so even if you use the wimax, odds are good that there is a peering agreement someone somewhere and verizon is getting some of that money, so is att, level3, sprint etc etc.

In your looking a) look for a provider that meets your needs. (no phone service needed, no commitment, no tv, etc) whatever they may be and b) look for good customer service.

I use verizon because they are the only isp that fits my needs, but I do agree their customer support isnt good, fortunately, I havent needed it.


Marko82
Participant
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If you are friendly with and trust your neighbor, pool your money and go wifi. My next door neighbor and I have been doing this for a few years now. When he needed to move his router to the opposite side of the house my signal was degraded, so we ran Cat-5 between the two of us. The only negative is when the power goes out and his modem needs rebooted and he’s not home, but that has only happened a few times.


Pierce
Participant
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I would also like to point out that BestBuy owns SpeakEasy, don’t know how much they’ve changed since the acquisition

You can get Comcast Internet without a commitment for like $55 a month


cburch
Participant
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to reiterate a couple things, comcast sucks big huge balls. their downtime is awful, they intercept and inspect (although they will deny it till they are blue in the face) your packets, they “traffic manage” constantly and have the worst customer service i have ever experienced. also, because of how the internet works you WILL be giving some of your money to the ISPs that netviln mentioned they run the spines that handle all the traffic, not to mention the fact that they own much of the local cables, be they copper or fibre.

that said fios has been incredible for us, 100% uptime as far as i can tell over the past 3 years. also they dont charge a premium for having unbundled service (looking at you cable companies). back in new york it was actually cheaper to have super basic cable (locals and cspan) than it was to have unbundled data.


Erica
Participant
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When I tried to cancel my tv service from comcast, because I wasn’t using it, they told me that when you have internet service, you HAVE to have tv service and wouldn’t let me. So I cancelled my service completely.

Verizon has been okay. Some issues with the move, but it could be worse.


ejwme
Participant
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I looked in to this last year, and concluded that I’d rather not have internet at home. The public library has it for free (I donate there and volunteer, the smell of dusty books is like crack to me), and I work on a computer all day so I’m not inclined to connect at home, I’d rather keep my money and sanity.

Hubby disagreed. Hubby won. Sometimes I wonder if the Amish sent him to me to keep me from joining them.

edited to add: Verizon Fios (the only game other than comcast or some sat tv hookup) has been acceptable, hubby was able to resolve early billing disagreements to his satisfaction.

Being “Not Comcast” isn’t exactly glowing praise, but in this area, that’s all there is.


brian j
Participant
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Some issues with the move, but it could be worse.

Yeah, back in the olden days, when I had DSL, there was a mix-up when I moved, too. Despite the reports of poor customer service, they did correct the mistake and get my inter-tubes installed quickly.


Steven
Participant
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I had a good small ISP for DSL that got swallowed up, and is now Consolidated Communications. They’re OK. I pay $39.95/month (no additional fees) for 3 Mbps down/1 Mbps up, with static IP. Pretty reliable, but there’s free dialup if the DSL goes out. I’ve had good and bad experiences with customer service. I don’t know how my old plan compares to their current offerings.

You might want to look at the ISP reviews on http://www.broadbandreports.com/


stefb
Participant
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O i thought this thread was about something else.

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