Are There Really Alternatives to Comcast High Speed Internet?

I have never been a fan of Comcast high speed Internet. There are constantly intermittent outages and slow speeds. Sometimes it even seems as if legal downloads and streaming of media is being throttled. Of course, Comcast is better than the 28.8 kbps dialup Internet that I used 15 years ago, but considering that it is now 2011, I can only hope that today’s options are better than that. In the Seattle area, like many others, there are actually very few options other than Comcast, and alternatives are only limited to specific areas. In fact, Comcast has such a huge monopoly on consumers’ access to the Internet in the Seattle area that there are no other choices — either you have Comcast, or your neighborhood is provided with cable Internet by Broadstripe. There are a few DSL options, but DSL can be more troublesome than Comcast — especially during bad weather. If you’re truly fed up with Comcast broadband Internet, are there really any viable alternatives? Here are a few that you might want to consider:

Clearwire
Clearwire emerged several years ago as one of the first residential hotspot alternatives to traditional Internet. Found in mall kiosks everywhere, the company used hard pressure sales tactics to get broke college kids who were addicted to the Internet to sign up for the service. Feedback was immediately negative; it didn’t work in ground level apartments, in hallways, or anywhere near a building with any kind of foliage growing nearby. A Clearwire hotspot costs between $50 and $100 with a $50/month data package — nearly three times what you will pay for Comcast. Your success with a Clearwire hotspot will vary drastically between other users. If you can position the hotspot just right on a third floor windowsill that has nothing blocking its view of a clear sky, you will probably be able to surf the Web and read email — but don’t even think about watching YouTube videos or Skyping with friends and family. The video quality will be poor, if it renders at all, and the audio will drop. With Clearwire, you’ll have annoying problems all of the time. At least with Comcast, your problems are likely much more limited.

Are There Really Alternatives to Comcast High Speed Internet?Hotspots and USB Modems
If there’s anywhere that Internet is more unreliable than it is at home with Comcast, it’s during an event or conference where attendees and press must rely on the event for Wi-Fi. During my career with LockerGnome I’ve learned that attending these types of events armed with your own Wi-Fi in the form of a hotspot or USB Modem is critical to staying connected and keeping readers updated with information from the conference. For those who spend most of their day in an office, a hotspot or USB Modem could be a viable alternative to a single person who just needs to quickly manage a few things online in the evenings. All major wireless carriers feature hotspots and USB modems, but the data plans wildly vary.

T-Mobile, for instance, offers a few phones and devices with hotspot functionality, with a range of data packages that allow users up to 10 GB for $69.99 with no overage charges (though users will experience slower speeds if they use more data). This means that users can browse about 200 webpages, send a few hundred emails, and watch about two minutes of YouTube every day without going over. Verizon offers USB Modems that cost between $20 and $80 as well as Mobile hotspots that cost between $20 and $100. As far as data packages go, Verizon offers a 10 GB option for $80. And, yes, 10 GB was the maximum amount of data offered, per month, for hotspot users. This is admittedly not much data, especially for users who watch a lot of video or stream music. Hotspots and USB modems also rely on a clear signal to the wireless carrier, so if you live in or are traveling through an area that doesn’t get reception on a cell, you won’t get it via your hotspot, either.

Coffee Shops
If you’re considering getting rid of your Internet at home, you don’t necessarily need to replace it, per se. If you live in an urban or even suburban area, just head down the street to your nearest Starbucks, which offers free Wi-Fi to its customers. In some major metropolitan areas, these Starbucks are open late at night, or even 24 hours, making it an ideal place to head in the evening when you need to get a little extra work done. It’s not a great place to sit back, relax and watch the latest episode of Dexter, but for the price of a tall coffee (which is under $2), it’s not a bad option — especially if you have a smart phone on which you can quickly check your emails and casually browse the Web and Facebook at home. Just don’t go to the coffee shop every day and order the most expensive drink on the menu, or else you’ll have other things to start worrying about, too (like your sanity and your waist size).

Tablets and iOS Devices
If you haven’t yet considered purchasing an iOS device or any other kind of tablet, but are considering canceling your Comcast service, now is never a better time to consider a tablet — or even just the switch to an iPhone. With a 12 GB data bundle for a Verizon iPhone, priced at $100, you not only get a little extra data but can use the phone as a mobile hotspot. There is also a 10 GB data package without the hotspot priced for Verizon’s tablet, like the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy. AT&T limits its iOS devices to 4 GB a month for $45/month, and will charge you $10 for another 1 GB if you go over. While this data is more limited than other options, it may be ideal for those who can glean Wi-Fi from other sources throughout the day (such as the aforementioned coffee shop) and only need to use their own data package occasionally.

Still not sure if you can cut the Internet cable? You will admittedly pay much more for much less data if you switch to relying on a wireless carrier for your everyday cable needs. If you have already cut the cable TV and use a service like Roku or Boxee, you will also lose those services. You may want to instead consider purchasing one of the alternatives mentioned above as a backup device for when your Comcast has problems yet again. You know that when you call customer service it won’t tell you there’s a local outage, but it’s never just you, and the problem will resolve itself sooner than later. And if it really doesn’t bother you that much, consider a true alternative to the Internet. Like actually leaving your house and seeing your friends and family.

Are you frustrated or fed up with your cable Internet? Have you found a good alternative instead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Robert Hoellering

    I have never had any issues with my cable provider cox has been a great cable provider i just think comcast just needs a good swift kick in the *** or a major class action lawsuit.

  • Nakedgoat

    Love my home internet pay 90$ a mo so if its down they fix it & pretty quick.

  • Rick

    I have Comcast cable modem at home.  10 years ago, when I first got it, it was somewhat unreliable, but in recent years, it has been nearly 100% reliable. 

    Do keep in mind that it is not Comcast’s fault if you try to access a web site which is hosted on a slow or unreliable hosting service.  It’s not Comcast’s fault if a billion people are all downloading huge videos from an online video service, and the online video service does not have the bandwidth to handle all those downloads. 

    If you think your Internet connection is slow because some web site you are visiting seems slow, then try going to a speed test web site and check your connection speed.  Whenever I encounter slow web sites, I go to http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest, and run a speed test.  I almost always find that my Comcast cable modem speed is perfectly fine (~15 – 20 Mbps download speed), so it is clearly not a Comcast problem.  It’s a problem with the specific web site which is slow.

    Rick

    • Thesnare

       I also wonder, what does it mean when a company offers a minimum bandwidth for you, say 10Mbs/per second, but under circumstances? Distance and Traffic are factors. It would be very slow if I was fetching web information from a web server in Australia, or say one in New York City (I’m in Massachusetts) if there was a lot of traffic between me and the web server.

      • Rick

        Sending data back and forth between your computer and a web server in a far away location is much like driving from your home to visit a freind in a distant city.  You won’t run into any traffic jams in your driveway.  You probably won’t run into much traffic driving through your neighborhood to get to the nearest main road.  But who knows how traffic will be on the main road from your neighborhood to the nearest expressway.  Who knows what you might encounter once you get on the expressway.  Over many hundreds of miles on the expressway, you might run into traffic jams, construction, accidents, etc., which could slow you down.  Once you get off the expressway near your destination, you could run into more slow downs on the main streets there.  When you finally arrive at friend’s home, of course you won’t likely run into any traffic jams in his driveway.

        Rick

  • Dave

    Constantly intermittent outages and slow speeds?  Seems as if legal downloads and streaming of media is being throttled? Constantly intermittent = oxymoron, how about some specific outage times and durations?  Slow speeds, what is your expectation?  What speed are you getting?  Seems like downloads are being throttled?  What downloads, what time of day, is this related to the unspecified slow speeds? Your article doesn’t really provide any detailed information about what is wrong with your service nor does it provide a viable alternative to at home Internet other than DSL. If you have specific issues with a providers service you should provide them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rysliv ryan haz

    condointernet.net needs to expand.. 

  • Kerns Phoegon

    This article is pretty….. colored honestly.   While first it doesn’t say if it’s a bad coverage area for Comcast (and there are some, where for the life of you it’s just better to get something else) nor does it say if this person is actually hitting sights that for lack of a better word(s) aren’t able to keep up with traffic.

    I have Comcast in an Apartment style place, and at times it’s slow, though that’s when everyone seems to be downloading, but to be honest most of the time I’ve got very fast internet speeds and great upload speeds, and I watch and upload lots of videos, play MMO class games, stream music, have the WII-PS3-PSP’s-DSi hooked up to the net and download games when ever I see something I like (Some of the PS3′s are 6 Gigs in size) and I’ve never had issues with download speeds.

    High-Speed Cellular Dialup,  would be great if ALL OF THEM weren’t famous for one form a limitation or another.  [Data cap*, before you speed drops dramatically / Data Cap*, then you could be cut off / Throttled Speed caps, were as if your device or net has TOOOO much traffic it gets throttled. (Very easy to do if you have more then 2-3 devices using it) / Bandwidth LimitPay per MBGB, this is just wrong and gets way to fking expensive for anyone who really uses their internet]  There is also something to be said about having to use a mobile Device w/ the Cellular connection over a computer, but that’s personal taste, and frankly this isn’t a good solution for most who actually want to use their computer, and for the phones that are ‘hotspots’ outside the data & bandwidth issues, you can NOT have your phone and let the house keep the internet, which is unsuited for anyone who has someone at home.

    *To be clear, I mean data caps like 4-30 GB [per month] is unacceptable for most house holds, and could very easily be broken with YouTube videos & Hulu, without EVER downloading anything you might need for your Computer, game console, handheld devices, etc.
    -Also, any Data plan where it’s less then 200 GB per month is something that isn’t desirable honestly, and while everyone may not use that much bandwidth, it sucks to have to NOT watch your favorite video, or upload your Video to YouTube because it’ll break your bandwidth.

    Also, if you seriously are going to suggest coffee shops and small business w/ wireless net, I believe you don’t know how frequent they can drop and the numerous restrictions that those places have (and not just because it’s public, which takes out things in and of it self) [It is there internet, no matter if you pay for access, you still have to agree to their rules and their ISP rules]

    Quote. 
        “T-Mobile, for instance, offers a few phones and devices with hotspot functionality, with a range of data packages that allow users up to 10 GB for $69.99 with no overage charges (though users will experience slower speeds if they use more data). This means that users can browse about 200 webpages, send a few hundred emails, and watch about two minutes of YouTube every day without going over.”
       My mother who doesn’t even use the net for anything other then business and e-mails, would bust this.   If you honestly believe that this is a good option, then honestly try doing that to TV or games.  *Oh you can only play 10-15 minutes a day of any game* or *You can only watch 20-25 minutes of television, including commercial times*
       —Point being, if you can honestly do that, then you could seriously do without it and your wasting your money by taking this plan.  Yes, there are those who could do this.. though frankly there are MUCH MUCH better plans for low data usage, for those who don’t use the net enough to give a dam.

    While as far as “Clearwire / Clear” goes, they make for a far worse choice then comcast ever though of being.  Numerous complaints from everywhere about ‘throttling’ speeds down to 250kb/s for triggering a computerized data bandwidth limit, while never once stating that in it’s marketing.
    -I’ll also say clear sucks honestly, that my mother who only uses it for 1 Laptop hates the slow speeds, and I notice a drastic & and I mean DRASTIC difference between my Standard Comcast Highspeed (Regular home account, not business, not T1, not economy) and her 4g Internet.  It’s to the point where I honestly feel absolutely LIMITED just surfing, and the sick part is I’m paying just a Tiny be more then my mother does and does the extra 5-15USD a month worth it, OH yes it is, by FAR.

    Just one word for this Article, WAY to general to be of any real help and can give people a very false IDEA of what’s going on, and have them more frustrated with your FAIL article and lead them to not trust the sight or you as a poster again.

    The main reasons this is FAIL, and I do mean FAIL, is because ‘Comcast’ is a HOME INTERNET SERVICE for the ENTIRE HOUSE, and while at times yes it’s slower then it should be, IT’s FAST still (better then DSL for sure).  You not once have suggested anything better or even comparable as a valid replacement.  Though users who are ready to just give HOME INTERNET up and go with a mobile solution, already have ways to see that.  The users looking for anything helpful here will be highly disapointed as you FAILED to list or link ANY prefromance data on Comcast, clear, HOTSPOTS, Coffee Shops, or Cellular Broadband services, while only resorting to your own options while never admitting WHAT you do on the internet.

  • http://twitter.com/markntravis markntravis

    We signed up for Verizon FiOS as soon as it was available to us.  We get TV/Phone and 25mbps download and upload internet for less money.  Verizon sold their landline business to Frontier some time ago and so far the quality hasn’t changed.

  • Zachary L

    I don’t have near as many problems with comcast as I did dsl way back when, we might get one or two very short outages at most in a months time, and I get the exact speed that they advertise I know that from speedtest.net

  • Dallan

    Hahahahaha advertisement fail!! There is a Comcast advertisement at the end of this article that is bashing on Comcast service.

  • http://twitter.com/suburban_war C. Lauretano

    If you’re in the right spots of Seattle, you can get 40Mbps/20Mbps VDSL2 from CenturyLink. I just signed up with it a couple weeks ago, and it has been *fantastic*. It truly achieves those speeds. I lucked out though, most of Capitol Hill can’t get it but I’m at the corner of Broadway/Olive so I lucked out.

    Comcast doesn’t offer anything approaching that upload speed even on their 105Mbps tier. I only wish FiOS was in Seattle.. many claim it is, but those people live in the ‘burbs. Verizon wasn’t the phone company in Seattle proper, hence no FiOS.

  • Maxsaboy

    u-verse is the best. I’ve got u-verse and i have had no problem.

    • Thesnare

       U-verse like Verizon Fios isn’t available everywhere. I live on a street where the phone, cable and phone lines are underground. My neighbor at the beginning of my street can get FIOS because his house connects to a street with above ground lines. I can’t yet.

  • http://www.wigsuperstore.com/blog Jason Ramsey

    I’ve never been a fan of Comcast either. Do you think the days of ‘all you can eat’ internet are numbered?

  • http://www.bytehead.org/blog/ Bryan “bytehead” Price

    ISPs, even dial up, have always been bitching about people using “too much” of their service.  Although the telephone companies weren’t too happy either, they weren’t expecting everybody to be using their second telephone line for 24 hours per day, either.

    The ISP I was using way back then had a story about how one of the founders got mad because he thought a certain modems had been in use for too long after a time, and would power cycle the modems.  Now, he really never had a clue as to how long that person was actually on the system.  I had a program that would reconnect me whenever I got disconnected anyway,

    Still, as a customer of Comcast, most of the time I can get decent speed (YouTube seems to be the one that can be spotty for me, and Google even has a Comcast designated connection, I suspect the connection point is just swamped).  The only real outages I’ve noticed have been from lightning strikes around the neighborhood.  First, it was my pole, then it was the fiber to coax node, and then a week later, it was my pole again.  Now, it did take about seven service calls to actually get it up and running, but they did manage to fix the issue.  And while the 250GB cap is a bit much, it’s still better than paying twice the amount I pay Comcast and only getting 12GB out of it.

  • Fstocking

    My ATT Dsl has had one (1) 6 hour outage in 3yrs 7 months and that one occurred at 2AM to 8AM I slept thru 4 hrs of it and it was working when I go home from work.

  • http://robertnelsononline.com nar321

    Comcast’s monopoly is caused by there having to be granted the ability to lay cable and the difficulty any alternative services would have getting access to that cable. I agree that DSL and Clearwire are worse. Somehow the ability to compete in this area has to be created, as Comcast sucks, just not as much as DSL and Clearwire

    • Rick

      There are a number of reasons why governments essentially create regulated monopolies, like phone companies, electric companies, gas companies, cable companies and so on.

      Running cables to millions of homes is a costly proposition.  No one is going to invest the money to do something like that unless they have some reasonable assurance that they will be able to get a return on their investment.  Typically, when the government gives a company like Comcast the right to run their cables in a given city, the government will also specify requirements, such as requiring the company to run cables to every home in the city, as opposed to only running cables to houses where people have more money and can afford to pay more for the cable access.  They will also specify requirements for the quality of service provided, requirements for things like a “local access” TV station to be carried on the cable, etc.  So there is a lot of give and take in the process.

      Also, imagine what it would be like if anyone who felt like it could start running their own cables through town.  What a mess it would be if there were 10 different cable companies running cable to every home in town.  What a mess there would be if 5 different gas companies all had gas pipelines to every house in town.  How much more would it cost to run all those extra cables?  How many problems would there be when one company’s cables interfere with another’s? 

      Rick

      • http://robertnelsononline.com nar321

        I wan’t suggesting that anybody who had deep pockets could or should have the ability to run cables. I was saying that Comcast shouldn’t have a monopoly on those cables after they are laid.

         Much of the time the cables are above ground and attached to the same poles that supply phone and electric service.  Should whoever installed the poles originality be able to keep them only for there purposes? Said purpose would more than likely not to let others use them( or alternatively to have fee usage so high as to lock everybody else out, then get laws passed that make it impossible to erect poles unless approved by government.

        The horse and buggy people did there best to outlaw the horseless carriage and we all know how well that worked(Not!)

        • Rick

          So you are saying that even though Comcast paid to run the cables, they should then be required to allow anyone to use their cables for free?  Why would a company like Comcast ever invest the money to run their cables in the first place, if they had to allow others to use their cables for free after they are installed?  Would you put up the money to buy a new car if you knew you would be required to let all your neighbors drive your car for free?  Would you be happy about paying for gas, maintenance and repairs on your car, when all your neighbors are driving it for free? 

          Telephone poles are covered under the same kinds of laws and regulations that apply to all of the “regulated monopolies” I mentioned previously (electric company, phone company, gas company, etc.).  These laws and regulations cover things like who can use the telephone poles and for what purposes.  I would not assume that Comcast gets to come into town and start runnig their cables on the telephone poles for free.  Also, I can assure you that if you started stringing your own cables on the telephone poles in your neighborhood, you’d quickly be arrested.  In the same respect, if you started putting up your own telephone poles on public property, or on your neighbors’ property, you’d also be arrested. 

          I’m not sure I understand the horse and buggy reference. 

          Rick

          • Thesnare

            Maybe what he means is it should be like telephone service, where all the companies share the same telephone lines. You have a choice of what company you want, but the companies can’t reserve thier lines just for their customers.

            One time I heard someone rant and rave about how it’s theft for the companies that put up the lines to have to share them, since they are their lines and shouldn’t have to, but I thought about what you said if every 5 cable companies were allowed in the same town, I think there just wouldn’t be enough physical space on telephone poles/along roadsides for all those cables

          • Rick

            I think what it really comes down to is that he thinks he should be able to get access to the cables for FREE so he doesn’t have to pay for Internet access. 

            There may be cases, such as you have described, where different phone/cable companies are required to share lines/equipment/telephone poles, but I can pretty much guarantee you that each company involved in the sharing arrangement is required to pay for their share of the cost of installing/maintaining the cables/equipment/telephone poles, etc.  There is no way one company can be required to pay all the costs, while another company gets to come in and get a free ride.  The company that has to pay all the costs would never be able to compete with the company that is a getting a free ride. 

            Rick 

          • MaxxTheParrot

            YOU BEST REMEMBER HISORY, LEST YOU FORGET (HOW) TO REPEAT IT!! Fibre optic cable was laid out in place of copper by the ole AT&T, and now EVERONE USES/BENEFITS by it……for a price,however. THE SAME S H O U L D GO FOR COMCAST, lease out the cable or be SPLIT UP into competitive pieces!!
            Case closed..

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2EZG6MGCIS3TJH73P2PF2J2QM4 East

        Cables may be the supposed ‘Fastest’, but internet connections are now done via satellite, thus, no cable… hmm? 

        Phone companies, electric companies, gas companies HAVE points of origin… where’s the origin of the internet data stream?

        • Rick

          East,

          Satellites cost money too.  Unfortunately, there’s just no free ride.

          See my response to your other question for information about the “origin of the Internet data stream.”

          Rick

        • Thesnare

           I don’t exact know what you mean. You certainly don’t mean satelitte internet service for customers do you? Like DirectPC? That’s MUCH slower than cable internet

          • Rick

            Again, he is just looking for a free ride.  He thinks there must be some place where he can tap into the Internet for free and avoid paying his share of the costs of maintaining all the infrastructure required to make the Internet run.

            Rick

  • Easticon

    Maybe this has been asked, but as a consumer who has gone thru the LOT of these above recommendations, how do these companies and services provide internet to us? Where do they plug-in so that we consumers can plug-in to them? How can we eliminate these ‘middle-men’ and just access the internet without them? Where’s the ‘Well’ so I don’t have to keep paying to drink the water??

    • Rick

      Easticon,

      The “well” is many miles away from where you are.  I’m sure if spent the money to run your own “pipeline” to the “well,” then you could drink for free…  the problem is, it’s going to cost you probably several hundred thousand dollars to first of all, buy the rights to run your own cables for several miles, and then to actually buy that much cable and run it that distance…  and then, what are you going to do when there is a storm and your cable breaks, or animals chew on it and break it?  The cost of on-going maintenance of many miles of cable will mean that you’ll never really “drink for free” and suddenly, Comcast will seem like a real bargain.

      Rick

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2EZG6MGCIS3TJH73P2PF2J2QM4 East

        Rick, thanks for responding. Hmmm, many miles away from where I am doesn’t exactly tell me ’where they (Comcast, Dial-up ISPs, et al) plug in’. From how you describe it, there’s only one origin… where is it? I appreciate the cost, labor and free market societal value placed on getting us consumers access to the internet… but my direction is to access the internet without paying some company to help me gain that access. I cannot believe there’s  only ‘one’ point, ‘one’ place, ‘one’ dot-on-the-map from where the internet springs forth! Access cannot be limited in such a way… so… who’s got the answer??

        • Rick

          Hi East,

          You might try a search for “Internet Backbone” which will lead you to articles such as:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_backbone

          The above explains the basic structure of the Internet.  Important points to note are that the Internet is made up of network equipment and wiring which is owned by businesses, governments, and others.  In other words, the Internet is made out of physical things which someone has to pay to maintain and operate. 

          http://www.nthelp.com/maps.htm

          This is an interesting series of maps that show where the major providers have their “backbone” connections.  Maybe this will answer the question of “where they plug in.” 

          http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/who-owns-internet.htm

          This article answers the question of “who owns the Internet.”  The bottom line is that every bit of the Internet is made of equipment and cables that someone has to support and maintain, and that costs money.  There is no magic location where one can gain access to the Internet without going through someone else’s connection and equipment. 

          Now, I suppose you could become a Tier 1 ISP, build your own Internet Backbone infrastructure, and then negotiate with others to pay to use your network.  By doing this, you could then give yourself “free” Internet.

          Rick

        • http://www.bytehead.org/blog/ Bryan “bytehead” Price

           There is no one point, it’s practically everywhere.

          The Internet is a bunch of separate networks.  Comcast runs their own network, Level 3 runs their own network (although in that case, it’s mostly backbone stuff), Google runs their own network, Microsoft runs their own network, AOL runs their own network.  Even my own server @ http://www.bryanlprice.com runs on my service provider’s network.  Everybody “buys” their connectivity, one way or another.  Hell, I’m even running my own network in my house.  There are connection points, the technical term eludes me right now, that connects everybody’s network to each other.  Case in point, Comcast to AOL

           9   pos-0-0-0-0-pe01.ashburn.va.ibone.comcast.net [68.86.86.26]
          10  comcast.atdn.net [68.86.89.242]
          11  dar1-dtc-xe-1-0-0.atdn.net [66.185.141.66]
          12  gear1-dtc-eth1-1.net.aol.com [66.185.150.34]

          By the time we get to the 9th hop, that is Comcast’s router that then connects to the atdn.net’s router (hop 10).  It then goes through another router (hop 11) that connects to the AOL router (hop 12).  The two routers don’t necessarily have to be in the same interconnect center, there may very well be a fiber connection from Ashburn, VA to where ever dar1-dtc-xe-1-0-0.atdn.net (which appears to be in Alaska!) and the gear1…aol.com is in Briarcliff Manor, NY.  At least according to Geobytes.com.  Not really accurate, since it lists the comcast.net address in MO, and Comcast has been good about making sure the locations are accurate on their location names.

          So you would need a router in one of these interconnection spots.  You’re going to have to pay for a router (some enterprise level of Cisco router, six figures, anything less, and you won’t be allowed in the site!), the electricity to pay for that router, somebody to take care of that router for you, and you’re going to have sign some sort of traffic agreement.  If you are generating enough traffic to them, there may not be any direct cost, otherwise, there will be that direct cost as well.  And then you have to figure out how to get from that interconnect point to where you actually want to be to use that connection.

          But one way or another, you WILL have to pay for that connectivity.  Everybody does, Google, AOL, Comcast.  Again, it doesn’t necessarily mean costs in contracts and agreements, but in the cost of the equipment to keep that connection going.  Infrastructure such as coax, fiber, twisted copper, or even through regulated or non-regulated radio still has to be paid for as well.  That’s one of the reasons why Google has been running around and buying all the dark fiber that it can get it’s hands on, especially if it’s cheap.  Comcast used to use Level 3 for all their backbone stuff (at least in my area), and now instead of hitting Level 3 after four hops, it’s going nine hops.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2EZG6MGCIS3TJH73P2PF2J2QM4 East

    I’m not thoroughly knowledgable with the internet and those companies/services who provide us access to the internet. But, how do they get access to the internet? Why can’t the consumer be allowed to the same access without paying fees and without data limitations? That would be an article worth reading from the Gnome!

    • Rick

      I’m not sure if you are the same person as Easticon, but your question sounds about the same as Easticon’s question.

      The bottom line is that the majority of what you pay for Internet access is to pay for the cost of running a cable to your house, the cost of maintaining and repairing that cable, the cost of the routers, switches and other infrastructure needed to actually make the complete connection from your cable/DSL modem to the main Internet backbone circuits, and so on.

      Rick

  • http://www.facebook.com/wgfinley W. Guy Finley

    Been an AT&T Uverse user for several years here as well and the service has been awesome. I have only been down once that I can ever remember, Uverse is fiber to a DSLAM that is close to your house so you get great speeds and aren’t sharing with your neighbors. Plus, since Uverse is an IPTV solution they know your will be downloading a ton of data, they never cap.

    • http://twitter.com/HavocBlast HavocBlast Education

      sound like a AT&T rep I use to sell Uverse and that is word from word what we were told to tell prospective customers

    • http://twitter.com/HavocBlast HavocBlast Education

      sound like a AT&T rep I use to sell Uverse and that is word from word what we were told to tell prospective customers

  • http://www.walterneary.net Walter Neary

    Hey Kelly, sorry, late to comment but I just saw this. I work at Comcast and was concerned about the reference to “constantly intermittent outages and slow speeds.” That’s really not something to take for granted; email me anytime at walter_neary at cable.comcast.com with your account info and we can look at what’s going on at your address.

  • http://twitter.com/kpslover007 Uthman Baksh

    I have 2 options for broadband in my area, Time Warner and Verizon FIOS. For now, I have FIOS. Time warner was getting to be a pain to deal with. Thank God I don’t have Comcrap in my area, or as they are now known as Xfinity! 

  • http://www.richardangulo.com Richard Angulo

    Could Sprint 4G Unlimited be the solution to give Comcast the boot? I plan to check it out soon.

  • http://www.richardangulo.com Richard Angulo

    Could Sprint 4G Unlimited be the solution to give Comcast the boot? I plan to check it out soon.

  • Smithe

    “constantly intermittent outages” – I stopped reading right after I saw this!

  • cleodc

    $50 clearwire sounds way better than 92$ comcast I pay a month for just the internet. (the landline phone was part of the deal so canceling it wouldn’t reduce the bill) Now that they’re doing their own collection of money they harass on the phone till they get their money customers owe them. I dislike comcast I think their greed got a hold on them and they care less about their customers. 

  • Thesnare

     But, well Comcast DOES have to pay all the costs associated with their cables. I don’t think it would be unfair either if another company should have to pay maintence if they could also use those cables.

    But, if the cable lines were open and like telephone lines any company that wanted to use them could, wouldn’t that massively slow down the speed for each customer (or whatever company) do the fact there would be a lot more traffic?

    I used to think that it wouldn’t be cable or DSL or Satelitte, or FIOS, that telephone modems would just get faster and faster, but 56K was the legal limit- as not to interfere with other phone voice traffic, if every company that wanted it had access to cable, wouldn’t that happen again?

    • Rick

      You are exactly right.  If anyone could freely tap into anyone else’s cables any time they felt like it, we would all suffer.  After all, I’d love to be able to send many gigabytes of high def videos back and forth between my office and some of my clients.  But the bandwidth needed to do that is too expensive, so I don’t do it.  If I could just tap into someone else’s network for free, and send massive amounts of data for free, I would be sucking up a lot more bandwidth than I do.

      Not only that, but if anyone could tap into anyone else’s network without restriction, there is no doubt that people would be plugging in faulty equipment, etc., which in turn would cause outages and cause interference on the network.  If Comcast, AT&T, etc., lose the authority to control what gets connected to their networks, then there is no possibility of them maintaining any level of quality of service.

      People who expect things to be handed to them for free simply do not understand the realities of life.  They are selfish and clueless and incapable of rational thought.

      Rick

      • Titanic

        I think some of the sublety is missing here though. The initial cost to run those lines I would guess has long since been paid for by the service subscribers Comcast signed up. Even when you consider running services to lower-income neighborhoods, and ongoing maintenance. I think an argument could be made for having limits on the duration of such monopolies before opening up the traffic. However, there’s more to a data network (and it’s ALL data now, even phones and television), than there was to the old phone systems. Constant increases in demand for bandwidth, changes in the equipment that actually carries and routes the data, etc. Say you want to be an ISP and use Comcast’s physical network in town. Are you paying for their switching equipment? The electricity? After all, unless you’re completely taking over an entire area, there has to be some way to separate out your traffic from their traffic. So who owns the networking equipment that does it? Are you sharing the cost? Whose team has to troubleshoot issues? What controls are in place to keep one or the other of you from screwing with the other’s customers? I despise comcast more than just about anyone, but I unfortunately don’t see another method of mass deploying network infrastructure unless you’re going to get the government (local, state, federal, whatever) to pay for it. I have heard some tales of small towns up and laying their own fiber…

        Plus, don’t forget that it would make it much more difficult for the NSA to have to go and serve National Security Letters to a bunch of different companies. Right now, they can just use their existing master agreement with Comcast to get 90% of the country’s internet traffic!

        • Titanic

          …and this is a ghost article. Didn’t see the last posts were two years ago. Oh well.

  • Concerned

    I wish cable internet was regulated likage companies. Even as a heavy internet user i’m considering dropping homr internet altogether because it’s too expensive. I don’t have Comcast tv or phone, so why am I paying $62 a month to buy just internet access?

    The government regulates the price of electricity and water because those industries tend toward absolute monarchy. Those companies still make profits, they just don’t make the gut wrenching monopolists profits that comcast makes.

    We know that Comcast can offer higher Mbps per dollar because people in korea get much faster speeds for much less, and Comcast evn offers a 105 Mbps connection for $200 which comes out to less than $2/Mbps. My connection now costs me about $6/Mbps.

    I’d be willing to pay $3, and i’m sure that would support comcast just fine!

  • Concerned

    Sorry: “likage” was originally “like electric and sewage” companies. And those industries tend toward monopoly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1075883989 Suzanne Morss

    I didn’t read it that way at all.

  • met163

    I hate COMCAST. They remind me of Verizon. Their sneaky billing system that is so confusing you don’t notice the extra 10.00 charge on your bill unless you are an eagle eye like I am now. You talk to four different customer service people on the same day and they each tell you something different, I hate that. Here north of Seattle in the burbs, I have a whopping two choices, three if you count clearwire which sounds like it will be miserable and not worth the effort. I can either pay to have stupid fios wired into my house- (yay! an extra expensive) or just go with the monopoly king comcast.
    When i was living in LA, we had ATT dsl and it was AWESOME. We were streaming videos to our TV via playon way back 5 years ago on this service and netflix via our wii. Our bill was 25 bucks a month, never extra sneaky charges or confusion- also never any outages. Even my cell phone service with Verizon had a two day outage there but NEVER my internet with ATT.
    Just three weeks ago, I was watching a show around 12:30am on my roku via Comcast 20mps and wham! internet was down until 10 am the next day. Yes I called Comcast, who had a voice system saying “oh yes, there is an outage in your area. thank you”.
    ridiculous and when I lived in lynnwood, it was even worse with their intermittent outages and slow speeds.

  • sanguiseritmeus

    You forgot Frontier FIOS. WAY better than the alternative, and comparable rates. But you actually get the speeds that you’re promised, and their customer service isn’t half bad. Their Digital TV and online guide are similar to Comcast’s-oh-sorry-I-meant-XFinity-which-must-be-a-brand-new-company-with-a-completely-different-and-superior-commitment-to-customer-service-simply-because-they-are-called-XFinity-and-not-Comcast but they’re actually way better. I hate Comcast with every fiber of my being and the fire of a thousand suns.