Do You Have a Broadband Choice?

Usually when an ISP is discussed, it is directly related to how fast their speeds are or how good their customer service may be. I often see someone get angry with their provider and Tweet out that they are planning a switch to someone new. We take for granted the fact that there are many choices and options out there, but that isn’t always the case. What happens when there are no choices? How is it possible that in this day and age there are still fairly large cities with a monopoly in place?

Look at Indianapolis, for example. It’s not a small town… we’re talking a population of 829,718. This is the eleventh largest city in the United States according to the 2010 census, yet my assistant Kat has spent hours attempting to find alternatives to Bright House and AT&T. There is nothing there, unless they want to fork over $200.00 per month for a T1 line. She’d absolutely love to have one of those, but like most of you out there – it’s not in her budget. I find it incredulous that in today’s cutthroat ISP market there is nothing else there for her to choose from.

Indy isn’t alone, either. There are large cities all across this fair country of ours who have to deal with utility monopolies. Most of the time, this is in the form of electricity and natural gas providers. Living here in Seattle, I guess I simply didn’t realize that there are still places where you are stuck with one company for your high-speed Internet service, as well.

I know that Kat and others like her should be grateful to have access to a broadband connection at all, and I know that she is. There are still millions of people in this country alone who don’t even have that option, and that’s something that the FCC is trying to address. This rant is more aimed at the fact that we shouldn’t have to deal with such monopolies in 2011, no matter what form it takes.

Are you on a proverbial desert island when it comes to choices for your ISP or other utility services? Let us hear from you in the comments.

39 thoughts on “Do You Have a Broadband Choice?”

  1. We don’t have any broadband access where I live, just 30 miles South of Memphis. So one choice is definitely better than none.

  2. We have AT&T and Charter.. AT&T only recently added Uverse so before that they had crappy DSL.. It gave me no more than 1.25 mbps.. It was hell. At least with Uverse, I’m getting 1.5 MBps

  3. My town in California, very few people in my town have DSL but there is no more slots and have been non since Oct 09. The only main ISP out here is Verizon and they are tring to offer people Dial-up and there 3G with the Data Cap. There is no competition were I am with it only being Verizon.

  4. I pay $50 for 3G were I get speeds between 2Kbps to under 200Kbps alot of times during the day. Before I moved to this area there was DSL for the place were I live when I was getting settled and when I finally did all I could get was Dial-up because the Switching station is full and been like that for 2 years now

  5. I live on a small island called the Isle of Man, just 27 miles long x 12 miles long, and were an independently run British country, with our own currency and government, and we have monopolies on EVERYTHING, except for another wireless provider recently, who helped bring prices back down to earth. Despite this, the broadband, (despite there only being one provider), reaches 16mbps at £21/month. Electricity and Gas etc are despicable. My mother lives only 40 miles away on the mainland UK, where things are SO much better, she even has Fibre-Optic Broadband for even cheaper! It’s disgusting how these companies are not only taking advantage of their position, but raki it in nd overpricing by almost double the national average, just because they can as some clients don’t have the choice the use other companies. I think that’s terrible.

  6. Chris: The entire US is held hostage to a duopoly – the teleco’s and the cable companies. You only have two choices no matter where you live. Here in Seattle, it is Qwest (now CenturyLink) and Comcast. Comcast has better service but jacks prices up 7% a year, year-in, year-out. Compared to places like Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore with fiber-to-the-home, both these services are slow and pricey. The only places with decent broadband in the US are (1) Verizon FIOS – Frontier here in Washington State – which is very fast but pricey and (2) places where cities have built fiber networks, e.g. Chattanooga and Lafayette, LA.

  7. I live just south of Indy and I still feel the pain of a monopoly. The only choice for highspeed cable broadband is Comcast, and I think you know their story. It is not only one choice, but once choice that absolutely sucks.

  8. In my neighborhood in Raleigh, NC I am stuck with TimeWarner. I have seen AT&T installation trucks getting close, and some quick inquiries to the techs in those trucks lead me to believe that my community will be in their range soon, but I’ve heard the same answer for over a year.

    FWIW – TW does have 30mb and 50mb available now at $80 & $100/mo respectively. I managed to get a discount courtesy of a very helpful TW customer service specialist. However, I will be hoping AT&T gets their act together and finally wires my community soon.

  9. I live in New Delhi, India. At $18.48 I get a decent DSL unlimited 512kbps connect which is what I think I can invest in internet. I am just stuck with the internet options in India. At around $22.48 I can get a 1mbps unlimited dsl connection. Duh.

  10. ONOS! She only has two choices! Oh wait, she can get satellite, but that is blah. Ohh, and she can use cellular, via AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. But those are also blah in comparison to Cable/DSL. And I almost forgot, she can also get Clear. That actually does a fair job at replicating wired broadband.

    So I guess she has 1 Cable, 2 DSL, 3 Satellite, 4/5/6 Cellular , 7 Clear/WiMax. I guess seven different options isn’t enough ehh?

    Come to think of it maybe she shouldn’t complain. Maybe the people with REALLY no choice should be complaining. As in they only have DSL or cable… or god forbid neither.

    1. Satellite isn’t an option for everyone. Cellular gets extremely expensive and doesn’t offer anywhere near the data “capacity” she needs to do her work properly. And Clear? Really?

  11. I live in a town of about 4000 in Kentucky, and can only get 3MB DSL (Windstream) or Satellite (which is worse than dial-up in my opinion). I grew up in Florida, where I had atleast 3 different choices in DSL/cable flavors.

  12. I live in a town of about 4000 in Kentucky, and can only get 3MB DSL (Windstream) or Satellite (which is worse than dial-up in my opinion). I grew up in Florida, where I had atleast 3 different choices in DSL/cable flavors.

  13. My choices are Cablevision or AT&T. I had U-Verse, but recently switched to Cablevision both because of the cost and because AT&T is imposing usage caps on their internet service. I believe that I have a couple DSL companies available to me, but I need to have an AT&T landline to be able to use them.

  14. I’m just 30 miles west of Ann Arbor, MI and my choices are…Verizon Wireless 3G. Or satellite. Or dialup.

    My saving grace is that I’m a grandfathered Alltel customer with a true unlimited aircard account. When I upgraded the device last fall I made them print out a copy of the contract and prove to me on *their* computer system my account has no 5GB cap. My speeds are terrible — I went from a happy 2.2-2.5MB download with Alltel to 20KB after the merger — but it beats babysitting a FAP meter.

    I’ll never, EVER go with a low capped service again. It’s not worth the headache, especially if you have teenagers.

  15. yup I live in honolulu hawaii and for us it TW roadrunner or hawaian tel. TW cable and hawaian tel phone line. and roadrunner hear is a bunch of crap. Timewarner is dishing out SA 2100 modems for all Internet, regular, turbo and now that they say the speeds have doubled so they no longer offer extream. and to me extreme is probably the only service that had a chance because it didn’t have power boost. if u think about it what does power boost do but give you a inconsistent speed to the Internet and is probably why it so unrelyable. commen sence is a steady speed is always going to be better then one that changes every time it feels like it. buy I’m just a user what do I know. i know what doesnt work roadrunner! and we cant buy a modem and use it on their service only what they give out…. and not only that the new iPad app to stream tv to it not avalible hear to why? because they know the crap ass network doesn’t work so it would expose to everyone that they Realy don’t offer what they advertise. another ISP needs to come to Hawaii and I can garentee it will make a killing on people jumping from TW rr to whatever they offer. but freedom these day is not free so this is how things will be for a long time here, figuring that china owns us anyways so say thanks to the people that run this state and contry for the gray job they do. after all everyone that has any say in today’s world were all hipEeeez….. well lifes a bit.. and you die that’s why we get HI…..808

  16. Houston, TX

    Where I live, I can only get Comcast, and I am IN THE CITY. The DSL lines don’t offer anything above 1.5 Mbps, which I no longer consider to be broadband. I suppose I could try Clearwire, but, having an EVO, I know that the reception in my house would not be adequate, and wimax is just not a reliable technology in general.

  17. When I lived in Dallas, my wonderful HOA had signed an agreement with a second rate telecom to provide service to the building for 15 years. Yep. So I had one option and it was a bad option. When I moved to the suburbs I had one option but at least it was a better option. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in Texas, municipalities negotiate extremely long franchise agreements. They make a lot of money off of these, but it’s bad for their citizens so a lot of cities no longer allow a local monopoly. My suburb did until recently, and it is my understanding that some time over the next five years both FiOS and Uverse will be options.

  18. We live about 2 hours south of St. Louis, MO in a very rural area, and as another poster had said “my choices are…Verizon Wireless 3G. Or satellite. Or dialup.” Of those three we’re using dialup as only that one is affordable..

  19. We live about 2 hours south of St. Louis, MO in a very rural area, and as another poster had said “my choices are…Verizon Wireless 3G. Or satellite. Or dialup.” Of those three we’re using dialup as only that one is affordable..

  20. My options are AT&T or Cox.

    AT&T
    3.0 MBps @ $19.99/month
    6.0 MBps @ 24.99/month

    Cox
    1.0 MBps @ 24.99/month
    3.0 MBps @ 34.99/month
    15 MBps @ $48.99/month
    25 MBps @ $61.99/month
    50 MBps @ $89.99/month

    So yeah. There’s no real competition- the two companies have ceded opposite sides of the market to each other. For value, you have to go AT&T, for speed, you have to go cox.

  21. I live in Hong Kong. We have a dsl-like service which is 30mbps, a cable modem service that is 130mbps, and a fiber option that is 1gbps, all for less than $30US a month. Unfortunately those speeds are only for “local” websites, ie Hong Kong. Overseas site have to fight their way across some smallish underwater cables. We also have to sign a 2-year commitment, kind of like a mobile phone contract.

  22. I live in Hong Kong. We have a dsl-like service which is 30mbps, a cable modem service that is 130mbps, and a fiber option that is 1gbps, all for less than $30US a month. Unfortunately those speeds are only for “local” websites, ie Hong Kong. Overseas site have to fight their way across some smallish underwater cables. We also have to sign a 2-year commitment, kind of like a mobile phone contract.

  23. I live in Greensboro, NC (270,000 people) and we have two well actually 3 choices here. First is Slime Warner Cable. Actually, I have a pretty decent deal with them right now. $34.95 for 10mbs down/512K up. It also has turbo boost which will give you about 14-15mbs for a short time. I have plenty of downstream speed but wish the upload speed were better. AT&T is the other choice but had to dump them last fall due to having problems with them all of a sudden that I’d never had before. My modem kept losing connection with the central office. I called tech support, had technicians out, replaced modems, etc but they could never fix it. They only offer up to 6mpbs down/384K up. It was OK until it started giving problems. Clear has service here and I’ve thought of that but I’ve also seen first hand how unreliable that can be at times. The NC General Assembly has been pushed by the duopoly for years to pass a bill that outlaws NC towns and cities from offering Fiber to the home. There is one such system in Wilson, NC and another in Salisbury, NC. The retarded republicons who recently took majority control in Raleigh for the first time in years have passed HB 129 restricting municipal broadband. Fortunately, the democratic governor will probably veto this bill like 70% of the other nonsense they’ve sent to her desk recently. Maybe in time we will all have more affordable and faster bandwidth. 10mbs is adequate I only wish the upstream with Slime Warner was better.

  24. I live in Inglewood, CA, a fairly sizable city and I can only use Road Runner. Previously I had Comcast and it was blazingly fast.

  25. Wow, and here I thought it was bad lol.

    I’m from a small town in Scotland, UK with a population of just 8,000 or so. I have a choice of over 7 different providers, great variety of packages on each provider. I’m currently on a 24mb ADSL2+ package with 200/300kb upload (not a great upload speed i know) and unlimited bandwidth on Be(Bethere) internet which is owned by o2. Here in the UK, we have ALOT of choice.

    1. that package also came with a static IP and all for just £22 a month excluding BT line rental (which is relatively expensive but worth it… support is great and fantastic speeds 24/7)

Comments are closed.