Monday, June 23, 2008

What's the best way to connect to the intertubes?

I need to figure out if I want to continue using Verizon DSL in my new home or go with a cable modem. Verizon would mean I'd have to have a land line, which I don't really feel like I need except for in that panicked moment when I call 911 and I want my actual address to pop up on their screen in case I can't talk or something. The cable modem would mean getting cable, which I also don't think I need because just about everything I watch is on DVD (sometimes I even watch stuff, like Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock and My name is Earl, on the web).

Isn't there a way to have high-speed internet access without paying for crap I don't need? There's Clearwire, I guess, but I've heard it sort of sucks. Verizon sort of sucks sometimes, too. I don't know about Roadrunner. Does it suck?

Somebody tell me what to do.


Ross Grady said...

Until Verizon brings their fiber to your door (they'll claim they have it there already, on their website, but they're vicious liars, most likely), Roadrunner is your fastest option. We pay the extra $10 for Turbo, which is 10 megabit downstream (still a puny 500kb upstream, though, for some stupid reason). Various speed test websites have confirmed that we do in fact get that approximate level of speed.

My current cellphone has GPS built into its chipset, and yours probably does too, to help solve that 911 problem, so just make sure you're calling 911 from outdoors, with a clear view of the sky, and they'll be able to find you. ;-)

(they also do tower triangulation, but that's not as precise)

If you're a real connectivity-nerd, though, it's worth calling Verizon to ask them when they're going to have fiber in your neighborhood. My impression is that the first-level rep will say "you probably already do!" in a spritely tone, and then come back and make excuses once they realize you don't. We've been told that for downtown, at least, it's 3-4 years away.

Here are their technical terms for their service levels, just for fun (the first three levels are plain old DSL):

Level 1: 1 ½ Meg download, and 768K upload
Level 2: 3 Meg download and 1 ½ Meg upload
Level 3: 7 Meg download and 768K upload
Level 4: Fiber for Data Service which provides 10 – 20 – 30 Meg
Level 5: FIOS

(FIOS is their fancy-pantsy service that's like 50MB and also includes voice & television. Last I heard we shouldn't hold our breath to get it, as they have to install a bunch of video-hub infrastructure to provide it & Durham's not dense enough.)

Lisa B. said...

At this point really high speed isn't my biggest worry--I'm OK with sort of high speed. I want to keep costs down. Right now we have Verizon's lowest-level (i.e. cheapest) DSL, and while it it a tad slow, I can live with it. What I really hate is how every time it rains the connection hiccups. I'm not sure why it has a problem with rain, but I swear it does.

Also, my cell phone is really cheapo (Motorola C139). Do even cheapo phones have GPS in their chipsets?

weege said...

You don't have to get cable TV with Roadrunner. I have their basic service and it runs about $45 a month. I work from home a couple days a week and I've never had issues with speed or connection. They also have a "Lite" service that runs around $25. Might be worth looking into if you want to drop that land line.

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Libby said...

clearwire sucks in durham - please don't waste your money.

we pay $45/mo. for twc's roadrunner, which is pretty reliable and pretty fast too.

over-not-under said...

We like Road Runner ourselves and have had great service. You can just get the internet service without the tv service. Its great! No complaints.

Barry said...

i had a hell of a time back in the day when i moved from my previous residence with Verizon DSL to my new residence. Seems they couldn't arrange to have one service shut off and the other turned on more or less simultaneously. So we tried to run with a dial-up account to bridge the 3 week gap, since i couldn't be without internet at all for that time.

Unfortunately, the 3 week gap turned into something like 6 weeks, i wasn't able to use the same email address for both accounts, all of the emails that went into my dialup mailbox got lost at a critical time in my divorce process, and we never really got a firm date for the install of DSL at the new place.

Finally, we called TW, they installed RR the same day, and we never looked back.

Except for when Verizon billed us for 6 months of DSL service which we had never received.

TW ain't exactly cheap, though.

Lisa B. said...

Yeah, the thing about the cable service is it's more expensive, and right now I really have to count pennies. So the Verizon is slower and cuts out when it rains, but its cheaper'. I think I'm going to start with it ... they told me it will be on two days after the phone. I don't use their Verizon email address, so that doesn't matter.

Maybe I'll upgrade to the cable stuff if the legislature decides to give me mo' money this year. which means maybe I won't upgrade ...

andrew said...

The answer is to move to Canada. We can get cable internet from the TV company without having TV at all. They question it everytime we speak to them, but they never force us to.

Jeni said...

TW also has roadrunner lite which is more budget friendly. You may not know this, but if you actually call up TW and talk to someone and tell them you're really want to have the high speed but can't afford it, they can knock the price down for you.

I got my roadrunner and cable for $75 after tax and that's more then $20 less a month then advertised (and without signing years of contracts). Just ask if that's the best price they can give you. You may be surprised.