Cord Cutting: How to Get High-Speed Internet Service Without Cable

Xconomy National — 

[Updated article for 2017 is here, 10/25/17.] Last fall I wrote a column called Please, Keep Paying $80 a Month for Cable So I Can Enjoy Cheap TV. The article was addressed to folks who complain about the exorbitant fees they’re paying to Comcast or AT&T for premium cable bundles. Adopting a cheeky, sarcastic tone—which is unusual for me, but I was making a point—I argued that their pain is mostly self-inflicted, since it’s possible to watch Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and most popular cable-network shows at much lower cost by ditching your cable subscription and getting all your TV over the Internet.

The piece struck a nerve and generated scores of angry comments and e-mails. One group of comments went roughly like this, but a little less polite: “Your cord-cutting is all well and good, but don’t you still have to pay the cable company for your Internet service? And if you buy a lot of shows à la carte, do you really end up saving money?”

Those are good questions that deserve answers. Then this week I got an interesting note from a woman named Candace, whose husband had literally cut the Comcast cable while futzing around in their back yard. Like me, Candace and her husband only watch streaming video over their Apple TV, and they aren’t necessarily in a rush to get Comcast to send a repair crew, since its charges for Internet-only service (when it’s not bundled with phone or cable TV service) are considerable. Candace, who had discovered my article online, wrote: “My question for you is, what is my best Internet source, and how much should I pay a month?”

Also a good question. Candace’s predicament inspired me to pull together some information about how to get Internet service without paying a dime to the cable monopolies. Below, I’ll run you through the main options.

But first, let me explain my own setup. I confess that it’s easy for me to sneer at cable subscribers, since I’m in an ideal place to lead a cord-cutter’s lifestyle. The building where I live and work in San Francisco is connected to a wireless Internet service provider or WISP called Webpass that offers a blazing fast 100 megabits per second (Mbps) for both downloads and uploads. Webpass is simply fantastic; it’s the fastest connection I’ve ever enjoyed, at home or in a workplace. But the Webpass service, which depends on a line-of-sight radio connection to nearby microwave towers, is limited to specific buildings in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, San Diego, and Miami. So I’m very lucky. (Update: Webpass is expanding to Boston in 2015.)

As far as my costs go, here’s the breakdown. The Webpass connection costs $500 per year or $41.66 per month. At least half of my Internet usage is work-related, so I’d put the streaming media portion of my Internet bill at roughly $20 per month. My other TV-related expenses include $8 per month for Netflix and an average of $15 per month for movies and TV show rentals and purchases at the iTunes Store. So my total video entertainment budget is about $43 per month.

That’s far below the average U.S. cable TV bill of $78 per month. Unfortunately, the strain that cable bills are putting on household budgets is only going to get worse over time, given the fact that cable subscription costs have historically grown at four times the rate of inflation. Then there’s the ongoing consolidation in the cable business: find me someone who believes that the AT&T-DirecTV and Comcast-Time Warner megamergers will lead to lower cable rates, and I’ll show you someone who’s been watching too much Forrest Gump on AMC.

If you’re like Candace and her husband and you want Internet video but don’t feel like paying Comcast (and you don’t care about live sports), what are your options? That depends mostly on where you live. Webpass’s service is still very limited, but there are more WISPs popping up in urban areas, offering decent speeds at reasonable costs, so it’s worth finding out whether there’s one in your neighborhood. The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association has an online directory where you can search for local WISPs in North America. Here on the east side of San Francisco, for example, there’s a second WISP called Monkeybrains; for a $250 setup fee and $35 per month they’ll supply you with up to 20 mbps.

The other options fall into three categories: old-fashioned DSL, satellite Internet, and fiber optic. Below is some baseline data I’ve dug up around the Web showing connection speeds and monthly costs for various providers. I’m only listing the largest providers with the biggest national footprints; there may be smaller regional providers in your area, such as CenturyLink, Windstream, or Mediacom.

DSL

Verizon
0.5 to 1 Mbps $25
1.1 to 15 Mbps $35

Earthlink DSL
1.5 Mbps $30-$40
3.0 Mbps $35-$45
5.0 Mbps and higher: $40-$50

AT&T High-Speed Internet
1.5 Mbps $25*
3.0 Mbps $30*
6.0 Mbps $35*
* These prices cover the first six months of service. After that, a “standard rate” applies, but AT&T’s website doesn’t explain what the standard rate is. AT&T also charges a $99 Installation fee, a $49 Service Activation fee, and a $6 monthly equipment fee.

Satellite

Hughesnet Satellite
5 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up $50
10 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up $60
10 Mbps down / 2 Mbps up $80
15 Mbps down / 2 Mbps up $130

Dish Satellite
5 Mbps down with 10 GB data cap $40
10 Mbps down with 20 GB data cap $50
10 Mbps down with 30 GB data cap $70

Exede Internet (from WildBlue)
12 Mbps down / 3 Mbps up with 10 GB data cap $50
12 Mbps down / 3 Mbps up with 15 GB data cap $80
12 Mbps down / 3 Mbps up with 25 GB data cap $130

Fiber Optic

AT&T U-Verse
3 Mbps $15*
12 Mbps $20*
24 Mbps $30*
* These prices cover the first 12 months of service. AT&T doesn’t publish its standard rates for service beyond 12 months. There’s a data cap of 250 GB per month. There’s a $29 installation fee and a $49 service activation fee.

Verizon FiOS*
50 Mbps down / 25 Mbps up $75
75 Mbps down / 35 Mbps up $85
* FiOS is available in 20 cities: New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC, Hagerstown, MD, Los Angeles, CA, Tampa, FL, St. Petersburg, FL, Sarasota, FL, Manchester, MA, Dallas, TX, Ft. Worth, TX, Pittsburgh, PA, Providence, RI, New Bedford, MA, Richmond, VA, Petersburg, VA, Norfolk, VA, and Newport News, VA.

Google Fiber*
1,000 Mbps $70
5 Mbps $0 + $300 construction fee
* Google Fiber is only available in Kansas City, MO, and Provo, UT, but it’s likely coming to Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, Charlotte, NC, Nashville, TN, Phoenix, AZ, Portland, OR, Raleigh-Durham, NC, San Antonio, TX, and San Jose, CA.

There you have it. If you know of other good options in your area, please leave a note in the comments.

Given that DSL is barely fast enough to support streaming video, most consumers who want to access TV content over the Internet without becoming cable subscribers will probably gravitate toward satellite service (which works almost anywhere, but has stringent data caps) or AT&T’s U-Verse fiber optic network (which is still limited in geographic scope).

Cost-wise, U-Verse is a pretty good deal. For $30 per month you can get 24 Mbps, which is plenty fast for streaming video. Add Netflix and iTunes and your total costs will still be below $50 per month. Satellite Internet is slower and more expensive: if you shell out for a decent speed like 15 Mbps, your costs are going to rise back up into the Comcast range or above, so it’s not clear that satellite is preferable to cable Internet.

My best advice to Candace and everyone else: move to an urban neighborhood with more connectivity options, or keep paying your cable bill for now while keeping an eye on WISPs and fiber providers to see what’s coming to your area. Note as well that it’s usually possible to knock a few bucks off your cable bill by calling your cable company’s customer service line and telling them you’re thinking about defecting to some other service. Bring data like the numbers above, and be nice about it. May the force of persuasion be with you.

Postscript: If you’re just looking for basic TV service, the services above may be overkill. It’s easy to forget that there’s still plenty of great, completely free programming coming to you over the air from local television stations broadcasting in high definition. (Here in the San Francisco Bay Area there are between 20 and 30 such stations.) So your best investment might be a $30 indoor digital TV antenna from a company like Northvu. There’s even an interesting startup called Tablo that’s building an HDTV tuner that acts like a DVR, with a nice smartphone/tablet interface that lets you select which broadcast shows to record.

[Editor’s note: An updated article for 2017 is here.]

The beautiful photo of a TV on the beach, above, is by Flickr user Michael Shaheen.

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  • georgebeach

    Cut the cord years ago – Need a 6mb connection or better. Never looked back! Already have saved thousands!

  • Kelderic

    My current options are Brighthouse Networks or AT&T Uverse. The Uverse, without cable, is offered at 6Mb/s and 15Mb/s (maybe their speeds are different in different areas). The cost though is far greater than the numbers you have. Without bundling, it’s $40 for the 6Mb/s, and $60 for 15Mb/s.

    (Also please fix the units in your article. Speeds are given in MB/s and Mb/s. mb/s is meaningless. Capitalization changes what a speed is. Example: 1MB/s = 8Mb/s.)

    • Thanks Kelderic. Units fixed. (That was an error unbecoming of an MIT grad!) Costs are a slippery thing: there is very little transparency in this market. For one thing, as you’ll note from my table above, companies like AT&T rarely disclose their standard rates: they only shows you the promotional rates for the first 6 to 12 months of service. Also, rates vary by geography. It was tricky finding the data above, as most ISPs ask you to enter a valid street address before they’ll tell you about availability and rates for different parts of the country.

      • georgebeach

        Network speeds are always described using bits and never bytes,

  • georgebeach

    If you have a wifi connection to the internet that is 100mbps that does NOT mean that YOU have 100mbps. You have to understand that the 100mbps is shared with everyone inside that building, and maybe everyone attached to the wireless Access Point! So your real speed may differ. Use a site like speedtest to verify your speed, know this can change depending on how many people are using it at any given time.

    Network Engineer/Cisco Certified

    • Georgebeach: Thanks for the comment, and point taken. Believe it or not, I do have 100 mbps or close to it most of the time. I just ran speedtest and at the moment I’m at 91 Mbps down and 77 Mbps up.

      • georgebeach

        nice – Service provider connection must be better than 100mbps. Can’t wait for Google to get the country wired. Enjoy

    • Anna Smaya

      I’m paying comcast for 100mbps, getting download 56mbps and upload 6mbps Bother’s me i’m paying for twice what i’m actually getting.

      • kymykat

        Oops sorry spammer. Anna I relied to you above

  • veezee

    You forgot to mention Comcast Business Internet Service. 16Mb down/ 3Mb up, no data cap for about $70. Its price competitive with the only WISP available in Boston, but faster. I’m not a Comcast fan, but competition in this market is hard to find.

    • Hey Veezee. In this article I wanted to focus on consumer services (since Xperience is the consumer section of Xconomy). Can you sign up for Comcast Business Internet Service if you’re not a business? Also, what is the name of the WISP in Boston that you mentioned? Thanks.

      • noc007

        Yes, residences can get Comcast Business Internet and it can be signed up under an individual’s name. I ran it at my house concurrently with Residential TV service. People need to understand what they’re getting into before signing up as the cancelation process is entirely different.

    • Kroooooosta

      What about rcn? I’ve had it for a few years, much cheaper than comcast and great speeds.

  • Clarification

    Most U-Verse is FTTN and thus still uses Copper/DSL. So, your split of ATT into a DSL service and a fiber service (and likening U-Verse to Google Fiber) above and your claims about DSL not supporting streaming video are both highly misleading. ATT, CenturyLink and others offer high speeds over DSL where the fiber is far enough and the copper length is short enough. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT%26T_U-verse

    • As I wrote, the answer to Candace’s original question is that it depends mostly on where you live. With DSL that can come down to how far you are from the central office. You and georgebeach are right that some people have DSL that’s fast enough for streaming video.

      It’s true that U-Verse doesn’t send a fiber optic cable all the way into your house. (Wouldn’t that be great: we’d need a new type of port on our laptops and routers!) But as far as I know it’s the only large-scale service that offers fiber to the neighborhood/node or FTTN as you put it.

      • Clarification

        Fiber to the home would be great and it wouldn’t require any new ports on our laptops or routers. An ONT or fiber jack does the translation to ethernet for a router and relative to laptops it seems like most people use wireless from their router regardless of how the router gets a signal. (but in any case you could keep any ethernet hard line from a router to the laptop as is with fiber to the home given the ONT) Our laptops don’t have different ports for Telco DSL versus Cable Docsis either. https://support.google.com/fiber/answer/2667494?hl=en

        Still seems to me that labeling a product which includes DSL into the home as not-DSL is a bit misleading. Basically all ATT incorporates DSL unless you’re talking about a limited rollout in Austin of a gigapower branded version.

        As far as large scale FTTN, here is one additional US example: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/centurylinks-puckett-74m-households-are-our-fttn-product/2013-08-09

        Beyond that there aren’t huge telephone companies in the US:
        http://www.leichtmanresearch.com/press/052014release.html

      • docpco

        I just had a Time-Warner tech inform me that they have fiber optic to the neighborhood node (at least in my area of El Paso, TX), and from there copper cable.

  • Uverse is $56 per month for the 12 Mbps service off-contract. This is not hard to find on their site, but you may have to go through getting a quote for a specific address. Perhaps it varies by address, as well, but I had no problem seeing the non-promotional price separately from the 12 month discount. (I looked it up for a neighbor’s address, but this price is consistent with my off-discount Uverse monthly bill.)

    • Thanks Grant, that’s extremely useful info. Yesterday I couldn’t get the AT&T site to give me a quote for any address whatsoever. I don’t think they like me.

      • They don’t like me, either, and I’m a customer!

  • GaryE

    At least for NFL FAns there is NFL Game Rewind which provides day-after video library of webcasts for every single NFL game. They usually maintain the entire season archived so you can catch up or go watch a game you read about that was particularly good. There is no app so far and it only works on PC at the moment. I use a Dell laptop as the media server “set-top box” for my setup so i see the games on the big screen that way. Fyi, i have DSL and it works pretty well with most internet video — a little less so for the NFL service but more than workable.

    • Thanks Gary. Other sports leagues such as MLB also seem to be offering more ways to catch up on sports news and even sports video outside of live TV, such as the MLB At Bat app. But if you’re a big live sports fan, you’re still going to be stuck shelling out your hard-earned dollars to the cable monopolies. Sometimes I think of the entertainment industry as the NCAA-NFL-Fox-Disney-Comcast Complex.

  • I really hope Google Fiber grows.

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  • Dormie

    I see some people mentioning problems with AT&T UVerse’s bundling pricing plans. I sort of gamed the system. I took advantage of a deal they were offering where I could get free installation with the purchase of a TV and internet package. I did this, then immediately canceled my TV. I pay $63 monthly for up to 13 Mb/s, now.

    • properthwacking

      That’s too expensive.

  • NeverLetMeGo

    Here in New York there are already large parts of the city where you can get internet access for free from home. Google provided it for free to my entire section of Manhattan.
    I think that is the wave of the future at least in cities and towns.

  • kathy

    What about us?…….people who are off the grid…….we have no telephone or cable lines available unless we pay thousands of dollars to have them put in which is about 5 miles. Do we have any options for internet besides ‘hot spot’ from cell phone companies, which are sky high

    • Tip: Living off the Grid means it is hard to connect to the grid.

      • Tara

        This is true, but it still.shouldnt cost an arm or leg to get a company to run a cable line or figer optic line out to your house either. If it werent for greed, everyone could afford internet and everything else.

        • Tim Johnson

          If you’re the only person paying for a line run to your home, it logically will cost an arm and a leg. Don’t assume greed is what is driving it.

      • Wendy/NICO

        And living off the grid … Isn’t waht I want .. I’m disabled and poor… I can’t afford a city or anything except this hell hole ! But ! I did and I do go to Verizonfios… I have every movie channel and to many channels but the mid range high speed internet .. I told them I would only change if I could get my cable (Comcast ) price or it might have been. Another company … So I’m paying 84.00 a month including taxes and phone internet and DVR and Tony channels … I can’t see how cutting my cord will help! All the prices and then with my Apple TV or Roku we can get showtime and HBO now .. So if I go to straight internet … Im paying double ? I have to keep fios … And when they try and raise it I say … Ok leaving ! And it’s dropped down … It’s getting annoying to keep having to call … I just can’t see paying more and getting internet only for my Roku and Apple TV and all my wifi ? And btw! I would love to live in San Fran ! I can’t afford that and I don’t and didnt want to live here !

    • rit

      google are trying to spread fiber optics to plenty of out of grid areas. try to find out out it, i know that they are working hard in kansas right now. but you need to get enough people to opt into it. internet is generally free or cheaper.

  • Christy

    Just an FYI on ATT DSL internet; I found much better prices/discounts on this page http://www.buyatt.com/high-speed-internet/ instead of the one listed in the article. $15 for all speeds except the highest which is $20. Not sure how long that is for but better than the starting price of $25 for the lowest DSL speed on that attsavings site.

  • Fin

    In Tampa, FIOS pricing has gone up twice in about half a year. It now costs $100/mo for 25/25 Mb/s internet-only service. Their next step down is 3/1 service at $75/mo, which is a terrible value, and a useless speed of service. They used to have other value options, like 15/15, but no more. When I spoke with them about how unaffordable their service is now, they basically told me that they don’t have any competition in my market, and they had no way for me to reduce my monthly bill while keeping a more usable speed.

    • Wendy/NICO

      Try telling them you don’t want any of their services … See if they drop it .. Tell them you want to discontinue ! I do it all the time to Verizon and even if they don’t have “competing ” companies pretend you don’t care and don’t want internet ? I bet they lower it ? It’s better than losing customers ? Good luck

  • Joe

    In Tampa I see Brighthouse is offering 10 Mbps for $54/month, at the moment.

    • mcclearyfl

      Going up to $59 next month.

  • Cait Sal

    Get a Rabbit TV! just $10 a year and it gives current seasons of TV shows so you dont have to wait for them to show up on Netflix and Hulu after the season is over!

    • mdt

      but that doesn’t solve the internet problem…

  • Alex

    Denver, Co must be the best place. Century Link offers 40 mbps for $30.00 a month.

  • Milen Videnov

    Really, really nice article! Thank you! However, recently I found a site which offers comparing services(they compare internet, cable, phone services and show you the best option for you) and I want to share it with you. It is http://www.bestcheapinternet.com/ and I’m very satisfied with them

    • SPAM FILTER

      SPAMMER – I just went to “YOUR” suggested site and it was $20.00 MORE per month than what I can get elsewhere for the same Performance Internet at 25Mbps with the same provider. YOUR suggested site is over 30% higher than the cable company directly! SPAMMER

      • kymykat

        My comment is for ANNA SMAYA. I hope you dumped them and reported them. Are we all so tired of being ripped off everyday!!!!!!

  • Anna Smaya

    I haven’t had cable TV in over 4 years, I cut the cable a long time ago. I do, however, pay for internet and cringe every month at my $50-$79 broadband bill. It varies based on service changes and promotional endings. I’ll call as soon as they up the bill and work it out back to the $49.99/month range. If not for streaming video to watch the few TV shows I like on the internet I’d go back to dial up just to save money. At $9.95 a month DSL might be slow, but if all you are doing is internet surfing, email, twitter, forums, and research for school that is really all you need. Paying for more if you aren’t using it becomes a waste of money. I admit I’m spoiled by my broadband speed though, can’t imagine returning to 1.3-5mbps.

  • Alexandria Regilio

    Hi Wade — Can you explain to me how AT&T’s UVerse is so much faster than my current Comcast internet? I want to cut the cable, but AT&T just offered me internet at 3Mbps (and phone) for $34.95 for the first year, then it will go up to $61. The sales rep told me the UVerse 3Mbps was all I need for “super fast” tv watching. Right now I have 105Mbps through Comcast and the videos still skip every once in a while. I’m so confused. What is a consumer to do!!!???

  • Robert Flick

    Hi,
    I made a promise to my wife about three years ago to save us a $1000.00 a year, probably much more. She laughed! We’re both living on S.S. the 401k thing……well…….
    We live near San Bernardino, Ca, from the roof of our house the antennas on Mt Wilson are about 50 miles away and are visable.
    Here’s the way. Fastest internet from U Verse, they say 45 mbps, 22 is more real…….$61.00 mo
    Magicjack internet phone service,……………………………………………………………………………..3.00 mo
    Netflix, fast internet makes it work……………………………………………………………………………9.00 mo
    Amazon Prime, Prime is different then Netflix……………………………………………………………9.00 mo
    Hulu, most current TV a day later and much much more……………………………………………9.00 mo
    The sub total is………………………………………………………………………………………………………90.00 mo
    That’s $1.00 over U Verse current basic cable, decent internet……………………………………1.00 mo
    Now subtract ATT phone service…………………………………………………………………………..-$80.00 mo
    Figure it out when you minus the phone, H.D. charges, equipment fees, taxes. We’re so minus they should be sending us money.
    Then there were costs to get litteraly thousands of more channels.
    Moho high gain indoor antenna, return on Ebay $45.00, Roku streaming device at Walmart for $80.00 and a private channel for Roku, Playon one time fee of $39.00. Cost to buy MagicJack $50.00.
    We spent quite a bit to start this all, well over U Verse’s last bill of $105.00 plus tax.
    If have to have cable, Roku has a Time Warner app, you need TWC internet and cable but you can forego the cost of cable boxes and use Roku, more then one! So cable to say three TVs with no wires, Roku is wireless. The newest being HDMI plug in.
    The Moho antenna gets over 100 L.A. stations! Roku has 1000’s of apps and the very greatest number are free. Netflix more then movies and more then you could ever watch, 1914 to 2014. Amazon Prime more good stuff with a lot of cable programs a season later. Hulu most of current TV a day later and last but not least Playon, if you get nothing else get Playon on your computer and connect it to your TV. Pretty much all broadcast TV as soon as the show is over. And more, all of it! Next time I’ll tell you how I dropped our AC bill from $450.00 to $70.00 a month. The Electric Company thought we were stealing electric.
    One import last thing you have to have decent internet to make it all work and unfortunetly it will cost probably $60.00 a month for 20 mbps, 15 mbps works most of the time. Pay the other $5.00!
    Triple D is on Netflix and Playon. Can’t promise anything except we’ve seen the titles.
    I’m watching Criminal Minds right now, this week’s show. Wife watched on broadcast and I’m watching on Hulu. No wires, cable boxes, DVRs and if it’s in H D it’s no cost.
    Enjoy, Bob

  • janrobt

    I am so aggravated with all of it. We live outside of Nashville and all we can have is Excede. We have our house for sale and can not sell because ppl that have cable do not understand how Excede works. We like it and it runs faster than cable, BUT we should have options. Cable comes with in a half mile one way and 2 house down the other and no one will serve us.

  • pipingNtheSunshine

    well thanks for rubbing our noses in the fact that you are so blessed to live where you live and giving us no useable info in this article but thanks again for listing all the companies that aren’t available to be because of Suddenlink’s internet monopoly in our area :) gee your great!

  • Hacker

    Or, do what I do, WARNING: THIS IS COMPLETELY ILLEGAL….pay someone that works for a company to supply you with free cable and internet, all you do is pay $200 dollars and have free internet and cable :)

  • FukComcunts

    So basically unless you are located in one of these few spots youre stuck with cable. Thanks.

  • common joe

    Though I am completely jealous of anyone with 100+ down and anything over 10 up (especially the gig services popping up), I have to agree with many who indicate that this article is very specific to only a few areas. I’d say it doesn’t reach over 85-90% of our nation, probably more. The simple fact is that the majority of those seeking internet services are stuck with high speed dial-up or satellite signals (which are expensive and spotty at best). So if you wanted to be realistic, you would stop and consider if you were in the country with no cable or fiber options, what would your best options be? What speeds are realistic? I’m thinking you should realistically expect to use a phone company (cell or high speed over phone lines) and doubtful you would get more than 5-10 down and more than 4 up. I don’t think that it is at all reasonable for “Best Advice” regarding poor internet service to be to move.

  • Seed Planter

    Broadband is my only choice. I’ve heard that Comcast has the pocket books of Illinois politicians, so there’s not much hope of any change. I don’t like Comcast or AT&T. :/

  • cate

    What I find amazing is the lack of any mention of this option: write and vote! Monopolies must be illegal! Take a political stance tell the people you elected! Vote for those who support this view and will take steps in congress to protect freedom of choice via open competition! In all things not just signal providers! We are not powerless lambs! Speak out people!

    • Alex R

      Agree to an extent. Although until we get to the root issue of campaign finance, the corps are likely to often find it easy to convince politicians that they don’t have a monopoly. They just need to argue that there are 2-3 providers over region X (which could include one cable co., one phone co., maybe one decent wireless internet provider), even if it’s easier for them to jockey around and come out with similarly high-priced packages. Particularly after contract-required intro rates that might give more of an air of competition.

    • Michael

      The new con Congress couldn’t care less what you or anyone else thinks. Whatever redistributes the wealth upwards to the corporate elite the quickest is their only motivation and concern.

      • Dino-the-Wonder-Dog

        Oh really? And Obama’s (unaffordable) AHA takes taxpayers money and funnels billions to insurance companies while We The Common People are FORCED to buy “health care plans” with high monthly premiums and high deductables…..meaning you cant afford to go to a doctor. There is little difference between Democrats & Republicrats. Now the FCC is trying to secretly get legislation passed and/or new regulations that will make the internet a “regulated utility” which Big Brother can tax and control content. This means no more free speech! AND higher cable internet access bills.

        • smb11

          I couldn’t get affordable insurance without the ACA. Under the ACA, I am paying $226 for a Silver Plan.
          There is nothing secret about the push for net neutrality. Phones are a regulated utility. Have you experienced any censorship?

  • Hemi

    When you look at world wide type of service provided to citizens of other countries, how much they pay, speed of upload/download (a few have 100 mbtyes up and down) and add to the fact we are not even in the top ten for services (we were beaten by several third world countries) you begin to sizzle. I don’t mind paying for a good product, but the product should be good and as good as the norm. We Americans have to learn to DEMAND what we pay for. We make it too easy for the corporate world to meet or beat their financial goals without any benefits coming our way. Frankly I’m disgusted. I have been with exede less than a month and I’m already looking for something that meets my standard for what I am paying, they don’t. I do not like staying up till midnight so I can stream video and forget about TIVO.

  • Blaze4

    Why left out tons of local Fiber Internet, sonic.net and,wireless wi-max service. Used http://www.broadbandmap.gov/ .

  • Blaze4

    Why left out tons of local Fiber Internet, sonic.net and,wireless wi-max service. Used http://www.broadbandmap.gov/ .

  • 18235

    it just seems like there is NO cheap stand-alone internet; have to bundle with some expensive phone or tv to get cheap internet.

    • Bre

      There IS if you don’t mind it not being the best Internet available. I had time Warner Cable and only paid 15 a month for 3 mbps. It worked fine…not awesome just fine but its all i needed. Now I moved to reno (where they don’t service) and I don’t want tv just Internet! I’m so irritated at how hard it is to find a decent price and everyone forces you to bundle. I want you back time Warner!

      • properthwacking

        IS there or ISN’T there? You argued for both sides. But obviously, it is location specific, and depends on whether the duopoly exercises control over your locale or if they are still competing appropriately.

  • Kris

    I think we should all commit to writing our representatives to tell them we need legislation to not allow monopolies. With little to no choices, we are stuck with high prices and bad service. Big business should not be dictating things, the market should, and that is why we need competition. Also concerned that we do not have the same internet speeds as other developed nations here in the U.S., and that we accept this?! Folks, we are not powerless, and need to write our representatives, and start voting! http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

    • Sean245

      Its legislation that produces monopolies. With so many legal hoops to jump through from the FCC,state and federal utilities laws, taxes, and fees you have to be able to keep an army of lawyers on staff just to survive, not to mention lobbyist. It’s very difficult for start up to do that. The answer is less regulation not more.

    • OIFVET

      Or you can start your own ISP and stop complaining that others are successful at what they do.

  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    I was really surprised to see the speeds and prices you quoted are really quite expensive. No cheaper than Comcast, and quite a bit slower. So what’s the point?

  • AveryFreeman

    There’s one called TSS.NET here in Olympia who has service similar to MonkeyBrains

  • Jessi

    Went to the dish network link and right off it says if you stream videos / shows or play online games that satellite is not for you. So yeah not helpful.

  • Just cut it dude!…right

    “My best advice to Candace and everyone else: move to an urban neighborhood with more connectivity options, or keep paying your cable bill for now…”

    May as well have just said that. Useless article. The vast majority of Americans ate stuck with cable internet if they have any significant bandwidth requirements.

    • zz

      correct! this article is a pile of BS

    • sbixx

      Agreed! “Move to an urban neighborhood” to save a few $$ on Cable? If you’re going to move, do it for better reasons. Ridiculous article.

  • Mark in Colorado

    Paying 65 dollars/month right now for the internet portion of my comcast bill.. 100mbps connection. Getting ready to drop the bundle, and lose cable TV.. internet will go up maybe 15 to 20/ month when that happens, but my monthly bill will go down by over 100 all said and done. I have nothing against comcast, I just want their bandwidth… they can gag on their 400 channels that I never watch. You cant beat comcast bandwidth where I live… at any cost.

  • janice gross

    Dish is the best price that I’ve came up with recently. You can get 55 channels for 29.00 per month; that’s just for cable, but for internet and cell phone service, I use ( Metro PCS ), at 42.00 per month, and my plan is unlimited talk and text, with GPS, and I have a data plan with no cost to me that I can use. Also, Metro PCS is no contract. So I get all three services for 71.00. Not a bad deal for all three services.

  • Lisa Anderson

    I am in the Bay Area, and High-Speed Internet is super expensive here. Although we have plenty of options, most hate Comcast and AT&T, so wireless providers fill that void.

    Anyone off the grid is going to have it super hard to get anything else but Satellite. These companies come with expensive equipment that you have to buy, but it is an option and most people off the grid, can’t complain when they chose to LIVE off the grid. Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T don’t care that you bought a house out in the boonies.

    Wireless providers might come at a price too, but they don’t offer phone or TV either, so you have to decide if its worth it to you. Otherwise, Satellite will only nickel-and-dime you to death every time you watch one Netflix movie for bandwidth.

    Do your homework, check Yelp for real reviews and ask about contracts. The writer of this post has it good in San Francisco, where they have plenty of options, but not everyone can say that.

    Also, not all Wireless providers are cheap either, but you get what you pay for; at least you have options. If you’re buying a house, make sure it can get Internet.

  • j_wi

    I haven’t tried it yet but I thinking about DSLExtreme, any words of wisdom?

  • nikki

    Long Island only has Optimum or Verizon to choose from. No competition at all, means prices are high :(

  • Hopefulcynic

    I just tried to connect to WISPA – it came up “ACCESS DENIED”…

  • Diana C

    My dilemma is that NONE of these options are available in my subdivision. Not far fr where I stand is Charter cable and a little farther is Uverse. But my subdivision is in a black hole -upgradeable.
    We currently have DSL with AT&T tapped out at the highest speed of that service. We have DISH for tv service and both of these cannot provide us with any better service than what we already get. No one can answer why either. Always the same saying ” service is not available in your area” sometimes they add “yet” providing a glimmer of hope.
    I will look into a WISP and I’m waiting for google fiber to migrate out into the suburbs of ATL. So for now I suffering with buffeting, slow ups and downs (loads that is)

  • Faslane

    Monopolized Comcast unfortunately has the market to tapped there are no other options in my city of 500,000+. you simply have the threaten to go to DISH or satellite of some kind to get some things knocked off your bill.

  • Tori

    What about me though? I live in the middle of NO MANS LAND and I ONLY want internet. I sell on eBay, don’t play games, have a smart TV with Netflix & VUDU for my kids and a small antenna that picks up like 11 channels. I’m OK with that…we really like Animal Planet and the History Channel…that’s the only problem. What is that Roku all about? I can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone.
    Thanks, Tori

    • properthwacking

      Roku is fantastic for watching on demand content from certain providers. However, it does not stream live TV, and unless you are an HBO GO subscriber or something like that, with a subscription fee, you don’t get access to premium content. For an extra $20 to $30 per month, SLING TV, coupled with the Roku device ($65 to $99 one time purchase), will get you a very limited selection of live streaming stations.

      • Tori

        I went and bought the Chromecast… Can I do anything extra with that?

  • Tabatha Fletcher

    So what’s the lowest speed I could get for internet without affecting our streaming?

  • properthwacking

    Satellite Internet Plans, with their data caps, are not appropriate for streaming customers. So you can say no to dish.

  • Chuck Blues

    I live in Pflugerville TX in a service area of Suddenlink Cable/Internet just 1 mile from non-monopoly service area in Austin TX which has multiple options for Cable, fiber, etc.
    But I’m stuck In a monopolized service area with only one provider which is charging me whatever they want in data cap fees, etc. They also don’t provide the cable channels I really want and recently dropped my favorite channels because of a dispute with Viacom ; I can go to DISH but their speed is way slower and their data caps are much worse …
    But my biggest question is :
    Why are these monopolies allowed to exist ? I thought governmentally-regulated monopolies were supposed to benefit consumers but it looks to me like Suddenlink gets to do whatever they want and I get only 2 choices. Accept or reject but I really can’t reject because I need net access for work.
    It seems to me that Pflugerville residents are stuck with poor choices ;
    I guess it’s just another example of the Texas political machine which makes businesses happy and people not so much.

    • febwitch76

      The reason why is because those laws have been weakened by lobbyists for the telecom industry that buy congressmen and senators. So companies get bought by bigger companies, hence the monopoly. It has happened with the airline industry as 4 carriers control 80% of the US Market.

  • Chuck Blues

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Texas_redistricting#2000.E2.80.932003_evolution_and_DeLay.27s_role Look at the map of Travis county districts. Mine stretches to Houston. And one mile away from me It stretches to Mexican border. But courts ruled that’s not gerrymandering ???

  • Mario

    I am planning to move out in the country about 30 minutes way from laredo texas, on hwy 59, can I get a good Internet. Out in the country so I can be on Netflix, vudu, or YouTube and Hulu, on two or three devices.

    Thanks,
    Mario

  • Factory_Hag

    I don’t really understand any of this. I am retired and live with my son. We used to share everything half and half, but he pays for more things now as money is tight with me. I would just like to know if he ever moved out and I wanted to keep just Internet to read the news, get email, and maybe occasionally watch a tutorial over You Tube, how could I do that? I am willing to give up the You Tube part if I can’t do it. What company just does the Internet? I am in eastern MA.

    • TMM

      All you truly need is max 1-1.5/mbps download speed. 1-1.5/mbps isn’t advertised very often (depending on what’s in your area).

  • Bob Smith

    Comcast is totally overpriced, get off the cool-aid people!
    OTA digital is the way to go, and It’s free.

    • Trevor Rees

      There are literally zero over the air digital channels where I live.

      • Bob Smith

        Hey Trev, sorry to hear that, maybe internet streaming would work for you?
        Of course moving closer to OTA broadcasters is still another option.

      • Judy Thurston

        To reply to Trevor Rees: Dont get Charter Spectrum Internet or There cable my bill in total is$162.00 or more a month? Charter advertizes internet as $29.99 a month but they raised it to $45.00 a month! We had over the air antenna to and every channel we watched we couldnt get eiether including digital channels, It really sucks dont it! Do you have a flat smart t.v.?

  • Jay kendall

    My Comcast goes up almost every month. Yes I have called, get endless passing from 1 sales guy to another, nothing resolved. Can’t make out from the bill ($153.87) what JUST Internet & phone would be. I could get Amazon Fire TV for the rest. My zip 95621 I am told there are no choices. Whada ya do…? Infuriating!

    • ???

      This is what one elderly lady’s son did. Switch to the competition for 30 days and come back to Comcast as a new customer. They value “new accts” much more than loyalty. So it means every year you have to leave and come back. This is common with any quantitative based company. Is it smart or just bean counting?

      • TMM

        I’m about to do this for my mom since I found out she’s paying AT&T $34 a month for 768/kbps download speed internet. I said, “You’ve got to play the game and switch back & forth. It’s the only way to truly save money”. It’s such a hassle to do it for someone (60+ years old) who just wants things to be simple and painless. She’s had AT&T internet+phone for more than a decade. It couldn’t matter less.

  • Dean F Marsh

    75/75 Fios Quantum in Central NJ is $94.99 + $9.99 rental on router = $104.98 per month for internet only. As of the posting date of this comment

  • miatooblssdtoobstrssdrobinson

    can i use a wireless combo if i don’t have cable or phone services?

    • ???

      You can but I just got told you will pay retail and they will not waive many fees for services and hardware that might be waived if you bundle.

  • febwitch76

    I live in the sacramento area and have Comcast as they are the major cable company and I live in an apartment complex. Does anyone know if FIOS from Verizon is coming in? If that comes through, bye bye Comcast.

  • Wanda Griffin

    In Hampton, VA where my mother has been with cox communications for 28 years, the cable bundle (non digital cable, phone, internet and the slowest speed ever) price just increased without notice from $136 to $159 RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!! I had to call them and let them know that the price was way too much for a 28 year customer. There were no changes at all with the service but yet the price continues to increase yearly, I WILL CONTINUE TRYING TO CONVINCE MY MOTHER TO DROP COX COMMUNICATIONS; we basically watch approximately l0 stations and streme Netflix.
    Someone need to create ways of utilizing the internet service without GREED, BUNDLES, ETC…..

    • Makaylah ricketson

      if you find out a way PLEASE let me know, me and my bf (18 years old) are struggling with rent and utilities much less paying $150 for freaking internet! we ONLY watch netflix and play world of warcraft when we arent working or sleeping :/ WHY CANT THE WORLD BE FAIR AND SIMPLE! :(

      • Ayatolla ofRocknRolla

        Welcome to Capitalism.

  • Bonnie

    The apt. Bldg I live in has a monopoly, how can I get around this?

    • lastone65

      You can’t.

  • j_wi

    what about dsl extreme, leo the tech guy recommends them

  • lastone65

    Where I live, I tried to disconnect from Comcast in the past, but all the other options are just as expensive or even more expensive. I hate them paying because I watch almost no TV, but I need the internet because of my work. I hate Comcast – they have the absolute stupidest and rudest people in the world working for them.

  • Mjal

    I have TWC internet. I like the idea behind this article but in my area they are the only real game in town. The only other players are satellite and WISP providers that are more expensive and impose harsh monthly data caps. It’s great that you have a WISP so close by but sorry the numbers just don’t work for me.

  • Just My Opinion

    This information is very helpful but I can attest first hand that the prices for uverse are way off. I have Uverse TV & Internet. For Internet I have the MAX Turbo 24 Mbps and it cost me $74.00/month this is in addition to the $161 for TV. I had a 12-month deal for $57 but now its back up to $74. No where near the $30 you mentioned. I now have a ROKU and I’d like to cut the cord but looking for an affordable independent internet provider.

    UPDATE: I realize this article was written almost a year ago. I checked on the Webpass website and it seems they have increased their prices It is $60/Month or $550/year.

    • TMM

      that’s because they have no idea what they’re doing and we, the American people, are getting pounded by their unregulated “services”. They’re now saying they intend to ditch “u-verse” tv altogether in favor of signing everybody up to direct-tv thanks to their idiotic purchase of the company. Instead of investing their profits into building the infrastructure for u-verse AND fiber gigapower at the same time, they lay countless employees off and offer us satellite tv so they can get richer.

      I was coming here to comment on the price he lists in this article, too. $15 dollars for 3mbps??? Did it seriously used to cost that little?!

      • Samantha

        We see what deregulation brings … Don’t vote Republican :-).

  • integrity

    This was a waste of time. You just listed what internet you had and then listed the primary companies? ?

  • j_wi

    what have you to opine about DSLExtreme??

  • Kess

    I live near Hilton Head Island and the only service provider is Hargray. Our fees are outlandish. Basic cable and internet run almost 200 as a bundle deal. How do we get other providers in our area so we can have some healthy competition?

  • Kenny Hendrick

    If anybody comes across the sales pitch for freedompop, i’ll clue you
    in now. Firstly this service works rather well if you only need a
    phone or web browser for email reading. For us it did not work as the
    sales agent had led us to believe it would…hours on tech support and
    reading various websites confirmed that the freedompop service will not
    allow for a server to run via the lg6100d router’s port forwarding
    function. Finally, a freedompop tech affirmed it will not work.
    Great. Less than 24 hours I’ve had the router and now must submit for
    an RMA and find some tape and blah blah blah. Is anyone else sick and
    tired with the direction this arguably criminal government is heading
    with these monopolies? I remember the bait and switch “education” we
    received that monopolies were not a part of our lauded democracy, and
    here it is a few decades later and we have barely more than two choices
    for anything (and the choices are all related to the rogue element we
    now have here). Democrat and republican, time warner/bright
    house/roadrunner and At&t, bestbuy and walmart, microsoft and apple,
    ad infinitum and nauseaum.

    Well there’s some good news I can
    leave my victim compatriots…if you have to have a computer, kill
    microsoft and mac and install linux. That’s the best advice a computer
    tech (me) can offer.

    amen

  • Guest

    I am not satisfied at all with Comcast and Verizon is to high in price. Are there other providers in the Philadelphia, PA Area and Suburbs?

  • Michael McCord

    I’m in Oklahoma and have had a hard time locating stuff like this without having to deal with AT&T which makes me ill. Do you have any solutions or ideas? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. My e-mail is wx5del@gmail.com

  • kymykat

    My comment goes a little off topic but my point to it is there’s ways and times you can slip out of a contract with the big named providers, as well as smaller companies. It’s timing. Verizon recently dumped it’s CA customers ( and two other states) off on a company I had never heard of before getting abandoned into the arms of frontier communications. When a provider changes anything in a contract with you, you have the right to review the changes and the option then to say “no, that’s not in our contract so I’m leaving” and there’s your exit early without all the rip off fees they rob you for ETF. So with this verizon dumping customers to frontier they actually addressed that by saying customers couldn’t use that “OUT” because frontier was providing the exact same services, same quality, same prices as verizon did. That’s hardly the case in reality. I use to love verizon home service and wireless both, and I’ve been a loyal customer over 25 years up until 4 years ago. I didn’t mind paying more because I got more but when I started to get less and less and hacked and hacked and made to now pay even more and deal with supervisors who were hard as____ not customer service motivated at all. I dumped them as my cell provider and they literally used auto pay I had set up on my open account but not on a closed account to take 650.00 out of my bank account a week after I’d closed my account and was awaiting a finial bill. I’ve been stuck with their fios home service up until they dumped me off on the worst company I’ve ever dealt with in my 56 yrs on this planet. Calling frontier communications customer service takes a lot of time effort and you still can’t understand these people that answer the phones. When they themselves can’t understand you they actually just hang up the phone on you. It all changed. Internet service has been down, slow, and there’s extra charges on the bill that customer service has to put you on hold for to ask what the charge is. Not at all professional. I’m a new customer to frontier but I can’t call up and get the advertised specials that comes in my mailbox to my house. Well that’s why I found the Articial above and read it. I’m trying to cut ties away from have a company I get bundles with. I bought an antenna that says 150 mile range. We will see. And i want to get one of those deals on home phone where you buy the unit pay a 250 up front price and free service for the rest of your life as long as you have that box. Too good to be true it sounds. But like the rest of you what about the damn internet? I can hot spot off my phone. But that’s not enough to do very much at all. Good luck to everyone. It’s a long journey away from these rip off companies who steal from us and who won’t let us go peacefully when we have had enough.

  • Nick Stewart

    I live in area were they only offer Satellite, But i found this company for all of us with this Problem the 4G Home Solutions has great coverage in my area and is only $60 for unlimited Data. Great Customer service as well i would recommend checking them out.

  • Albert L

    So complicated. I hope someday we simply have our cell phones that may have a satellite add on antenna when needed. It would act as a hotspot for all our devices. It could be free with advertising or pay without and with a few in between plans for lower cost with less advertising.
    The future… dream on.

  • Dawn

    What about getting a wifi hot spot though the phone companies aka sprint etc.?

  • Hannibal Smith

    DOCSIS 3.1 will more or less provide 1Gbps service via regular coaxial (cable modem), so at a certain point it won’t even be worth the bother to look at all the much slower but more expensive alternatives except urban wireless. In the meantime, if you want the lowest package price possible, then get Double or Triple Play with the individual service discounts but swap the premium TV out for basic TV service.

  • Stephanie S Tackett

    One caveat about ATT. It’s all fun and games if you are a new customer and you go for one of their bundles. Our 1st year of premium internet plus DirecTV just ended in Sept. and the rates for service effectively doubled. So we had to cut the cord to the TV (we have Netflix and Amazon Prime) to save $80 a month. Then my High Speed Internet bill doubled, because I lost both the advantage of the bundle PLUS the first year sweet deal. You really can’t win with these creeps.

    To add insult to injury, ( I had surgery on right foot and lost my job as a result of being non-weight-bearing for 4 months), they have now charged us an early termination fee of $200 for cutting out DirecTV before our two year contract ran out. I paid it, because to keep it would have run us over $700 for the full term, but really. There’s no way to win with these guys.

    • Ahmad Awadallah

      It sucks. It really does. These just are parasites.
      Hope you get well soon.

  • Well, I am the satisfied customer of at&t internet service as they provide me the service they promised. Their services are also very affordable.

  • Well, fiber optics gives the more faster and reliable internet as compare to cable. I am one of the satisfied customer of at&t internet services and I am using their services from last six months.

  • jackpiner

    Could this be sold off a CELL SITE ANTENNA?

  • William Bennett

    Keep the internet connection and stream or D/L whatever you want for free!