Author Topic: Internet Alternatives?  (Read 6250 times)

Threshkin

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Internet Alternatives?
« on: March 07, 2014, 02:35:50 PM »
There are lots of discussions about cutting cable but they all seem to be focused on eliminating expensive TV programming.  TV is not the issue for me, I did not have it at all for the last three years and only recently added basic cable because Comcast offered to drop my total bill by 33% if I went from Internet only to Basic Cable plus the same speed Internet.  Their offer just goes to show how hungry they are for TV subscribers.

My question is, if I drop Cable completely what should I do for Internet service?  I cannot drop Internet completely.  My SO needs it for work and we use it extensively general information access and for free international video calls (gotta love Skype).

My current bill with Comcast is $53/month for "Blast! Internet Service".  Is there an alternative that can cut this cost without a significant reduction in performance? 

thepokercab

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 02:41:35 PM »

My question is, if I drop Cable completely what should I do for Internet service?  I cannot drop Internet completely.  My SO needs it for work and we use it extensively general information access and for free international video calls (gotta love Skype).

Not sure what your SO does, but if she uses it for work and has an employer, could she ask her employer for a reimbursement or monthly allowance?  I end up using my home internet for work related tasks, and one day I just decided to ask if I could get a stipend for it.  Now, I get a check at the end of the year that covers 90% of my internet bill.  I'm glad I ended up asking.   

Spork

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2014, 02:58:43 PM »
I cannot speak for Comcast in your area, but: more often than not "internet" **comes** with basic cable services.  It's more trouble than it's worth to put traps on the line to filter it out (and they often interfere with the internet connection anyway).

I'm not saying you're getting ripped off or anything (especially since your bill went down)... but they may just be realigning their packages to reflect reality.

The problem here is that internet service varies so much by location that it's hard to answer your question.  Even just a few blocks one direction or another can put you in or out of reach of a particular ISP.   You can look to see if there are any wireless isps in your area and check with the telcos to see if DSL is available...  Heck -- there might even be inexpensive fiber in your area... but it is likely that cable is the best bang for the buck.

Threshkin

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2014, 02:59:18 PM »

My question is, if I drop Cable completely what should I do for Internet service?  I cannot drop Internet completely.  My SO needs it for work and we use it extensively general information access and for free international video calls (gotta love Skype).

Not sure what your SO does, but if she uses it for work and has an employer, could she ask her employer for a reimbursement or monthly allowance?  I end up using my home internet for work related tasks, and one day I just decided to ask if I could get a stipend for it.  Now, I get a check at the end of the year that covers 90% of my internet bill.  I'm glad I ended up asking.

My SO is in real estate as an independent.  No reimbursement but we do claim it as a business expense.  My question is more focused on planning for the future because we are on the cusp of FIRE.  (Plus I am fairly frustrated with Comcast in general.)

MDM

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 03:00:05 PM »
Try Googling Internet Service Providers.  There should be others (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, Charter, etc.) serving your area.

Call and ask for new subscriber rates.  Call Comcast and tell them you are thinking of switching.  Enjoy the savings.

Threshkin

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 03:15:59 PM »
I cannot speak for Comcast in your area, but: more often than not "internet" **comes** with basic cable services.  It's more trouble than it's worth to put traps on the line to filter it out (and they often interfere with the internet connection anyway).

I'm not saying you're getting ripped off or anything (especially since your bill went down)... but they may just be realigning their packages to reflect reality.

The problem here is that internet service varies so much by location that it's hard to answer your question.  Even just a few blocks one direction or another can put you in or out of reach of a particular ISP.   You can look to see if there are any wireless isps in your area and check with the telcos to see if DSL is available...  Heck -- there might even be inexpensive fiber in your area... but it is likely that cable is the best bang for the buck.

The big difference when they "gave" me basic cable was that they sent me a digital set top box and remote to hook up the TV. 

I thought about DSL because I had it in the past (20 years in the past) but discounted it because I no longer have a land line.  I will investigate this option.

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 04:07:10 PM »
I recently made this exact same switch with Comcast.  I'm also experimenting with alternatives.

The first experiment I'm trying is FreedomPop.  I've ordered the ~$30 wifi hub which comes with their FREE 500MB/mo account.  Their plans break down like this.

Free - $0.00/mo
    Data Limit: 500 MB
    Additional Data: $0.02/MB ($10/GB)
Basic 1GB - $9.99/mo
    Data Limit: 1 GB
    Additional Data: $0.01/MB ($10/GB)
Casual 2GB - $17.99/mo
    Data Limit: 2 GB
    Additional Data: $0.01/MB ($10/GB)
Premiere 4GB - $28.99/mo
    Data Limit: 4 GB
    Additional Data: $0.01/MB ($10/GB)
Premiere 5GB - $34.99/mo
    Data Limit: 5 GB
    Additional Data: $0.01/MB ($10/GB)
Premiere 10GB - $59.99/mo
    Data Limit: 10 GB
    Additional Data: $0.01/MB ($10/GB)

The quality of service depends on the wifi hub you purchase (3G, or 3G/4G) and your location on their coverage map. http://www.freedompop.com/coverage

One catch is that basic plan quotas do not roll-over month to month. Depending on your actual usage,

Quote
We now offer an additional FreedomPop Data Rollover service for $3.99/month that will allow you to rollover unused data up to 500MBs per month for up to 20GBs total. You will be able to share your rollover data with friends, and roll over any unused 500MBs on any plan.

If you do not enroll in this service for $3.99/mo, your full monthly allotment of data you will start over at the start of the next month.

So depending on your usage, for $3.99/mo you could have more than 500MB on your plan.  I'm not sure how all of this works out in reality, but I'm about to find out.  8)

Threshkin

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 04:44:25 PM »
I recently made this exact same switch with Comcast.  I'm also experimenting with alternatives.

The first experiment I'm trying is FreedomPop.  I've ordered the ~$30 wifi hub which comes with their FREE 500MB/mo account. 

[Clipped]

  I'm not sure how all of this works out in reality, but I'm about to find out.  8)

Thanks!  This looks interesting.  They have coverage in my area.  I will be interested in hearing about your experience.

Spork

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2014, 05:24:21 PM »
So... I don't use Freedompop... and I (probably) don't live in your area.... But I've been hanging off a 3g (Verizon) modem for years because it is the only option.  In my area, with 3g and good coverage, it sucks rocks.  Really, really sucks rocks.   I believe they've allocated most of the channels to 4g and are trying to push folks off of 3g.  On a good day I get 800k down.  Video: never.  Your mileage WILL vary.

(I would upgrade, but I am assured a better option is around the corner.)

Badass by 41

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 05:48:25 PM »
In my area, with 3g and good coverage, it sucks rocks.

That's a great point!  I should note that in my experiment, I've started with the 3G wifi hub to see how it works.  The hubs are "refundable", so when if I need to upgrade to the 3G/4G wifi hub, I'll do that.

Also note, there are many other product offerings from this company including a dedicated home connection hub and plan.

waltworks

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 06:31:37 PM »
This seems pretty neat for those of us (like yours truly) who don't really do any videos/gaming. Does anyone have an easy way to estimate data usage, though? I'm having a hard time figuring out if my obsessive emailing/surfing will go over 2GB for a month.

-W

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2014, 09:23:47 PM »
oes anyone have an easy way to estimate data usage, though? I'm having a hard time figuring out if my obsessive emailing/surfing will go over 2GB for a month.

For email and surfing you'll probably be fine with 500mb.  It's the streaming video that will eat your quota alive.

If you have a service provider today, you can typically get usage info from their site. If not, give then a call and ask for your lifetime average, and max usage. Some providers only keep 90 days of data, but that should at least give you and idea of what your current usage is.

Spork

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 09:05:18 AM »
This seems pretty neat for those of us (like yours truly) who don't really do any videos/gaming. Does anyone have an easy way to estimate data usage, though? I'm having a hard time figuring out if my obsessive emailing/surfing will go over 2GB for a month.

-W

My whole house is behind a 3g router.  2 adults, no video streaming (but an occasional 1-2 minute funny/cat/how-to video from youtube), OS updates, email and Tivo service data: we use about 5-6G a month.   

If we had more bandwidth: we'd use it. 

thepokercab

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Re: Internet Alternatives?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2014, 09:24:23 AM »
I have Cox, and when I access my account on line I can view data usage for the previous billing period.  Last statement period I used 44.48 gigs. 

This feels like a lot- especially since we don't subscribe to Netflix, or any other streaming service, although i too will watch the occasional you tube video.   I mostly use it for work, as i frequently VPN into my office, or download email attachments, etc.. I guess it adds up.