A little known erstwhile awesome thing in Wallingford is that Interconnection offered $80 per year broadband via Clear wimax to anyone with a student in the house, meaning if you had a kid in school you qualified. Yes, no need to be poor, you get semi-broadband Internet for less than $7 per month! Yeah, only about 3 MBPS, but still, $7!
Well, the cheap times end in November. Sprint bought Clear and stabbed wimax through its sputtering heart. There’s still cheap options out there, but they all seem to require that you fill out reams of paperwork testifying to your poorness, like having a free and reduced price lunch student in the house and having income below the poverty line. See here for your options if you qualify: http://www.seattle.gov/tech/LowCostInternet
If not, you are left to choose between CenturyLink (aka US West / QWest), or Comcast (aka XFinity). I checked out Frontier and Wave and other Seattle broadband providers, but they either aren’t in Wallingford or are business-only providers or only service condos, like Regatta. I guess some people might be able to get by with a cellular data plan, but they all cap your monthly usage so they don’t make sense for home use, especially if you stream video. Please tell me if I’m wrong and there’s an option other than CenturyLink or Comcast.
Assuming we’re stuck, which participant in the oligarchic duopoly is less evil? Which fleet of executive yachts are we going to pay to fuel up? Decisions, decisions.
As has been noted by a few readers, CenturyLink has been installing fiber in Wallingford. Michael Kucher writes:
Out my window Corliss at 43rd I can see a truck with a cherry picker on it. The cherry picker is holding a guy up in the trees at cable height where he is using a sort of bobbin to spin wire around the existing phone cable that holds the new fiber-optic cable up. I talked to the guy and he said that they’re hanging two cables on Corliss one with the 144 pieces of fiber and the other I think he said with 72 pieces of fiber. Asked when it would be done and he said 3 to 6 months. He said another crew would come in and fuse the glass together at each joint. Then when they’re done, Centurylink would come and connect the cable to each house or apartment. The contractor doing just the cable-stringing part of the job is called Track Utilities from Meridian, Idaho. He said the fusing of the glass already begun a few blocks west of here.
For now, CenturyLink maxes out a 7 or 12 MBPS in our neighborhood. I contacted CenturyLink and they’re only copping to adding gigabit Internet to the U-District and Green Lake, but they won’t tell me what the boundaries are for that and they aren’t saying anything about plans for Wallingford and they won’t give me a service map or plan. I expect Michael knows a lot more than their press people, so if gigabit is your thing then register for notification here: centurylink.com/gigabit.
Comcast goes up to 250 MBPS already, but of course you’ll pay for that privilege, and the bandwidth is shared with your neighbors so it declines when a lot of people are online at once. Comcast also has worse upload speeds than DSL, although CenturyLink doesn’t publish upload speeds in our area so I can’t be sure. I would think that if working or gaming then CenturyLink is better than Comcast because of the better upload speeds.
In terms of cost, here’s the numbers I see out there now. Introductory rates are a favored tool of the evil duopoly to hook you on product so they can gouge you, like a free shot of heroin, so they are filtered out. Let us know in the comments if there’s a way to game the system long term. Maybe switch back and forth between providers every couple years? A decade at $50 a month is $6,000 I’d rather spend elsewhere:
cost per month
cost per month
It’s possible to get by with a lot less bandwidth if you have a router with Tomato, DD-WRT, or some other decent bandwidth management firmware. Your router should let you favor certain forms of communication over others and favor certain devices over others. Nobody wants to be on a VOIP call, then have some computer start syncing google drive or downloading an update and interrupt the call, and nobody wants their kids’ streaming to get in the way of their work. Better routers, not throwing money at bandwidth, is the best solution for that.
We’re thinking of going with CenturyLink at 12 MBPS with a good router. We’re also wishing the city would provide broadband for everyone, something like 10 MBPS for free based on a property tax, then with the option to pay in increments above that for faster speeds. That would be kind of progressive, right?
Anyhow, back to reality, do you have any tips or tricks for gaming the system?