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Best ISP?

My wife and I have been with Charter for a few years now. It's been fine, but seems expensive. Qwest recently sent us a special offer, and we're thinking of switching? Any thoughts on what the best Internet provider in town is? Are they all the same? Download/upload speeds are important, reliability, and of course cost. I don't like the idea of Clearwire because I don't want to fry my little brain. www2.gif


We had Qwest in Minneapolis and finding Charter much faster. I will forever believe that something was wrong with my connection with Qwest, but when I called them they told me it was Visi's fault, when I called Visi, it was Qwest's fault. No one stepped up.

Of course, this is just one incident and I wouldn't want you to base your decision solely on this.

Something to think about is any special rate or package is usually followed up by an increase after the promotional rate expires.
I am on a promo rate through Charter for Cable, Internet, and phone for a year at $63 a month (it was a neighborhood canvas around Christmas time - I lucked out).
After 6 months they raised the phone and internet. After calling them I was told it was only for 6 months - I pulled out my original contract and it stated one year. They apologized and lowered the price back down.
Apparently Charter was counting on me losing the paperwork and having no defense to the increase.
That was a lesson learned for me to save all agreements.
Historically, I have had Qwest but switched everything to cable due to the rate. I feel Qwest and Charter have compatible internet. I was sad to let my Qwest phone go due to long term service - I did get to keep the number.
I will continue to use Charter phone until promo rate is up and then will discontinue it - I don't even answer the home phone (prefer cell).
A good thing to point out is if your power is out, then your phone is out too.
Incidently, Charter phone service was out briefly yesterday - although not due to power outage.

Qwest has a horrible overall repuation for customer service - not to mention the fines they had to pay for scamming their phone customers in 2000-2003.

Per brain-frying and Clearwire: the airspace around yer noggin is already saturated with all frequencies of electro-magnetic radio-radiation; pulling in another satellite signal won't compound anything. PLus, I hear they are pretty reliable and customer service-oriented.

Clearwire requires a 2 year contract. With cell phone-like penalties for early cancellation.

Clearwire has worked great for me, and I guess I do plenty of other things to my brain worse than sitting by a wireless modem. They do have a 2 year contract, but you can move almost anywhere in town and just take it with you. No dealing with new setups or anything. Also the speeds seem comparable to better than charter.

If you do anything except e-mail and web-browsing, I have heard Clearwire throttles everything but. Just what I read when I was shopping around. I can't imagine one more transmitter in your room being much worse than having holding a cell-phone transmitter up to your face.

I've worked DSL/Cable phone support before. DSL is often a nightmare (especially when dealing with ISP's and Phone companies together). Cable was always either an outage or just needed to reset the modem. DSL works fine on the first try for millions of people, but if you're not one of em, it can be a quagmire. I believe Qwest is the ISP for their own DSL in Duluth so that's good. I have charter and it isn't the cheapest, but it is fast and reliable for me.

You're choosing between a telephone company and a cable company. Either way you're gonna be a little hosed.

Neither Clearwire or DSL use satellites. Clearwire transmits from cell sites, and DSL uses regular phone-lines.

Good luck!

I've been with Qwest for about a year- would've signed up sooner, but we didn't have DSL in my neighborhood 'till then. I think Charter might be a tad faster, but the price was out of the question- and I don't watch that much TV. My price with Qwest was guaranteed for LIFE! The one problem I had was a voltage spike during a storm smoked my DSL router. When I called tech support, it took about a half hour to figure out that was the problem. My replacement modem showed up by UPS less than 24 hours later. Maybe the sun was just shining out of my butt that day. If the US would do what the rest of the world does (nationalize ISPs) we would actually have faster connections.

I am currently using Qwest, but I used Charter for a few years before switching. Charter offered a great connection, with affordable pricing -and it was so reliable I never needed to call their customer service. However, I got a couple phone calls and a sternly worded letter from Charter about how my "excessive usage of bandwidth" and certain large files I had downloaded really irked them. Of course, all of this was before Comcast's packet sniffing bout with the FCC, so I don't know if Charter is still in the business of monitoring its customer's traffic.

But it was enough to get me to switch to Qwest, which is comparable in speed and price. However, their lousy customer service and nonsensical fees require a bimonthly, hour long argument over the phone to reverse.

You win some, you loose some.

Had a problem with Clearwire allowing the download of bit torrent files.

With Charter, when your promotional rate ends ask for whatever package rate the have at that time and they will switch you over.

I have been doing this every six months for the past two years and have not been denied yet.

Not sure which speed you have with Charter right now, but chances are Qwest will be way slower. We had Charter and switched to a Qwest bundle to save money. We figured that DSL would be fast enough especially when you considered the savings. But as others noted it was only an introductory price. So once that ran out I was paying $50/month for a slow ass connection. After a couple months of that, we said screw it and went back to Charter and took advantage of their introductory deal for phone and Internet. I'm probably paying more now but at least it's fast.

We've got Charter at our place and have no plans to switch. We looked at DSL and Clearwire but we couldn't imagine taking the downgrade in speed from cable, no matter how minimal it might be. We've only had a couple of customer service calls and they were both handled in an acceptible amount of time and with courtesy. We've never had any trouble with them about downloading (which I do A LOT).

You're probably getting more radio waves out of the sun than a wireless router, so I wouldn't worry about that aspect, though I don't have any data to back that theory up.

Just a couple of things to keep in mind, too...

- Cable, unless the protocol has been changed without my knowledge, is a shared network at the literal BNC cable coming into your home. More users turns into less bandwidth (IT guys, think hub)

- DSL is a switched network where the speed depends on the quality of your telephone connect (IT guys, think switch)

- Charter has lousy customer service, Qwest, I have no idea, though they were reasonable when I lived elsewhere

- Charter is relatively expensive, with prices on the constant rise

- If you do the triple service thing with Charter (network, cable, phone) and do not have a cell phone, you'll just have to go read a book for a while. I've certainly never seen a service go out as much as theirs

With that said, I disagree with people saying that Charter is speedy. I find it slow everywhere I go. But , it's probably the fastest you'll find in Duluth. Blah.

Thanks to all for replying! The wife wants a phone, and doesn't think MajicJack is good enough - so maybe we'll take Qwest up on the special offer bundle. It seems like neither Qwest nor Charter is the clear winner...

Qwest was the only telecom to refuse to allow Bush & Chaneys' illegal blanket wiretapping scheme......

The wife does not appreciate being called 'the wife' in public spaces
like a blog. It make her feel like an object instead of the wonderful
unique caring individual that she is.

One more thing about Charter (and don't get me wrong, I use them myself and give them a 6 out of 10).

I have a friend that procured Charter's telephone add-on. When I speak to her over the line, the conversation is littered with the type of clicks that sound like she is sporadically hanging up on me. It can only be heard from my side, where I use a normal analog phone.

It may be a unique case, though.

As for objectification, tell her that "the wife" is meant as a term of endearment, as in "_the_ one and only wonderful wife", though I doubt you'd get away with that one :)

best deal going... get any level of catv service, a cable modem then get Vonage as your telephone provider. also charter internet is alot faster than DSL. also DSL makes your home phone sound like crap, even with the DSL filters you will have to install on every phone in the house. DSL is very slow if you plan on using a router to have more than one PC. Also the DSL modem will goto into sleep mode after a period of inactivity, causing your router to need to be reset alot. at least with a cable modem it is always on.

RJF, we've been using DSL for about two years and have as yet to experience any of the problems that you've described. No modem "sleep" mode, no land line interference...etc...although we only use our landline for telemarketers...In addition, our rates have stayed exactly the same in that amount of time, whereas with Charter they were constantly and consistently changing our rates. Always up. Never down. Qwest also has Qwest Qwick Care which will allow you to troubleshoot any problem that you may have with your service. We've used it a couple of times and have also used their customer service line as well and both have been extremely thorough and helpful.

The only thing I would change to the service is the ability to dump the landline and keep the DSL, but alas, can't be done. That being, it's still cheaper than the monopoly.

P.S., a Cali judge has ruled that cel phone companies can no longer charge exorbitant cancellation fees for early termination of a contract. Expect more states to follow.

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