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Duluth Internet Service Providers

I’m moving and need to set up Internet service this week. I don’t want a cable T.V. package, just solid, locally-provided Internet service. I am a telecommuter, so add extra emphasis on “solid.” I am looking for recommendations with the minor caveat that the ISP must also exceed the customer “service” provided by the large chains. Thanks!

38 Comments

draggy

about 8 years ago

Unfortunately the only ISPs that I know of in Duluth are Charter and Qwest ... and Clearwire if you can consider that broadband.

Duluth could really use a locally run ISP, but there aren't any that I know of, short of installing your own line.

Charter is by far the fastest consumer connection, but it's also expensive since there's no competition. But I must say Charter has been pretty solid for me. I experience very few outages and they're usually back up fast.

Nodnetni

about 8 years ago

Give this link a try to look for providers in your area:
Minnesota BroadbandStat

Also:
Compudyne
Telephone Associates

Starfire

about 8 years ago

I have never had a problem with Charter. We pay $35/month for 7meg service.

Sam

about 8 years ago

Charter has a 1Mbps $19.99/month deal, with no contract, no expiration, and no taxes (Qwest has taxes added, and is more expensive, and requires a contract).  It is called Charter Internet Lite.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

I have been on Clearwire almost since it launched in 2005.  I have had few problems always I've been able to get someone on the phone within minutes to help.  I don't think there has ever been downtime in my neighborhood (I've heard it has been sketchy some places, but that was few years ago).  One time the modem petered out and that sucked but the phone techs spent an hour or more with me getting it back up.  When that didn't work they overnighted us a new modem.  

I might not have the speed needs that you do.  I'm told that uploads are slower than downloads, however for the light stuff that I do there has never been a problem.  I can move my computer wherever or even take the modem out around town if (rarely) needed.  We pay about $40/mo.  Interesting that Starfire gets such great, fast service from Charter for only $35 though.  

One thing I would consider if I had the opportunity would be to get Sprint they have the same WiMax signal for their internet service and just use the phone for a "hot spot." That would be real savings eliminating both a land phone line (which I've already done) AND the wire.

jake

about 8 years ago

Qwest ain't bad and you don't need a contract if you buy the modem.

ironic1

about 8 years ago

I'm with Charter and I pay $44 a month for the highest bandwidth.  I've only had one bump in the road with them service-wise, but they bent over backwards to rectify it so I won't complain too much.

Annie

about 8 years ago

HickoryTech

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

Qwest DSL isn't bad, if you are in a place where you can get it at a decent speed. Charter cable is faster, but their service absolutely sucks balls.

You could try going Clearwire, or get internet access via a cell company (Verizon, etc.).

Other than that, your options are wait for Google Fiber, or dial-up.

J$

about 8 years ago

I get up to 12meg for $35 a month with Charter, but only the reduced rate was locked in with a 2-year contract. Which, if you look into Charter they do have "intro rates" for new customers and reduced "locked in" prices if you agree to service for __ years. Never had too many problems with outages or speed -- and we're a couple of occasional "gamers" as well as everyday Netflix watchers. Had a problem once with customer service, however, it was corrected after speaking with another rep the next day. I'd say that although it might be pricey, it's not too bad compared to limited area choices.

J

about 8 years ago

I WISH WE HAD GOOGLE FIBER...but...don't we all??

bluenewt

about 8 years ago

I wish Charter would not subject me to a relentless sales job every time I call for service.

Drew

about 8 years ago

My Charter service is horrible. I paid for an upgrade from their minimal speed service, don't use that much, but sometimes have to wait for 45 seconds for the PDD page to load, and much longer for something more complex. Sometimes (about 10% of the time) it's faster. They've said, well, you're trying to use it at peak times.  Really? Don't most residents use internet in the evening?  I don't think having basic pages take minutes to load is asking much. I wish I had a meter to show just how slow the downloads are so I could complain with real data.  (Is there a simple way of measuring the download speed?)

I had better service a few years ago when I had a Sprint card. I'm thinking of canceling the Charter and doing something else, but I'm not sure what. Suggestions are welcome.

zra

about 8 years ago

Peak times? So, charter's the fastest only at certain times...?

Their advertising is sounding a little misleading.

Chad

about 8 years ago

I'm surprised with all the Charter issues.  I've got the 12mbps through my own router and its been pretty flawless for the better part of a year.  The only problem is the annoying telemarketing attempts that come with it.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

@Drew: You can use Charter's own speed test at speedtest.charter.com. Also you can Google around to find other speed tests to compare it to.

My Charter experience has been similar to Chad and Starfire. A few issues over the years, but that's to be expected with any ISP. 

We pay for 7Mbps. I just tested at 14.6Mbps on Charter. Granted, 1am is probably "off peak" but during peak hours, it isn't noticeably slower.

Certainly if PDD is taking 45 seconds to load, you have issues.

dihydrogen monoxide

about 8 years ago

If you're on Charter, testing your speed with Charter's own speed test, you won't be leaving the Charter network, so your results will always be higher than if you were to go test your speed against some external source.

A curious question though, does anyone know what happened to MMI Internet, and am I correct in believing that Hickory Tech absorbed the absolute failure that was CP Internet / Telcom?

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

CPInternet.com redirects to hickorytech.com, so I'm assuming that they were bought/merged into HickoryTech.

Dan

about 8 years ago

Yeah, Hickorytech acquired CP Telecom back in 2009. I'm not sure what happened to MMI, but Superior Broadband became part of Compudyne and offers business class Internet service now. 

The days of the small ISP are pretty much gone. And until there is universal FTTH, it will pretty much stay that way.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Compudyne acquired Superior Broadband from Superior Publishing (a unit of Houston-based American Consolidated Media) in 2008. 

Superior Publishing pulled the plug on Murphy McGinnis Interactive shortly after that.

TimK

about 8 years ago

I still have an MMI email account (gets the most spam of all my accounts).

Tom

about 8 years ago

I have Qwest.  I can't recall exactly how much it is, but it's pretty cheap because I have landline phone service through them as well.  Speed is pretty good for the most part and I haven't experienced many outages.

I've considered that Charter bundle, but I've heard nothing but horror stories about them.  I've heard Clearwire is pretty good though; that'll run you about $40/month.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

@dihydrogen monoxide: What speed test do you recommend?

Michael Latsch

about 8 years ago

I've had Clearwire for 1.5 years now at a nominal speed of 1.5 mbps and somewhere on the order of $35/mo. I can't recommend the service -- it runs at or above nominal speed off peak, but is often quite poor on peak (sometimes not possible to stream Netflix). Customer support suggested to me that there was something wrong with the ethernet cable linking their modem to my router. 

@Barrett My preferred speed tester is speedtest.net. 

Can anyone speculate where the peak time clog in Clearwire is? Is it a matter of the particular tower I'm hitting here at 12th Ave E and 3rd St? I would suspect so on the basis of wildgoose's positive experience -- although that could also be the result of us paying for different services. 

Will be buying a house soon and wrapping up the CL contract, so probably will be switching then.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

I just tested at 15.2 Mbps on Charter's speed test, and a whopping 19.71 Mbps on speedtest.net.

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

Charter has provided solid internet for us, but the business end of things is horrible. We have automatic billing setup and think everything is going fine, but then the'll shut us off after a few months saying we're not paying. We'll call them, they'll say we don't have auto billing setup. The cycle begins again...

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

Although, Charter does have one of my favorite local biz stories.
The Charter building used to be located on the corner of Superior and 3rd East. An employee was on the phone with a customer when a police car on a chase failed to cut the corner and ended up driving through the Charter doors and into the building. The employee on the phone saw the cop car stop feet from her desk and said politly to the person on the phone "I'm sorry, I need to go - the police are here."

TalkToQwest

about 8 years ago

Hello,

Just wanted to drop in and say we are here to help if you have any questions.  If you would like us to check available DSL speeds in your area, you can e-mail us at [email protected] or call us at 800 244-1111.

Thanks,

B
Talk To Qwest Team

adam

about 8 years ago

Clearwire throttles downloads.

duluthmtnbiker

about 8 years ago

I have both residential Qwest DSL (7MB/896kb)and Charter Business (16M/2M) at home.  Both have been reliable.  Qwest service is good if call before 6PM otherwise you just get script readers. I chose Charter Business to get past their residential support (which, based on hear-say, is not great).  I have had one support call to Charter in 5yrs and two support calls into Qwest in the past 10 years.  Both have been very responsive to support concerns/inquiries.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Adam, what does that mean, Clearwire "throttles" downloads?  I don't download much anymore, but sometimes streaming video is hiccuping (yeah, I watch the occasional TV show online).

Dave

about 8 years ago

Late to the game I know, but I thought I had something to add. Our company has a network of IP telephones that our employees use from home in various parts of the city and the employees who use Qwest DSL consistently have higher reliability.  Charter has been troublesome. In fact my charter service at home is down right now and has been down for at least 16 hours.  Our main office is served by DSL and has never been down in the last three years. The line is in use 15 hours per day 7 days per week, so we would have noticed any substantial outages.

Brent

about 8 years ago

I have Charter, unfortunately. While I pay for 14mbs and generally get it, their customer service/techs are complete garbage. I was recently trying to setup a server and needed to port forward, I did everything I should have needed to. Never worked, after some digging, it turns out Charter blocks port forwarding on all ports as far as I can tell. There are ways around it, but really an ISP has no business stopping me from hosting a simple server without jumping through hoops, so I'm done with them when my contract expires.

rgoldberg

about 8 years ago

Disclaimer - I'm a Compudyne employee (and was part of Superior Broadband "in the beginning" - about 6 months after it started back in 1999/2000ish).

We're actively pushing fiber around downtown and it's my personal goal to bring 1st world connectivity (and pricing) to a town that has historically lacked meaningful options...

We're a true local ISP and don't do anything funny with customer traffic.  Internet the way it's supposed to be.

Ryan

zra

about 8 years ago

You guys must push it pretty hard considering the amount of coffee you drink!

adam

about 8 years ago

"The U.S. operators with higher levels of detected throttling included Insight Communications, a cable-television operator in New York, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, where throttling was detected in 38 percent of tests; and Clearwire Communications, where throttling was detected in 35 percent of the tests.

ruby2sd4y

about 7 years ago

Any updates on this? Compudyne? Bueller?
Been working away, and back for a spell, and now in the market to ditch the Charter overlords - don't need cable or a bundle - just reliable (not as slow as dial-up but doesn't have to be the fastest either, yet cheap) internet. Currently at 15Mbps (speedtest varies but generally higher) at $55mo. Rep said their new 'daily pricing' (no 6/12/2yr contract) is $49/mo for 30Mbps. Are all the 19.99/29.99/39.99 providers gone? 50+mo is just too high. Incidentally net + TV would be 99mo. Ouch + Insane. Are those TV boxes still around for just news channels?

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