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Talk to me about internet providers


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I live in the People's Republic of Seattle where, for many years, Comcast had a monopoly and just kept raising the price. Like others here I gave up watching TV long ago and get virtually all my news and  entertainment directly off the Internet. So I've used the cheapest acceptable high speed connection, upgrading my connection speeds as the technology required. At this point, because I'm not a gamer, the most I need is 50-100 Mbps. Video and audio just keep getting better with less data so I doubt I'll ever need more. For many years I was like Xingu's wife. Whenever we got a price hike I would call Comcast and argue my way into a low-price deal for whatever speed I figured I needed. It worked for a long time, but they were usually one-year deals and then I'd have to call them again and go through the same nonsense one more time. Finally about 7-8 years ago they figured out they had a monopoly and, as Bill said, they told me to pound sand. But by then we were all dropping cable because it was expensive and unwatchable. Here in Seattle the public was up in arms about bad service and ever-increasing rates. Comcast was still on copper wire, promising fiber to the home but delaying for as long as they could. As it happened, Comcast's monopoly was up for renewal and the city, which had been operating it's own municipal network for some time, threatened Comcast with Municipal ISP (which I think is the inevitable future). After massive lobbying by Comcast the city backed down on municipal internet. Instead it allowed Century Link to come in with full fiber to the home and true full-bandwidth high speed Internet which, at the time, we still didn't have in Seattle (home of Microsoft and Amazon - oh heaven's to Betsy!??). The competition killed the price escalator overnight and Comcast fast-tracked installing its own fiber. But it's still a duopoly so. While prices have stayed stable and low-ish (we pay $48.00/mo/ for 100 Mbps and saving $10.00/month would drop us down to 25), likes so many of us here in the USA, I feel we generally pay a lot for mediocre service, especially compared to what I've seen in Western Europe. .

So I guess it depends on where you live and the competitive environment. But I would definitely recommend giving some thought to what you actually use your Internet connection for. The truth is that social networking and email require very little internet speed. If you stream video give some thought to how many services you actually use ($10-15/month each adds up fast) and shop accordingly. And as I said, these days 50+ Mbps is plenty, IMHO - unless you are into on-line gaming, of course.

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