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Best Cable/High speed internet/Phone company???

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Best Cable/High speed internet/Phone company???

Postby badabing » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:50 pm

What is the best company to go with for cable, high speed internet and phone? We are new to the area and have no idea which ones have the best service and are most reputable. We'd kind of like to get a package with all three if possible.

Also, do you know of any that I should avoid at all costs?? I am a bit scared of Comcast since I have heard so many negative things about them.

Thanks!
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Postby sylvie » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:38 am

I just got TDS Metrocom 's DSL service after a horrible experience with Charter. I love it and it's fast enough for me.

Whatever you do, I'd avoid the Charter bundle - don't fall for their offers of one low price for 6 months or a year. They'll start billing you separately full price for each service and no amount of phone calls, which all go to India, will help. Oh yes, Charter phone service also sent a separate bill for good measure - so I was billed for the phone twice each month. Charter also gave me a bad modem that I was stuck with for two months while billing me full rate and installed the phone incorrectly for which it took five different technician calls to figure out - as it happened the first Charter phone guy had installed something backward and only the fifth guy noticed it. This went on for six long months. I've seen many similar experiences with Charter posted on the web.
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Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:19 am

I too am happy with TDS Metrocom. Had it for a little over a year. TDS usual has intro offers for a low price, but even after the introductory period is over, my combined phone and cable bill is about what I used to pay AT&T for just phone alone.
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Postby Darthcrank » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:31 pm

Well, you don't have to worry about Comcast here. Cable may be becoming a little less regulated, but I'm pretty sure the only cable game in town right now is Charter...which is bad enough.

I have Charter, and normally experience very good service, high speeds, clear connections, etc.

BUT, when they screw up they tend to do it royally, so you have to be on your toes and attack problem issues with the dilligence of Johnny Cochrane on the fit of a glove. I have found that it helps to get the direct phone number of a local helpful person, so that way you avoid calling to India to get your problems solved by someone who can barely read the english on the text they a given to recite.
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Postby TAsunder » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:51 pm

While I've had bad service experiences with charter as well, I've never once been connected with someone in India. Nor am I billed full price when I had a package discount.

All that doesn't mean I'd recommend them, though. I think most people are better off with satellite and local phone + DSL. If we ever get FiOS combined services, that would be the best of all.
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Postby ShaneDog » Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:24 pm

I don't have confirmation on this but I'm pretty sure there's an AT&T bundle with DSL/Phone/TV called U-Verse that is pretty good. The nice thing about AT&T DSL is that you get free wireless internet at any of their thousands of access points across the country and the world. For another $10 a month you can also get acesss to other wireless provider's access points which means that you will have a really hard time finding somewhere where you won't have internet access if you travel a lot.
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Postby TAsunder » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:01 pm

I don't think UVerse is available here yet. At least, not in the few addresses I plugged in to their availability checker.
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Postby ShaneDog » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:34 pm

TAsunder wrote:I don't think UVerse is available here yet. At least, not in the few addresses I plugged in to their availability checker.
I think you might be right. Their website is ambiguous about it. If I plug in my Zip Code (53704) it comes up as available but I can't find any addresses within that zip code where it is.

There are some DSL/ADSL upgrades that are going to be implemented soon which will provide huge bandwidth increases even over copper which should make this service available just about everywhere. I'm not sure what the the specific time line for that is though. If they play it right they could take a huge chunk of Charter's business.
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Postby ShaneDog » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:42 pm

AT&T spokesperson Brad Mays told Ars that the speed bump is due in part to better network performance. "We're seeing higher bandwidth at customer homes than originally forecast, with a downstream speed minimum of 25Mbps on our longest loop lengths, and even greater speeds at shorter loop lengths," Mays said. The largest chunk of that goes to TV, which needs enough bandwidth to be capable of streaming at least two HD video signals of at least 6Mbps simultaneously.

U-Verse DSL service previously maxed out at 6Mbps, so the 67 percent increase in maximum bandwidth is nothing to sneeze at.


http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20 ... -hare.html

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20 ... opper.html

Seriously though, Madison is waaaaay behind when it comes to our internet choices. As that article on the AT&T U-verse upgrade points out, even after the upgrade that still leaves AT&T near the bottom of the pack for bandwidth in most markets.

Are there any providers (cable, DSL, WiFi, satelite) even offering reliable, affordable 10 megabit service in Madison? Heck, are there even any providers offering 10 megabit or higher service at any price here? Even when I had a Charter cable internet connection taht was supposedly 6 megabit I usually got about half that and it never topped out anywhere over 5.
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Postby Shipley » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:45 pm

My buddy in Delaware pays less than I do for internet with Comcast and gets 10 Meg. Yes, the land that time forgot has faster net.
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How about AT&T???

Postby badabing » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:54 pm

Does anyone recommend AT&T DSL? It does show that it is available for my address!

I've decided to either go with DISH or DirectTV instead of cable. Any reason I should choose one of those over the other?

Thanks for all your help everyone!!
Last edited by badabing on Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TAsunder » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:03 pm

I had AT&T and direcTV. I chose DirecTV because at the time they had Tivo DVRs and gave me what amounted to a free NFL season pass.

I liked both more than my current charter solution in numerous ways.
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Postby ShaneDog » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:05 pm

I have AT&T DSL and like it. It's not any better or worse than TDS--other than the fact that it includes wireless at any AT&T access point. You should compare the price and buy the cheapest one.

If you don't need a phone line this is going to be your best deal by far:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20 ... -look.html

AT&T is the first to offer naked-DSL as far as I can tell.
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Postby pulseCzar » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

I agree wth Shane about AT&T. I'd also add that we have had top-notch and timely customer service from AT&T. When we had a hardware issue they sent someone to the house who replaced our equipment at no charge.

I was thoroughly unimpressed with TDS's customer service when we used them. Downtown we ordered service over two months before we moved in and we finally got phone an internet 39 days afterward. On the west side, however, we had good installation and customer service. When we moved from downtown to the west side, TDS wanted to charge us for breaking our 24 month contract even though we stayed with them. They said that because TDS has two different service areas in Madison (TDS Telecom and TDS Metrocom) that it didn't count. So even though they advertise as if they are one entity, they are two and the two entities don't share information. It took us hours of phone calls over the course of several months before they finally resolved the billing problem.
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Postby TAsunder » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:15 pm

It's been almost 10 years since I had dealings with TDS, but I remember having some really awful problems with customer support and even some pretty strange technical issues (such as the time one of our username/passwords had random numbers appended to it without anyone's knowledge (including TDS)). AT&T has been pretty good. DirecTV has been stellar. They even let me out of my contract several months early when I moved and couldn't have satellite due to blocked view.
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