Local ISPs

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?
zeropoint
Senior Member
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:20 am

Local ISPs

Postby zeropoint » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:02 pm

I am moving to the near-east side and need to set up WiFi at the new apartment. I haven't lived here long enough to know a ton about local providers and such. Do I have any options besides AT&T and Charter?

Which provider do you all think is best? In terms of price, speed, reliability, etc.

I also am hoping to find someone who can set it all up fairly soon.

Thanks.

fisticuffs
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 7982
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Slightly outside of Madison
Contact:

Re: Local ISPs

Postby fisticuffs » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:06 pm

I despise Charter. But they were the most MB's for the money, and it's be very consistent.

IrisTramm
Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 06, 2014 3:45 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby IrisTramm » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:39 pm

I just re-re-relocated to Madison and ended up with Charter for the same reasons: best bang for your buck. But, for the same price in Chicago, I got twice the mps. Can't say I ever thought I'd miss Comcast.

I'm not aware there are any other alternatives in Madison. If there are, I'd love to know. I don't need cable or phone so all this bundling BS drives me crazy.

Isn't there supposed to be some free central city wi-fi network? I work downtown, and occasionally I see my phone pick it up, but I've never been able to successfully connect with a laptop.

LargeMarge
Forum Addict
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:57 pm
Location: Madison-on the Isthmus

Re: Local ISPs

Postby LargeMarge » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:26 am

TDS is the other provider you might be able to use. Charter internet is pretty good. I have had them for years. Their cable service is horrible and overpriced. I just looked at my options for internet again and came to the same conclusion that Charter was the best deal. If don't use your internet much, Verizon 4G is fast, but their data caps make it not very useful if you like to stream video.

snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 13879
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:56 am

TDS stopped servicing the lines in my part of the east side. I don't know if this is true all over, though. Can't hurt to check with them.

They apparently gave up because they couldn't fight Charter. TDS does not own any lines. Charter owned the lines to my house but refused to upgrade them (apparently in violation of some law, while knowing I was never going to take them to court over something that small). Once I signed on with Charter, they upgraded my (ancient) line the same day, replacing the line from the pole all the way to point of use inside my house. The customer service person at TDS told me this would happen and there wasn't a thing they could do about it. The old line had a hum in it and quit working every time it rained, and I got tired of paying for such a useless utility. TDS itself was great to work with.

I will be curious to know what happens if you request internet service from TDS. I agree about Charter's bundling, it's totally obnoxious. I only have internet and it's something near $30 mo.

I periodically run a speed test, and right now I am getting 23.32 Mbps download and 5.42 up. It varies a lot. The fastest dl I ever got was 44.10. The 23 is more average, if you can live with that. My usage is not metered (yet).

Bwis53
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 7222
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:39 pm
Location: Bay Creek
Contact:

Re: Local ISPs

Postby Bwis53 » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:28 pm

I never thought I'd do this. TDS itself was very good. However, just before I retired I started having problems. We tried everything for over a year to fix the problem. Finally, while researching a related problem, ATT bragged to me that they could fix it and give me a package more tailored to my needs. My neighbors have had so many problems with Charter, if ATT ever gets to Baycreek, they will be welcomed with open arms.

HawkHead
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 1539
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:29 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby HawkHead » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:39 pm

My family is actually switching to TDS today. We got completely fed up with Charter. We were on some package and they wouldn't tell us when the package was over. So all of sudden you get a bill that is $50 higher for the month. Bad costumer service, when service did go out for 24 hour periods they wouldn't compensate you in any way for the problem. They made you pay for the day you couldn't use internet or the TV. Service was dropped on Fox for Packer games for a couple of weeks years ago.

We wanted to switch to AT&T but they didn't "serve" our part of Madison. The houses on the other side of the road out my backdoor can get it though.

Roy
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3893
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:31 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby Roy » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:42 pm

I'm in Janesville, but am sure the Charter services are pretty much the same. I agree others that Charter is overprices, but is the best internet speed for the buck.

For at lest the last 6 years I have been on one of their special deals. When the contract expires I call them and ask for another package deal, and they always say no.

When they say no, I threaten to go with another service. Often they will still refuse and say that special bundles are for new subscribers only: which they did the last time. I called AT&T Uverse and asked them to send someone out with a plan. They did and I filled out their contract (which I had no intention of buying), then told the guy to let me think about it for a couple of days, which they always do.

So I called Charter back. Gave them the contract number and price for the AT&T Uverse plan I had in my hand. They promptly gave my a TV/Internet bundle for 117.01 instead of $146.97.

Do not add the phone in your bundle. I use Magic Jack which is only $19.95 a year, and much cheaper than Charter.

snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 13879
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:38 pm

I don't have any contract with Charter. It's month to month. Have they got different arrangements in Janesville?

This whole thing is a big scam and once I figure out some other way to get internet, I am SO done with all these companies.

Roy
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3893
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:31 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby Roy » Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:29 pm

snoqueen wrote:I don't have any contract with Charter. It's month to month. Have they got different arrangements in Janesville?

This whole thing is a big scam and once I figure out some other way to get internet, I am SO done with all these companies.


Contracts are supposed to be only for new customers. After than it is month to month. However if you can convince them that they will lose you as a customer they cough up a contract for you.

Athena
Forum Addict
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:33 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby Athena » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:24 am

As far as I know, TDS doesn't want to do much residential internet and the areas where it is available are very limited. I had AT&T U-verse for years but had some issues with the speed especially with using Netflix. I recently switched to Charter. Charter had a faster speed than what U-verse could even offer and for $10 cheaper than what I had been paying AT&T. I've had to reset my router a few times to fix problems, but that's not a big deal.

I only have internet, not a TV service. I had to be firm with them that I only wanted internet. And I didn't sign a contract.

lukpac
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3371
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:51 pm
Location: Madison
Contact:

Re: Local ISPs

Postby lukpac » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:06 pm

snoqueen wrote:TDS stopped servicing the lines in my part of the east side. I don't know if this is true all over, though. Can't hurt to check with them.

They apparently gave up because they couldn't fight Charter. TDS does not own any lines. Charter owned the lines to my house but refused to upgrade them (apparently in violation of some law, while knowing I was never going to take them to court over something that small). Once I signed on with Charter, they upgraded my (ancient) line the same day, replacing the line from the pole all the way to point of use inside my house. The customer service person at TDS told me this would happen and there wasn't a thing they could do about it. The old line had a hum in it and quit working every time it rained, and I got tired of paying for such a useless utility. TDS itself was great to work with.


TDS was running over AT&T's telephone lines, not Charter's cable lines. TDS had no direct interaction with Charter.

In most of the city, there are two options: AT&T and Charter. TDS used to lease AT&T's lines and provide service as TDS Metrocom, but they have since gotten out of that business. Long story, but besides issues dealing with AT&T (who had to do the actual service on the lines), there were infrastructure limitations that prevented them from upgrading speeds.

In places like Middleton and Verona (and parts of the west side of Madison), TDS owns the phone lines; in those areas, your options are TDS (Telecom) and Charter (AT&T never ran over TDS's lines).

On my street, AT&T offers DSL, but not U-Verse, so I was limited to about 5 Mbps down and less than 1 Mbps up. I avoided Charter for years, but just switched to them, and I'm getting over 60 Mbps down and 4 Mbps up.

Roy
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3893
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:31 pm

Re: Local ISPs

Postby Roy » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:14 pm

lukpac wrote:On my street, AT&T offers DSL, but not U-Verse, so I was limited to about 5 Mbps down and less than 1 Mbps up. I avoided Charter for years, but just switched to them, and I'm getting over 60 Mbps down and 4 Mbps up


Same in Janesville except ( I think ) most of the city carries U-verse. As much as I dislike charter, I can't say no just for spite.

The only good thing about U-verse is something to hold over Charters head to entice them to give new contracts to non-new customers. When they tell me that U-verse is slow, I tell them that I'm retired and only use internet mostly for email to keep in touch with family and friends. That isn't true, but they don't know that.

lukpac
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3371
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:51 pm
Location: Madison
Contact:

Re: Local ISPs

Postby lukpac » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:26 pm

U-Verse is definitely in many areas in Madison, but for some reason it still isn't in my neighborhood.

To expand on my previous TDS/AT&T comments, there are two types of phone companies: ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier) and CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier). ILECs own the infrastructure, which (beginning in the '90s) CLECs could lease to provide service. For most of Madison proper, AT&T (formerly SBC, formerly Ameritech, formerly Wisconsin Bell) is the ILEC. For various outlying areas (Middleton, Verona, etc), TDS is the ILEC.

For a while, TDS was providing phone and Internet (DSL) in Madison as a CLEC (TDS Metrocom), running over AT&T's lines. In theory, AT&T would set up a line between the central office and the customer's house, then TDS would tie into that at the central office and verify things were working at the premises. In practice, DSL is quite sensitive to line conditions, especially at longer distances, so sometimes AT&T would hand things over to TDS, who would find issues and hand things back to AT&T, etc, etc. It wasn't good from a customer standpoint, and it probably wasn't the most cost-effective for either company.

In addition that, while AT&T has remote equipment all over the city to reduce the distance to customers' locations (and thus enabling faster speeds), TDS only provided access from the handful of central offices in town, which reduced their ability to offer faster speeds. At my house, due to its location, TDS was only able to offer a stable 1 Mbps DSL connection (or an unstable 2 Mbps connection), while AT&T was able to offer a (stable) 6 Mbps connection (served from a building down the street).

Because of those obstacles, TDS got out of the CLEC/Metrocom business a few years ago. They wanted to roll out WiMAX so they didn't have to rely on AT&T's lines, but that never got very far. Initially they were allowing existing customers to retain service and just weren't adding new customers; I'm not sure if they'll completely pulled the plug on existing customers yet or not.

But in areas where TDS is the ILEC (TDS Telecom), they continue to offer service, and are actually doing things like running fiber in some areas.

At the end of the day, these days there are really only two options: the cable company (Charter) and the ILEC phone company (AT&T or TDS, depending on the area).

Funny, just minutes ago I got an e-mail from AT&T saying they were sorry to see me leave, and to come back Real Soon. Unfortunately right now they aren't able to come close to Charter's speeds in my neighborhood.

Bwis53
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 7222
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:39 pm
Location: Bay Creek
Contact:

Re: Local ISPs

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:14 pm

lukpac, are you in my neighborhood? I'm thrilled with the way ATT improved my DSL!


Return to “Town Vibe”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests