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Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:58 pm
by deikel
Spectrum just unilaterally bumped my Internet pricing up by 33% and I am now paying more then I want to for a speed I don't need.

As expected, their phone service is oblivious and they don't care since they are a monopolist, apparently that is the new lowest rate (and lowest speed).

Is there an alternative way to get reasonably reliable Internet service for lowest dollar possible ? I had 2 mbs down and 1 mbs up, which was plenty fast for my need - so its not about any speed for me, just minimal cost is the target.

Any ideas what alternatives exist ?

Somewhat related, I don't understand why everyone talks about rural America needing high speed internet, my 2/1 was perfectly suitable for web, email, Netflix, youtube ect - why is everyone after the 'crazy fast speed internet' - when is that actually needed? The new service they assigned to me is 20/2 mbs and I see little difference other then websites load a little faster....

Any help/ideas/thoughts appreciated - I am in Upstate NY if that makes a difference

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:24 pm
by GrowthSeeker
AFAIK, it typically takes a good 3 or 4 Mbps (Mega bits per second) to see good video. But more importantly, if there are several devices using the same connection, they each need some of the bandwidth. Netflix allows you to select the data quality (so if your connection is relatively slow you can still usually watch), but probably not all video on all websites does that.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm
by JoeRetire
There are always alternatives. They are always very location-specific and are usually much slower than the dominant local cable operator. If you don't care about speed, perhaps it won't matter.

Try: https://www.google.com/search?q=interne ... in+my+area

This might help: https://www.highspeedinternet.com/ny/albany

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm
by dual
Ideas:
  • 1. telephone company. I get my internet from AT&T
    2. If your neighbors are reasonably close, share your connection and split the price. This could be done with a powerful enough wifi signal or by hardwiring. It will require some network savvy to split the signal so your neighbor cannot access your local network but some online research will show you how to do it.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:31 pm
by JoeRetire
dual wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm Ideas:
  • 1. telephone company. I get my internet from AT&T
    2. If your neighbors are reasonably close, share your connection and split the price. This could be done with a powerful enough wifi signal or by hardwiring. It will require some network savvy to split the signal so your neighbor cannot access your local network but some online research will show you how to do it.
#2 is almost always prohibited by your agreement with your home internet provider.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:38 pm
by 02nz
Whether there are reasonable alternatives vary a lot by area. Where I live Spectrum is the only provider of residential high-speed internet, so if you're in a similar situation then you don't really have a choice.

However, I have gotten better pricing by simply canceling and signing up as a new customer. I switch the name on the account to a different member of the household but even that may not be necessary. I did this with another provider in the past in another area. Getting internet service is very quick so this meant no more than maybe half an hour interruption of service for around $25/mo of savings.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:00 pm
by deikel
GrowthSeeker wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:24 pm AFAIK, it typically takes a good 3 or 4 Mbps (Mega bits per second) to see good video. But more importantly, if there are several devices using the same connection, they each need some of the bandwidth. Netflix allows you to select the data quality (so if your connection is relatively slow you can still usually watch), but probably not all video on all websites does that.
We are three in the household and watch on TV screen, PC screen and Tablet as well as cell phone (max three at any given time of course), Netflix buffers very, very well and we can all watch with no issue at 2/1 - granted its not 4k, but perfectly fine

I think people actually need less then they realize

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:01 pm
by deikel
dual wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm Ideas:
  • 1. telephone company. I get my internet from AT&T
    2. If your neighbors are reasonably close, share your connection and split the price. This could be done with a powerful enough wifi signal or by hardwiring. It will require some network savvy to split the signal so your neighbor cannot access your local network but some online research will show you how to do it.
Nice idea, I tried that last year when the neighbors moved in and needed Internet for a couple of weeks until their service was working - alas, its too far away - we are rural indeed. Even at max power setting of my wifi router, they could not see my guest network

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:02 pm
by deikel
JoeRetire wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:31 pm
dual wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm Ideas:
  • 1. telephone company. I get my internet from AT&T
    2. If your neighbors are reasonably close, share your connection and split the price. This could be done with a powerful enough wifi signal or by hardwiring. It will require some network savvy to split the signal so your neighbor cannot access your local network but some online research will show you how to do it.
#2 is almost always prohibited by your agreement with your home internet provider.
I don't feel particularly loyal to Spectrum right this second...

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:04 pm
by deikel
02nz wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:38 pm Whether there are reasonable alternatives vary a lot by area. Where I live Spectrum is the only provider of residential high-speed internet, so if you're in a similar situation then you don't really have a choice.

However, I have gotten better pricing by simply canceling and signing up as a new customer. I switch the name on the account to a different member of the household but even that may not be necessary. I did this with another provider in the past in another area. Getting internet service is very quick so this meant no more than maybe half an hour interruption of service for around $25/mo of savings.
Thank you, good idea, if they raise it again in the next time and I find no alternative, that's what I will do

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:08 pm
by deikel
JoeRetire wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm There are always alternatives. They are always very location-specific and are usually much slower than the dominant local cable operator. If you don't care about speed, perhaps it won't matter.

Try: https://www.google.com/search?q=interne ... in+my+area

This might help: https://www.highspeedinternet.com/ny/albany
Thanks for those links, so far no cheaper alternative for me...some of the interesting services are only in larger towns, not in the boonies.

..as an aside, I am amazed how bad the reviews for all of these companies are, they don't seem to excel in service, what's so hard in giving people reliable internet ? Odd

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:14 pm
by JoeRetire
deikel wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:02 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:31 pm
dual wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm Ideas:
  • 1. telephone company. I get my internet from AT&T
    2. If your neighbors are reasonably close, share your connection and split the price. This could be done with a powerful enough wifi signal or by hardwiring. It will require some network savvy to split the signal so your neighbor cannot access your local network but some online research will show you how to do it.
#2 is almost always prohibited by your agreement with your home internet provider.
I don't feel particularly loyal to Spectrum right this second...
Okay. If you don't feel obligated to avoid breaking the law, you could splice into your neighbor's cable and get it for free.
That'll show 'em.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:15 pm
by JoeRetire
deikel wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:08 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:30 pm There are always alternatives. They are always very location-specific and are usually much slower than the dominant local cable operator. If you don't care about speed, perhaps it won't matter.

Try: https://www.google.com/search?q=interne ... in+my+area

This might help: https://www.highspeedinternet.com/ny/albany
Thanks for those links, so far no cheaper alternative for me...some of the interesting services are only in larger towns, not in the boonies.

..as an aside, I am amazed how bad the reviews for all of these companies are, they don't seem to excel in service, what's so hard in giving people reliable internet ? Odd
Service costs money. Reliable service moreso. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:40 pm
by dual
deikel wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:01 pm Nice idea, I tried that last year when the neighbors moved in and needed Internet for a couple of weeks until their service was working - alas, its too far away - we are rural indeed. Even at max power setting of my wifi router, they could not see my guest network
RJ45 Ethernet cable can transmit signals over long distances. See this 300 foot cable:
https://www.amazon.com/UbiGear-Ethernet ... FGQ921MFSE

There are also directional wifi transmitters. This one claims it is usable over 15 kilometers (!)
https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Long-Ran ... B00N2RO63U

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:48 pm
by frugalprof
Have you checked their deals for existing customers on their website?

We also seem to get flyers in the mail every three months or so for new customers. When dropping existing service, and applying as a new customer, it's good to look at these deals first.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:14 pm
by stan1
Call and plead poverty, old age, young kids, veteran, etc. We have to do that every year. After some drama they give us about 10% back. In our area the phone company can't come close so switching so there really isn't a viable option to switch to which is what we'd have to do to save more. Not quite ready to go entirely mobile phone service for the house yet, either but maybe in a few years?

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:31 pm
by 02nz
frugalprof wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:48 pm Have you checked their deals for existing customers on their website?

We also seem to get flyers in the mail every three months or so for new customers. When dropping existing service, and applying as a new customer, it's good to look at these deals first.
One related trick is to use a different internet connection (e.g., your cellphone, not connected to wifi) to look for "new" service. If you use your existing connection your ISP knows they've already got you, and the prices will often be higher.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:14 pm
by TheCowbell
I'm also being extorted by Spectrum. No alternatives for me, I don't even have a copper POTS line anymore.

For those that cancel and re-sub with Spectrum can you offer any advice?

Do you cancel on a Tuesday and sign up again on Wednesday?
Do you have to time your cancellation to line up with your billing/service date?
What exactly happens, is a visit by a Spectrum tech necessary for a new signup?

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:18 am
by JBTX
I saw a promotional for new spectrum customers and called and eventually got it even though I was an existing customer. I think the phone rep just made a mistake. It caused some confusion and required a couple of phone calls but eventually they honored it. About $25 a month.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:22 am
by 22twain
frugalprof wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:48 pm We also seem to get flyers in the mail every three months or so for new customers.
We get two or three per month. We're in former Charter territory, and have never been customers, even for TV. We have an old-fashioned antenna on the roof which works fine for us. However, in our neighborhood, AT&T provides only 0.75 Mbps DSL service, which is now only marginally acceptable for current code-bloated web sites. (We don't do streaming video.) Even AT&T''s own web site barely functions over our connection. :annoyed So we may have to go over to the Dark Side soon.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:28 am
by tarheel
02nz wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:38 pm Whether there are reasonable alternatives vary a lot by area. Where I live Spectrum is the only provider of residential high-speed internet, so if you're in a similar situation then you don't really have a choice.

However, I have gotten better pricing by simply canceling and signing up as a new customer. I switch the name on the account to a different member of the household but even that may not be necessary. I did this with another provider in the past in another area. Getting internet service is very quick so this meant no more than maybe half an hour interruption of service for around $25/mo of savings.
This. I actually know a Spectrum employee and this is exactly what they suggested when I was in the same situation.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:45 am
by 02nz
TheCowbell wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:14 pm I'm also being extorted by Spectrum. No alternatives for me, I don't even have a copper POTS line anymore.

For those that cancel and re-sub with Spectrum can you offer any advice?

Do you cancel on a Tuesday and sign up again on Wednesday?
Do you have to time your cancellation to line up with your billing/service date?
What exactly happens, is a visit by a Spectrum tech necessary for a new signup?
No visit needed, you really only need to provide the MAC address of the cable modem to the ISP for provisioning of the "new" service. I had the "new" service up and running in maybe half an hour. $30/mo instead of $64 (IIRC) for the same speed. Repeat after 12 months (typically that's how long the promo pricing is good for). Pretty easy $400 in savings.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:36 am
by zlandar
deikel wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:58 pm Somewhat related, I don't understand why everyone talks about rural America needing high speed internet, my 2/1 was perfectly suitable for web, email, Netflix, youtube ect - why is everyone after the 'crazy fast speed internet' - when is that actually needed? The new service they assigned to me is 20/2 mbs and I see little difference other then websites load a little faster....
There are jobs/services that require a fast and reliable internet connection. As an example rural hospitals are often covered remotely by physicians after hours. Imaging done at these hospitals (Xrays, CTs, etc) are often interpreted remotely and rely on the speed of the connection. Slow connection means painfully slow transmission times for studies that cause delays. Slow speeds at both ends doubles the delay.

If an area does not have a fast and reliable internet service it will be an automatic no for people and companies that need it.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:59 am
by deikel
zlandar wrote: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:36 am
deikel wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:58 pm Somewhat related, I don't understand why everyone talks about rural America needing high speed internet, my 2/1 was perfectly suitable for web, email, Netflix, youtube ect - why is everyone after the 'crazy fast speed internet' - when is that actually needed? The new service they assigned to me is 20/2 mbs and I see little difference other then websites load a little faster....
There are jobs/services that require a fast and reliable internet connection. As an example rural hospitals are often covered remotely by physicians after hours. Imaging done at these hospitals (Xrays, CTs, etc) are often interpreted remotely and rely on the speed of the connection. Slow connection means painfully slow transmission times for studies that cause delays. Slow speeds at both ends doubles the delay.

If an area does not have a fast and reliable internet service it will be an automatic no for people and companies that need it.
Thanks for this example

But I really don't think its true. My company actually sits on a dial up line equivalent (I checked with our IT), we are 50 people, so not small and no one can work when the internet is down true enough, but our provider speed is actually laughably slow and IT claims its all just a question of the router settings and prioritizing. True, sending GB worth of data to customers takes a while, but we have no life or death decision if it takes some longer.

Remote imaging analysis in India or other labor cheap countries is the norm now, but does it really matter if it takes 10 min to submit the dataset (assuming no ER work) ?

I just get the feeling that this whole 'we need fast internet everywhere' is a marketing/funding trick from the big providers to get money to built out the infrastructure and cement their monopoly. I don't think that end users truly understand how little bandwidth they really need and how much money end users could save by going back in bandwidth....but maybe that's just me, I am sure there are exceptions.

Re: Alternative to Spectrum Cable Internet

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:57 am
by zlandar
deikel wrote: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:59 am
zlandar wrote: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:36 am
deikel wrote: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:58 pm Somewhat related, I don't understand why everyone talks about rural America needing high speed internet, my 2/1 was perfectly suitable for web, email, Netflix, youtube ect - why is everyone after the 'crazy fast speed internet' - when is that actually needed? The new service they assigned to me is 20/2 mbs and I see little difference other then websites load a little faster....
There are jobs/services that require a fast and reliable internet connection. As an example rural hospitals are often covered remotely by physicians after hours. Imaging done at these hospitals (Xrays, CTs, etc) are often interpreted remotely and rely on the speed of the connection. Slow connection means painfully slow transmission times for studies that cause delays. Slow speeds at both ends doubles the delay.

If an area does not have a fast and reliable internet service it will be an automatic no for people and companies that need it.
Thanks for this example

But I really don't think its true. My company actually sits on a dial up line equivalent (I checked with our IT), we are 50 people, so not small and no one can work when the internet is down true enough, but our provider speed is actually laughably slow and IT claims its all just a question of the router settings and prioritizing. True, sending GB worth of data to customers takes a while, but we have no life or death decision if it takes some longer.

Remote imaging analysis in India or other labor cheap countries is the norm now, but does it really matter if it takes 10 min to submit the dataset (assuming no ER work) ?

I just get the feeling that this whole 'we need fast internet everywhere' is a marketing/funding trick from the big providers to get money to built out the infrastructure and cement their monopoly. I don't think that end users truly understand how little bandwidth they really need and how much money end users could save by going back in bandwidth....but maybe that's just me, I am sure there are exceptions.
You need a state medical license to get credentialed at any US hospital. Physician credentialing has progressive gotten more ridiculous over the years. It's not unusual that new fellows (MDs who have completed a 3-5+ residency plus 1+ year of subspecialty training) being unable to practice at a hospital because the credentialing dept insists that the MD finish fellowship before they apply. It takes at least 30-60 days to get credentialed. A physician without a state medical license has zero chance of being credentialed at most hospitals. None of the rural hospitals I work at will consider it.

Many hospital-based physicians have become used to the dreaded 3 letter epithet called TAT (turn-around-time). 10 min matters when a hospital bureaucrat insists that an imaging study is interpreted in 30-60 min or patients get seen and discharged from an ER in a set amount of time. For simple X-rays it doesn't matter but when the ER starts churning out whole body CTs on multiple patients? Yeah it matters.