Friday, August 21, 2009

Internet Service in State College / Penn State Area

Internet Service in State College
Recently we had to switch internet service providers (ISP) so I decided to write up whatever research I had done on the issue. Here it is, plunge in and enjoy. Happy browsing eventually!
  • The internet options are listed by groupings for 1-2 persons and 3-4 person units.
  • Some price recommendations based on prices in mid July 2009 are also made here.
  • The order in which the companies are provided is alphabetical, not based on quality/experience.
MAIN POINTS [updates]
  • It is clear the VERIZON and D&E require contracts. It is not clear if Comcast requires a contract or if one can go month to month. If you can go month to month with Comcast, then the 42.95/mo deal is a good for groups of 3-4 ppl. Similarly the 24.95 month to month plan with comcast also would be a good deal if you don't like being locked in to cable or phone service.
  • Verizon makes you do at least a 1 yr contact but you will get price fixed at 19.99 or 29.99 or 42.99 depending on the speed. I would be cautious about 2 year contracts, it is a pain and net prices would only go down in the future most likely. Also note, D&E gets expensive after 3 months so see if you can persuade them on phone to match other companies's offers.
1. Comcast (used extensively for over 1 year)
Has 3 major plans (link)
Comcast applies professional installation fees (at least $49 for 1 PC and for 5 PC home networking it is $149). Also if you do not have cable, their installation fee are $99 (from phone rep).
Comcast has a special student offer (look for tables on College Avenue near Heister St) of 69.99/mo for cable+internet. The installation fee for this is only 9.95 as a one time charge. Their may be other fine print regards equipment charges so do double check those, but overall this seems like a decent offer!
(i) $ 19.95/month for 6 months, $42.95 thereafter this pricing with Voice or cable service only - so it might be quite high, cable is usually 30/month with Comcast]. See fine print images here...

(ii) $24.95/month = basic speed, Internet only option - good for 1-2 people moderate browsing. (this pricing with Voice or cable service only)

(iii) $ 59.95/month - decent speed, 3-4 people with moderate browsing can do ok (with a wireless router and self set up)
(iv) They have other plans listed here which are more expensive but are higher bandwidth, speed plans. [Link]
[Experience with Comcast: 1 year as (shared) user, fairly reliable coverage]

2. D and E Communications
State College Area (residential) [Prices as of July 19 2009 from this link]

Monthly Payment Plan
Get unlimited access to the Internet:

Promotional Rate Rate after 3 months
7.0M/1.0M $19.95/mo. $39.95/mo.
10.0M/2.0M $29.95/mo. $49.95/mo.

* They also charge $50 for self installation of networks with a wireless router. However I would probably test a wireless router on the network directly before paying any $50 fees. They also charge $125 for installation of home wireless network. They also "rent" out a router for $10 per month, but this is similar to telephone companies renting you a landline instrument monthly. Say NO and buy your own Router from Amazon etc.
[Experience with D&E: brief (used while staying at friend's house for 10 days)]

3. Earthlink (never used, just heard about)
In 16801 area they only have premium dialup (landline needed!!) (internet cost $10 to 12.50/mo) or satellite at 60/mo.

4. Verizon DSL

They have three plans
Starter 19.99/ mo 1 yr contract - compares to Comcast basic, better than D&E

Power Plan 29.99 /mo 1 yr contract

Turbo - $ 42.95/mo for 1 yr contract
compares to Comcast high speed plans.

[Experience with Verizon: 2 years in 2005-6] DSL connections have their own issues as experienced in 2006. We do not know current status. However other friends of ours have used DSL with no issues.

5. AT&T (never used)
Dialups and laptop connect cards only. (expensive?).

6. Wired and Wireless Connection (close to downtown)
One other option is to look into a company that provides wifi all over downtown State College, PA. They also provide "wired" connection via satellite box in select downtown building/apartments. [Building list]
(Tip: If you already have getwireless, you can get credit for referring a friend. Check it out)

7. Free/Shared Wifi/ PennState Wifi
This is a controversial suggestion, but sometimes if you can detect secure or unsecure wifi in your area, you could try casually finding out from the neighbors if they are willing to share wifi for a small fee. Hey, it might work! But the quality/reliability etc are issues to be kept in mind, not to mention the perception of privacy which some people might want to live in.
If you can connect to Penn State Wireless network, you live close to enough to campus and you are in great shape then.

8. Hughes Satellite etc. (please google it)
Enter zipcode and see pricing.
16801 (State college) it starts at 59.95/month.
Equipment purchase cost $ 200 or lease costs $99 +10/month.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Adam and I are looking at different options, and this really helps!


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