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Cheap but good home internets? NetZero? FreedomPop? Something else?
June 4, 2013 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I currently have Comcast cable internet at home. I hate Comcast. I'm curious about these newfangled internet delivery systems including Netzero, FreedomPop and - is there anything else?

I would like to hear about your experience or if you know of any articles comparing NetZero, FreedomPop or any other cheap internet option to the regular broadband options of DSL and cable. (I've done my own googling but all I can find seems like PR pieces.) I have had Comcast cable and Qwest DSL alternately for years. Neither one has impressed me and the current cable internet that I've had for years sometimes has just horrid speeds -- I've talked to Comcast ad nauseum and they've even sent a tech out but nothing improves.

Important considerations in order of importance: no contract, price, speed. I currently have Economy Plus from Comcast which costs $40/mo for "up to" 3 Mbps down. I also pay $7/mo for a modem rental. Like everyone else, I would like to pay less and get more.

I can't tell what the NetZero 4G Broadband speeds are - does anyone know? But, I like their pricing of $20 for 2GB and $50 for the hotspot device. I'm not sure if 2GB is enough but all I do is surf the internet - very few videos, no gaming. FreedomPop advertises its "Fastest 8x Speed" gets up to 8 Mbps down and costs $19/mo for 10GB/mo. The modem/router, FreedomHub Burst, costs $90.

Does anyone have either of these services? Do you get good speeds - are you happy with the service? I will just be using this at home and, based on the coverage maps, I should be okay.

Anything else I should be considering? I'm in Denver, Colorado if it matters. Thanks
posted by fieldtrip to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
NetZero resells Clearwire's 4G Broadband, I think. If you're thinking about getting NetZero for its 4G service, you'd be better off going with Clear. Their pricing is probably better for your potential usage. Last I checked, they don't have advertised bandwidth limits. Having never used NetZero or Clear, I can't actually say whether or not their service is any good, unfortunately.
posted by retypepassword at 7:43 PM on June 4, 2013


Scratch that. Clear's plans aren't much better than what you're currently getting from Comcast, because the $35/mo. plan is throttled to 1.5 Mbps down. Here's some information on NetZero's speeds. Here's some more. It's supposedly up to 10 Mbps down.
posted by retypepassword at 8:02 PM on June 4, 2013


You will never, ever get 10mb from anything using clears network. You'll get like.. 2. And i'm talking about this as someone who has a clearwire modem as an "emergency backup" for various things and has tested it extensively in seattle, which is their original and most solidly built out location.

I've had similarly "meh" experiences with other 4g/3g boxes like the freedompop. The often high latency makes the connection feel even crappier than it is.

Honestly, i'd just threatened to cancel comcast and mention the speed as a reason. You'll probably get some big price break and a faster speed tier for 6 months. If it works satisfactorily, call them up in six months again and hammer in how many times you had to call them and have them send a tech out and etc. Really roast them, you'll more than likely end up with some price break for the fast speed again. I've never seen a place they didn't offer at least 20mb if they had service at all, even in non major metro areas, so you should be good on that front at least theoretically.

In my experience everything but qwest and comcast sucked, and qwest sucked more than comcast... and comcast still sucks.

It's a "lesser of available evils" thing and it's really crap that there isn't something like google fiber everywhere by now, but oh well...
posted by emptythought at 10:12 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Clear is as frustrating as Comcast and just as trustworthy (by which I mean not really at all). It's $50 for the hub and then $50 a month for "unlimited" that I am positive they throttle but I don't know the specifics. Call Comcast and talk them into something better.
posted by KAS at 5:45 AM on June 5, 2013


I should have also mentioned that you should check the Clear coverage map very carefully for wherever you'll be using it the most. Nothing more frustrating than trying to send something important and moving the Clear device all over the house. Make sure you're very solidly in the dark green portion of the map, no light green.
posted by KAS at 5:47 AM on June 5, 2013


I'm not really looking at Clear - but was considering FreedomPop or to a lesser extent NetZero.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:16 AM on June 5, 2013


I'd be very interested in hearing about this as well. I'm currently in Denver and have the 'normal' cable and get around 22Mbps down and around 3Mbps up. Granted it's about $75/month for that service. However, you can buy the cable modem online and eliminate the rental. A used or refurbished one will probably make it worthwhile.

Unfortunately, all we're going to get in Denver for awhile is expensive Cable modem or slow/bad DSL service because the lawmakers basically banned municipal broadband development with the help of the comcast and qwest.
posted by kookywon at 9:40 AM on June 5, 2013


There's a good current comparison of various pre-paid providers here.
posted by LowellLarson at 1:33 PM on June 5, 2013


Kookywon - I would also need to purchase a wireless router as well? Is that correct - I need a stand alone modem and router? I really don't understand all of this.
posted by fieldtrip at 5:09 PM on June 5, 2013


I need a stand alone modem and router?

Looks like it... FWIW, with CenturyLink in Denver provided an ADSL2 modem / router. It's a wireless router with 4 ethernet sockets and works very nicely. And your phone line just plus right into that.
posted by NailsTheCat at 8:14 PM on June 5, 2013


Thanks Nails. But, it looks like I can only get 1.5Mbps from CenturyLink at my house...at $30/month with a 12 month contract. I'm not sure the savings would justify the speed.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:20 PM on June 5, 2013


I would also need to purchase a wireless router as well? Is that correct

Nope! i just sold one of these on my ebay shop recently. Integrated wireless N router and cable modem all in one.

You can get two separate units if you want, but it'll cost more and there's vanishingly no reason to.

And never, ever ever buy any service from centurylink. Especially at that awful speed. I ordered 7mb service from them, and only ever got 3-1.5 at which point they trotted out the argument that 7mb was the "theoretical maximum" and the speed my modem was configured to run at which practically seemed like fraud to me.(Especially coming at this from the perspective of someone with Sysadmin/network engineer experience) Yea, they suck.
posted by emptythought at 11:31 AM on June 6, 2013


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