Moving to Oakland: who's the best internet service provider?
January 1, 2010 2:53 PM   Subscribe

I currently live in San Francisco where I use WebPass, which I adore. It's by far the best ISP I've ever had: cheap, lightning-fast, and impeccable customer service. Now I am moving to the East Bay, and I need a new provider. I'm a really heavy internet user, so this is an important decision for me –--- please help me make a good one.

Some parameters:

* I use the internet for normal, basic stuff like reading, transactions and watching video. The single most important thing to me is speed. Second most important is reliability.

* I just want to go online. I don't want a “package” with bundled stuff like landline phone services, TV, “security features,” e-mail addresses, and so on.

* If the service is reliable, I won't ever need customer service. If I do need it, though, I'd prefer if it were more human rather than corporate – e.g., no call trees, no help scripts, and no need to repeat my account number a million times.

* Cheap is good, but simple is even better. I don't want to have to scrutinize and validate my bills every month: I want a flat, stable, predictable price.

* I would prefer a non-evil provider: so, one that has a decent privacy policy, doesn't do traffic management/shaping, doesn't have caps and isn't likely to add them, etc.

Generally, I am pretty sure I'd prefer a smaller, smarter ISP to for example ComCast or ATT. (Like I said, WebPass is perfect for me.) But I don't know who those providers are in Oakland. If you do know, please help!
posted by Susan PG to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There's Speakeasy.
posted by bradbane at 3:13 PM on January 1, 2010

Best answer: is one of the last mom-and-pop style ISPs around (y'know, that I know of). They resell all the extras like phone, cable, etc., but you certainly don't have to use them. They are very cool, smart, put humans on the support lines, and are active in the sonic.* Usenet groups they run.
posted by rhizome at 3:14 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't call Speakeasy non-evil: they're owned by Best Buy.
posted by rhizome at 3:15 PM on January 1, 2010

Best answer: Sonic in San Rosa was always great for me. LanMinds in Berkeley is stellar; they actually helped me over the phone straighten out a problem caused by Earthlink. Check here for what's available and reviews.
posted by tula at 7:00 PM on January 1, 2010

+1 on Been using them for two years in the north bay, and no regrets.
posted by zusty at 8:56 PM on January 1, 2010

Best answer: Yet another enthusiastic endorsement. Been a happy customer for years. Recently switched to Fusion ADSL and it's super fast and reliable. The best thing about them is that if you call tech support, you get a real functioning technical support person hanging out in Santa Rosa waiting to help you. Instead of "no, I won't reinstall windows" my conversations are more like "DNS resolution is working, and I can ping your router but the traceroute stops 3 hops away" and we start there. It's great.
posted by Nelson at 8:12 AM on January 2, 2010

was also a user while in Oakland ... would happily recommend them again, though I no longer use them (on account of being in a different country now)
posted by nonspecialist at 5:48 AM on January 3, 2010

Speakeasy's been good to me. I was a customer long before the Best Buy and the service hasn't changed. However, it's not like I'm personally interacting with them all the time so it could have changed and I would not have noticed.
posted by chairface at 9:56 AM on January 4, 2010

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