Broadband in the Greater LA area?
December 18, 2011 12:30 AM   Subscribe

Broadband recommendations for the Long Beach/Greater L.A. area? There is, of course, a catch...

My brother is getting our dad a laptop for Christmas, and he seems to think that he needs a wireless router bought separately (which would then be my present for him).

I don't know the first thing about broadband packages in L.A., but it seems to me that they would come with a wireless router, right? Because they do over here in the UK.

And there are installation issues - I'm not in L.A., my brother's not in L.A., my dad kinda likes being a luddite, and he works nights. So there might be some issues there. It's gotta be something where they set it all up nicely, and they have to be there in the morning, because waking my dad up in the afternoon is like poking polar bears with a stick.

So, really, what I'm hoping for is this: A broadband package that is fairly cheap, comes with a wireless router, lets someone in another country pay for the initial set-up, sets it all up perfectly in the morning, and has the speed and quality to let my dad watch things like NASA videos and Dodger games while at home.

Is that possible? If it's not, could you recommend to me a good broadband provider that my dad could use?
posted by Katemonkey to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Getting Well-Connected

This LA Times article is from 2008, but still applicable. It features step-by-step instructions for choosing a provider, contacting them, and setting up your broadband internet connection in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Region. It's understandably non-intuitive for someone living abroad.
posted by carsonb at 12:39 AM on December 18, 2011

I am in California and my cable company charges a rental fee of 10.00 per month for a wireless router. I passed on that option and bought one which they setup for me for a fee of 5.00.

One of the providers in that area is Time-Warner.
posted by cairnoflore at 12:41 AM on December 18, 2011

Also, I've only had relatively minor (in the grand Bureaucratic sense) dust ups with TimeWarner Cable Internet regarding different billing and service addresses. I'm pretty sure it's possible to do with any provider, but it might take some intensive phone work at first and maintenance down the line.
posted by carsonb at 12:41 AM on December 18, 2011

The wireless routers the ISP gives you are usually garbage, honestly... If your brother wants to buy him one and knows how to set them up, i'd let him.
posted by empath at 1:04 AM on December 18, 2011

You or your brother can ship a good Linksys router to your Dad through Amazon. The ISP guy will usually agree to help configure the router for a small fee.

I had some experience with Time Warner is LA, and wasn't too happy. The internet was pretty flaky and their customer support was lacking. I was only there a few months, though, so I'm not familiar with other ISP options.
posted by redlines at 1:35 AM on December 18, 2011

...let my dad watch things like NASA videos and Dodger games while at home.

Just a side note: I cruised the Dodgers' website and it appears that they don't offer an in-market streaming package (only the Yankees and Phillies allow people to buy a service that streams games to them over the Internet in their TV markets). This means that if your dad lives in the Los Angeles market, he will not be able to stream Dodgers games over the Internet with one of the approved means. (the online streaming package) only allows watching out-of-market games. For example, your dad living in Los Angeles could watch Houston Astros or San Francisco Giants games, but not Los Angeles Dodgers or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games. This applies even if the team is playing on the road.

This all goes out the window if you are intending for him to get television service and Internet bundled together. Then he would have access to PrimeTicket (pay TV) and KCAL9 (free broadcast TV), the two channels that show Dodger baseball.

This has been a royal pain in the butt for baseball fans for years, but MLB shows no signs of changing its stance any time soon.
posted by fireoyster at 1:36 AM on December 18, 2011

Fireoyster, I guesed at what he would do. When he visits me, it's nothing but Astronomy Picture of the Day and Dodgers stats.

(Which, y'know, keeps him busy and away from my internet life, so, awesome.)

So, no to Time-Warner... What about Verizon or Charter? Both of them apparently service the area my dad is in.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:52 AM on December 18, 2011

I am a satisfied Charter customer in the LA area. No clue about the set-up fees, but they will configure it through an existing wireless router if you own one, which I recommend over renting one. (At least, I do remember they had an option to rent a router from them back when we signed up, but we didn't pay much attention to it because even a $100 router could have been paid for after a handful of months renting and it seemed like such a waste of money.)
posted by Nattie at 5:04 AM on December 18, 2011

I've been very happy with Charter uptime and service over the past ~8 years, for what it's worth.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:36 AM on December 18, 2011

I've been more or less satisfied with Verizon's service here in LA, and they were even pretty quick about repairs when a rainstorm knocked out my phone line a couple years ago. But I'd be very surprised if they'll set up a router for you--they generally just send you a router/modem in the mail with some instructions, unless something's changed recently. Maybe they'll do it for a fee.
posted by equalpants at 4:20 PM on December 18, 2011

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