Good ISP for Brooklyn?
July 16, 2012 6:26 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good high-speed internet provider that'll provide to not-all-that-outer Brooklyn?

Good ISP for Brooklyn

I live in Brooklyn, in South Park Slope, and am desperate for a better high-speed internet provider.

We currently have Earthlink/Roadrunner through Time Warner, which is abysmal and getting worse---we typically lose internet completely for a couple of hours a day. Everything indicates it's the internet connection, not the router (which I've swapped out a few times). When I call TWC, they agree that they can't see my modem, arrange to send out a tech, and then it starts working again in a few hours. And then it happens again a couple of days later.

So, I'm fed up, but I don't know what else will work. I looked at the previous thread on the subject, but RCN and Verizon FIOS aren't available in South Slope. Our apartment doesn't have a phone line running to it, so DSL seems like it would be both expensive to set up and ultimately slower (the Fuzzwife watches a lot of Netflix streaming, and I've been warned that DSL isn't good for that). Comcast satellite I've been warned off of, especially since I'm a renter. I have the $55/month TWC package, and I'd be happy to upgrade, but would it be worth it, or would I just be paying more for slightly faster unreliable service?

If anyone has any advice, it would be hugely appreciated! Including if anyone can tell me that I'm unfairly dismissing existing options. Thoughts? Anyone?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
It's been a while since I've had to deal with this, but I assume the fact that you have TWC means that Cablevision/Optimum is out of the picture, right?

Also, have they ever actually replaced the modem rather than just fiddled around with it?
posted by griphus at 6:34 AM on July 16, 2012

My landlord recommended Clear when I moved to Prospect Heights and I haven't had any issues with their service in the eight months that I've had it.
posted by icaicaer at 6:53 AM on July 16, 2012

Yeah losing your connection for a couple of hours a day sounds like something is really wrong, not that it's just normally mediocre service. I second trying to replace the modem and/or speak with a higher-level tech at Earthlink and complain. There's gotta be a reason this is happening. Maybe they can fix it.
posted by shivohum at 6:58 AM on July 16, 2012

When we had a problem very much like this one, we had them come out and replace the modem. It fixed everything instantly, including problems we'd assumed were the router's fault, and we were mostly just frustrated with ourselves for waiting for a year to have the guy come out. Particularly since it's free!

So yes, definitely get a new modem and then see. We've had okay luck with Optimum down in Sunset Park, but I don't think it's any better than TWC.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:16 AM on July 16, 2012

N'thing new modem -- this is likely the culprit. Also have the tech check the line signal strength in your building/home. Some have very old wiring that can affect data connections. The solution in this case is never easy (you'll either have to ask your landlord to rewire, or get your home rewired). Of course the easier solution in a case like this is to get something like Clear, though it won't be as fast as a wired connection.
posted by erstwhile at 7:31 AM on July 16, 2012

A similar thing happened to me in Queens and after about 5 ineffective visits from Time Warner I switched to DSL. I had a phone line at the time, but it so I don't know if it would be expensive to install if you didn't have one. I didn't notice any speed reduction; I do watch a lot of netflix/hulu and it would stop occasionally to buffer but not more than cable.

For what it's worth, the problem ended up being the actual cable line (going from the apartment to the roof); it hadn't been replaced since it was first installed in the 1980s. This wasn't discovered until the cable TV started experiencing the same kind of service disruptions about a year later.

Now, I live near you and I have Optimum; it's been much better than Time Warner, so I definitely recommend it if it's an option for you.
posted by matcha action at 7:32 AM on July 16, 2012

You can usually check the signal strength on your own. For my (Motorola) cable modem, you just do this by pointing a browser on that network to and clicking on the "Signal" link. A google search or the forums at DSL Reports can tell you what your signal level "should" be. If your signal is crap, it's probably the physical cable. If not, then I agree with others suggesting the modem could definitely be the culprit.
posted by Betelgeuse at 8:19 AM on July 16, 2012

FWIW, I dealt with this for a while. I live in your neighborhood. I too am stuck with TWC.

What I did:

1) File a complaint with the NY State Public Service Commission.

2) Told TWC that I needed a foreman out there to diagnose the problem properly.

3) That I would not consider the matter closed and addressed until it was fixed.

In my case, it turns out that the line from my house to the pole in the backyard was 25-30 years old. They replaced it, replaced the splitters between the pole and my segment, and replaced my modem for good measure. Took about an hour.

That was two years ago. My service outages are now limited to TWC's incompetence, rather than infrastructure.
posted by swngnmonk at 6:11 PM on July 16, 2012

Thanks for the advice, y'all!

As we're mostly using wireless, a Clear account sounds intriguing... What's people experience with it as compared to cable speeds?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:17 AM on July 17, 2012

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