Moving to Portland Yippee! Sorting thru cable providers Yikes!
October 7, 2014 11:31 PM   Subscribe

I am moving to Portland OR at the end of the month and it seems that the three cable/internet providers all have really bad reviews. Is one less bad than the other two? .

I only want basic TV (local channels) and high speed internet for streaming. I am trying to stay out of the bundle/contract deals that keep getting pushed at me. I would not mind if my TV and internet were two separate providers but I am not sure if that is the best way to go. Are there independent internet providers in Portland?

The current renters are paying $80 per month for basic TV and internet. That seems high to me but I could be way wrong.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
posted by cairnoflore to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have much advice because I don't have a wealth of knowledge on the topic, but I will say that where I live (inner SE), Comcast was really the only viable option available. After our initial cheaper rate for basic cable/internet expired, we started (and are now) paying around $80. The DSL options are cheaper but the internet is much slower and less reliable.

This question has been asked a few times on the Portland reddit if you want to peruse those responses.
posted by majesty_snowbird at 1:44 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm paying ~$60/mo for internet from Comcast in North Portland without a contract. I get nearly 50 mbps on a wired connection which is quite fast in my opinion. Wait time for customer service always seems short and the reps have always been very polite. However each rep seems to tell me something different and I find all that mildly annoying . Still, I'm very happy with the speed I'm getting and I think they're an overall good choice for internet.

For television, I just use an antenna to pick up the local channels in HD for free.

Comcast's is a bit expensive I suppose, but I believe they are the only cable internet provider in Portland proper. There are some DSL options for internet too but they won't be nearly as fast. Therefore, if you're looking for best speed possible, you might just wanna go with Comcast.
posted by thepdm at 1:45 AM on October 8, 2014

If all you want are local channels, like @thepdm says, you should try an antenna. I live in the West Hills in a valley where it is hard to pick up cell signals, and I could get some of the local channels OTA.

For internet, besides Comcast at 50Mbps, you also have CenturyLink at 40Mbps. Supposedly both Frontier and Century link are bringing gigabit speeds to parts of Portland. And, Google Fiber is perhaps on the horizon.
posted by elmay at 3:05 AM on October 8, 2014

Beaverton is wired with fiber, so Frontier is another choice there.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:25 AM on October 8, 2014

Often the decision is made for you by your address. We had ATT U-Verse and liked it fine in our house. When we moved to our apartment, about 2 miles south, our only choice was Comcast Xfinity.

If you really don't want more than local channels, get an antenna, the local channels with come in perfectly in HD. Then subscribe to Hulu or whatever for any ancillary shows you might want to see.

In Atlanta we pay $130 a month for the top tier channel package, HBO, expanded sports, On Demand, 26M internet and home phone. That's a lot of entertainment and services all things considered.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:25 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I am moving to Sellwood, Inner SE. I will look into the antenna and contact Comcast.
posted by cairnoflore at 9:54 AM on October 8, 2014

(I was posting this just as you posted your update, but for future readers, I'll leave it.)

Sorry to say that majesty_snowbird is right. Portland is kind of terrible for good internet providers at reasonable prices. Reasonable prices mean slower speeds, especially for DSL internet providers. Frontier does provide FIOS service, but in my part of town their $30/month plan is only 6Mbps (!!!).

Depending on your particular area, your choices are:


Promotional prices can be really good, but where they all screw you is when your promo period expires. My advice there would be to get the longest promo period possible and then downgrade to a level you find acceptable. (Unfortunately, it will still probably be more expensive than you want it to be.)

We're paying $70/month for internet with HBO and the basic, non-HD channels (modem rental is part of that price, so it would only - hah - be $62 if we owned our own modem).

As an aside, when I looked at Google Fiber prices in other cities (since Portland doesn't have it yet, but is on their list of cities), they were basically the same as what we're paying for Comcast now - $70/unlimited. Their free service is 5Mbps and a $300 construction fee. If you use wi-fi to connect your devices to the internet, like I do, it doesn't matter if your connection is 1Gbps as you'll never see that through your wi-fi connection. (For the same price I'm paying now, I'd also rather not allow Google to track my entire life - see their marketing clause in the Fiber privacy policy, for instance - but that's a whole separate issue.)
posted by i feel possessed at 10:00 AM on October 8, 2014

A friend of mine who owns a condo in downtown Portland recently mentioned that his building has made Internet service available through Fibersphere. He said it's only $30/month if you pay for it through the building's homeowners association, and he's getting about 25MB/s. He also mentioned that he heard it's more like $60/month if you don't get the service through something central like an HOA. Something to look into, anyway.
posted by velvet winter at 10:11 AM on October 8, 2014

I live in outer-SE and use Comcast for streaming and an antenna for local channels. I have two things to add:

1. Google fiber might be coming our way soon. Don't get stuck in a contract with Comcast in case it does.

2. If you've never used an HD antenna before, read the instructions. You have to have your TV scan for channels or you'll only get static.
posted by tacodave at 4:19 PM on October 8, 2014

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