Broadband connection options?
August 6, 2004 9:43 AM   Subscribe

This has been asked before but the answers I need are a bit more specific. I bought my home (1920s bungalow) here in Sacramento 3 years ago, and the previous owners had DSL - in fact the DSL port in the house is exactly where I need/want my broadband connection to be. So - I just got an Airport Express card for my powerbook and a Airport Extreme basestation: do I want DSL or cablemodem? I use satellite for TV, not cable, and am not going to switch any time soon, so bundles are out. I am not going to run a website and need no static IP. Insanely high speed is not necessary, just something a hell of a lot faster than my current 56k. Prices? Service? Will SBC give me a deal on DSL since the install is already in place?
posted by luriete to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
The best thing to do would be to call and ask. You might also check out speakeasy, which is now offering DSL (even without a voice phone connection). Since you presumably won't need any installation, you could have them mail you the modem (or buy one on ebay). If you explain it to them and you have a helpful rep, you might be able to swing a deal.

I use DSL and don't have any major complaints. Cable is faster, but the difference is rarely something I'd notice (often, the limiting factor on download speed is not your connection). And at any rate, I've used bandwidth tests and I'm routinely getting much better bandwidth (2x-3x) than my advertised 384 Kbps downstream.
posted by adamrice at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2004

There is no such thing as a "DSL port" (it's just a regular phone jack), and all the special wiring that needs to be done to bring DSL to your home is done outside the home, at the telephone company's central office (CO) for your neighborhood. They have to do that for everyone who gets DSL, whether your location has already had it or not, so no, there's no discount. However, most of the time DSL installation is free anyway, unless you need extra wiring run inside your house, and most ISPs just send you a "self-install kit" containing the modems and the line filters you need.
posted by kindall at 11:10 AM on August 6, 2004

Response by poster: 384k! That is quite a bit more than I'm getting now. I'd even be happy with that. I will look to Speakesy, as well, thanks!
posted by luriete at 11:11 AM on August 6, 2004

Response by poster: I understand. Thanks Kindall. I only ask because there is a plastic box that says "SBC DSL" mounted on a board on the wall of my basement with all kinds of weird wiring going in and out, and what looks like a somewhat larger-than-usual (ethernet?) phone jack in the living room baseboard right where that wiring tuns into the house.

I also notice that Speakeasy has a 768kbps download plan for $39 a month, while SBC offers half that speed for the same price. Weird. Plus speakeasy lets me share my wireless signal with my neighbor and doesn't care how much bandwidth I eat. Hmm. Tough choice.
posted by luriete at 11:15 AM on August 6, 2004

If you are in the coverage area of the old WinFirst fiber-optic network (now taken over by SureWest, but not all SureWest is the old WinFirst), get that and you will laugh that you ever dreamed of 384k.

Losing that network is my one regret about moving.
posted by sageleaf at 11:39 AM on August 6, 2004

One thing to keep in mind: PacBell / SBC advertises a 384k CIR for their basic DSL package, but you actually get 1500 if you're within range. I still ditched them for Speakeasy and have been getting consistent 4500 - 5500k real speeds. And they answer the phone, unlike Pac Bell.

As far as making a choice between DSL and cable, DSL providers are regulated common carriers and are federally obligated not to care what you do with your connection. Cablecos are not similarly regulated, and anecdotally seem to take a rather unhealthy interest in what you do and how much of it you do.

Plus, it's trivially easy for neighbors to sniff your traffic on a cable shared segment, but not at all trivial for neighbors to do so with DSL. Such things may or may not be a factor for you.
posted by majick at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2004

Response by poster: It sounds like Speakeasy DSL may be the best choice for me, since the fiber network, which sounds great, doesn't actually cover much of midtown.
posted by luriete at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2004

FWIW, I've been using Speakeasy for 5 years now at two different locations. I've never had any complaints about them, since any concern I've had has been tackled to my satisfaction (and then some).
posted by Hankins at 7:19 PM on August 6, 2004

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