What is the very cheapest way to get high-speed internet in the Sunset district of SF?
August 26, 2004 12:25 PM   Subscribe

What is the very cheapest way to get high-speed internet in the Sunset district of SF? In our place in Montreal we pay 40/month Canadian, and I know there are cheaper plans. Everything I could find in SF is at least 45 USD/month and generally more, unless you have a cable connection. My sis just moved there, has a very low budget and no cable connection. Thoughts?
posted by louigi to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I live over in the Sunnyside (94112) and use SBC/Yahoo DSL, and I've been satisfied with it. For residential customers it looks like they have a $27/month deal for the first year.
posted by jasper411 at 12:47 PM on August 26, 2004

yeah, ~$50 USD is going to be the going rate around there. almost every time I've looked into indie providers, i found they don't really compete on price, but are able to compete on services. Thing is, you'd be lucky to find anything cheaper than $50. The SBC is probably going to be the cheapest deal for her.

When I lived there I spent a lot of time in wireless internet cafes (some of which are free -- there's a lot less now, because one of the providers there switched from "free" to "pay per month/day") but even then, you figure you're paying at least $1.45 each time (because you're buying coffee) and that works out to around 45 or so a month anyways. The San Francisco Public Library has free internet access jacks, but last I was there they only had 4 of them hooked up (lame, because ALL the tables are wired for ethernet, they just haven't hooked them in); and if you get there at the wrong time, you'll never be able to use it.

of course, if she doesn't have a laptop, this isn't even an option.
posted by fishfucker at 1:26 PM on August 26, 2004

The absolute cheapest way would to see if there are any open wifi connections within range of her house.
posted by trbrts at 2:05 PM on August 26, 2004

trbrts, there are groups (actually one in the Sunset, if I remember right) that are interested in providing free wireless in neighborhoods, but it's pretty rare that open routers stay open for long; this is a pretty saavy populace. Also the providers, except for Speakeasy, are absolutely opposed to access passed on to people who are not their customers, so it's an open question whether such spots will stay open.

It's just plain expensive around here. (I'm in 94117.)
posted by caitlinb at 2:48 PM on August 26, 2004

I doubt you'll get a good deal out of the cable company. They've just spent a gazillion dollars to try to get into the market, after ignoring it for 6 or 7 years -- they've got a lot of costs to recoup and the various incarnations of SF's cable company (Viacom, TCI, Comcast) have no reputation whatsoever for setting reasonable prices.

You'll be wanting DSL, and the cheap stuff comes from the phone company, SBC/PacBell. Barring some of the weird line sharing that exists in some neighborhoods, there shouldn't be anywhere in the city that DSL is unavailable, although surely there will be spots where you can't have the highest speed tiers. Be aware that cheap DSL usually means PPPoE rather than bridged IP, which is generally a Bad Thing (or at least annoying).

Depending on where you'll be (the Sunset is vast) you might be able to pick up SFLan, the largest free wireless network. Coverage is spotty at best, but "free" is definitely cheap!
posted by majick at 8:17 PM on August 26, 2004

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