If you’re in Golden you know that internet options are rather limited. There’s SkyBeam (more on them in another post) who might cover you with their wireless system, but that assumes line-of-sight and reviews are mixed. Otherwise you’re left with Comcast (cable) and Qwest (DSL). The prices, if you just want internet? Rather atrocious:
Qwest (multiply download speeds by 85% to get the actual amount; uploads are around 700 kbit/s…below are advertised speeds)
$39.99 – 1.5 Mbit/s down, 896k up
$46.99 – 5-7 Mbit/s down, 896k up (at my place I can only get 5 Mbps)
Comcast (with PowerBoost, see here for how that works)
$54.95 – 6 Mbit/s down, 1 Mbit/s up
$64.95 – 8 Mbit/s down, 2 Mbit/s up
Nothing below $40 per month as far as anyone can tell…
…until you call in to Comcast and ask for their Economy tier. Which is $34.95 with no other services, and delivers a megabit per second down, and 384 kilobits per second up. No PowerBoost Worse performance speed-wise than Qwest’s 1.5 Mbit tier, but also cheaper. But not much cheaper…
That’s where Comcast’s DTV transition deal comes in. I believe new customers can also get the service, but I confirmed with a Comcast rep that you can downgrade all the way to Economy internet, then add on basic cable…and not only get basic cable for free, but also get a $10 discount on your internet bill. So effectively your internet connection is now $24.95, with basic cable thrown in.
I didn’t ask about the discount on internet from adding basic cable to the higher end packages, but the rep did say that cable itself would be $10 off, for a rooughly $7 monthly cost. It may actually be the case that you can save a few dollars on your internet bill by adding basic cable.
There are caveats to this ultralow pricing on cable and internet:
- The discount on basic cable only lasts a year, so once that discount is up, your regular rate will be $17 or so per month for cable. You’ll still get your internet discount, but unless you really want the cable it won’t be worh your while.
- 1024k down, 384k up with no PowerBoost is slow internet.
- There is a setup fee for adding basic cable to an internet-only setup. $20.99 was the first price I was quoted, but the rep quickly went down to $14.99. Not a big deal really.
- Comcast’s throttling system (see this post) looks at what percentage of bandwidth you’re using over the course of 15 minutes. Which gets rather dicey with such a low-speed connection. So if your cable node is congested, the threshold for throttling is 716.8 kbps on downloads, 268.8 kbps on uploads. Byte-wise, you’re looking at 115.2 MB straight on downloads, 43.2 MB on uploads. At that size, a routine software update, or a bunch of photos, may well kill your connection if your node is congested.
So there are pros and cons to downgrading. The big pro though is price; in these troubled times $30 or $40 per month is a pretty big deal.