Welcome (a bit early) to the 2009-2010 school year. For those of you moving off-campus, you’ll need internet access. Get Comcast if it’s available to you. Get US Cable if it’s not. If neither provider is available then (and only then) get Qwest DSL. Be creful though; Qwest’s pricing can get crazy quickly, once all the promotions are peeled away.

Qwest does business a little differently than Comcast. Whereas Comcast’s website tends to emphasize non-promotional pricing for internet tiers (which run $35, $55 and $65 per month without TV, depending on whether you want 1 Mbps, 6 Mbps or 8 Mbps download speeds, s=respectively), Qwest prefers to tuck non-promotional pricing away behind a few layers of internet fluff. The result: Qwest’s deals seem better than Comcast’s…and they are, as long as you ditch their service when their promotions expire and rates steepen dramatically.

Even with Qwest’s “Price For Life” option (which requires a two-year contract on service), you can’t lock in Qwest’s best promotional rates. Price for Life just shaves $10-$13 off of Qwest’s after-promo price, turning highway robbery into something more palatable.

Want proof? Below are Qwest’s DSL tiers and prices in Golden, assuming you’re not getting a phone line (a valid assumption, right?):

1.5 Mbps down, 896 kbps up
Promotional price (first year): $30.00 per month
Non-promo price (price for life): $39.99 per month
Non-promo price (no contract): $49.99 per month

3/5/7 Mbps down, 896 kbps up (varies depending on distance)
Promotional price (first year): $35.00 per month
Non-promo price (price for life): $46.99 per month
Non-promo price (no contract): $59.99 per month

Here’s a link to Qwest’s website to confirm these numbers, pulled as of the time of this posting.

To recap, Qwest’s DSL offerings start off with pricing better than that of Comcast’s normal rates, which go down with TV or promotions. After the first twelve months however Qwest’s DSL prices shoot up by at least $10 per month and by as much as $25 per month, depending on whether you’ve signed a two-year contract with the company. Then there’s the fact that in reality Qwest’s ADSL service only attains 85% of its advertised speed in real-world scenarios, As an added point against Qwest, Comcast will generally give their customers a promotion every six months or so, as long as the customer asks for one. Comcast would rather lose a few dollars per month than see a customer walk, and Comcast has no contracts on residential internet service to keep people from walking.

For those in US Cable’s service area, the company’s WarpSpeed internet product reaches speeds of 10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up on their “Sonic” package, well above what Qwest offers in Golden, at a price that’s a bit more palatable than Qwest’s after-promo antics.

In summary, Qwest is a decent deal on internet around these parts…for a year. Then things turn sour, especially if you don’t sign a contract. On the other hand, signing a contract with Qwest guarantees you’ll be paying as much for your service as with Comcast, if not more, in the long run, especially with Comcast tipping the scales with a promotion or two…and no contracts in sight.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Comcast periodically runs ads in The Oredigger (not that it makes any difference to me). Qwest’s VDSL2 technology is great, but it isn’t here. I use Comcast at my apartment and it works fine for me. I’ve used Qwest ADSL here in Golden and from personal experience it’s not so hot. Regarding Comcast’s promotions, my account has one applied right now, turning my $65 internet bill into a $42 one. I just had to ask.

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4 comments so far

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  1. How is Comcast service for you? Here in WA we have issues it seems far to often.

  2. Quite good actually. Speeds are as advertised, PowerBoost kicks short-term downloads into the 25-32 Mbps range down, 9-11 Mbps range up. We’re on DOCSIS 2.0, wth DOCSIS 3.0 coming relatively soon. Pricing is high without promotions, but decent with them.

  3. My friend is in with Qwest. I feel terrible for her as I am staying with her. I upload files at “speedy” rates of up to 14kbps. It drives me nuts. Do you know of any tricks to get out of the contracts with Qwest?

  4. Unfortunately, since no residential ISP guarantees speeds, getting out of a Qwest contract would be a bit on the difficult side. However you could shoot talktous@qwest.com an e-mail and see if they could help you out on the connection.

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