From the Forum – Internet Service Providers

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

Internet Service Providers:

“I currently have Comcast for internet and they are charging us almost $70.00 a month for just internet. We’ve called periodically to get our rate lowered and we get the same answer, “we know exactly what you’re asking for and the best we can do is …” (usually no more than $10 less what we’re paying). I’ve been looking for an alternative but it seems that no other company has service where I live (Newton St). Does anyone have any suggestions?”

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72 Comment

  • We just got FiOS availability on the north side of Columbia Heights, but before that, Comcast and Verizon DSL were the only games. Check with Verizon to see if you can get FiOS; at least then you’d have leverage.

  • If it’s available, Fios is probably your only option. I was so desperate to kick Comcast, I used Clear for a few months. But if you watch all your TV through the internet (like we do), Clear’s speed and service is just not reliable enough.

    • Ugh, that’s disappointing to hear. We have Comcast and got boosted to $70 month back in January. Argued with them to get back down to $54.99 (all taxes and fees included). Still, my only options are Clear and Verizon DSL (which will never be as fast as Comcast). And yes, we don’t have cable TV so we need good streaming for Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’m off of U Street and 11th, so there’s no FiOS over here.

      I hate the lack of options! 🙁

      PS – has anyone used Freedom Pop personal wifi hotspot for internet access in DC?

      • In the past, I’ve looked up the rates from RCN and called Comcast and told them I am going to switch for RCN’s better service at cheaper rates. In actuality, no other provider will offer service at my address, but the Comcast agent doesn’t know that. Admittedly, I have to get to the Retention Dept. before I get the better offer, but, this tactic has kept me with the same rate for cable/internet/landline for about 3 years now. Every year, when my rates increase, I do this, and it’s worked every time.

        • You’re a friggin’ genius. Will do that – thanks.

          PS – telecom is the biggest racket in the world. In an age when information access costs should be going down, they are actually going up. We need some trustbusters in Congress.

    • I definitely tried to get my bill lowered when it went from $29/month to $45/month just for internet. They gave no concessions, so I actually just cancelled out of principle. It’s been hard not to have internet at home. Thinking of going to Clear!

    • justinbc

      As far as I know FiOS hasn’t broken into the DC market yet, which is a shame. I had them when I lived in McLean and thought it was far superior to Comcast in terms of speeds and cable TV interface.

  • I live around Chinatown and highly recommend RCN. RCN is by far the most affordable provider that I have found. Internet and Cable (Tivo, RedZone and movie channels with drops in three rooms) is running me less than $150.

    • gotryit

      Ditto on RCN. Internet only for $40/month including fees.

      You need to vote with your money and stop paying for Comcast.

      Have you considered satellite?

      • RCN isn’t available in many parts of DC (in my case: U Street area). I’d love RCN – I had them in NYC and they were so much better and cheaper than TimeWarner (uuuuurrrggghhh).

      • RCN just upped my internet to $55 with no warning. I think I’ll call and see if I can get it back down. Any tips, anyone?

        • They will move it down and say they will do it automatically every month for you. In reality you will end up having to call every month to adjust your bill, explaining the situation all over again every time because nobody took notes. I just went through this for the past year.

          • I actually just called and they said no, that it was promotion and that it would be going up to $65 next year. For internet ONLY. This is ridiculous.

  • Comcast is charging me $140 a month for TV, internet, and cable. We don’t use the cable, but need a landline for the security system, so I’m stuck. Any ideas on getting the bill down? Because of the way they do packages it’s not any cheaper without the cable.

    • gotryit

      You should be able to do a basic phone line for $20/month that’s good enough for a security system but not nationwide calling. I think I pay verizon $18/month for something like that.
      After that, you should be able to find internet for <$120/month.

      • Really?? $20/month for phone would be awesome.

        • gotryit

          Keep in mind that’s for a line that I only use for the security system, so I rarely, if ever, actually make calls on it.

      • I pay something like $20 or $22/month for a Verizon landline with unlimited local calling.
        I also have DSL with Verizon for $20/month for their lowest-tier plan (I don’t remember the Mbps).

    • We upgraded our security system to have something like a cell phone for the system, which eliminated our need for a land line and is saving us a bunch of money.

    • I have comcast internet and phone (for my alarm) and pay about $75 a month.

      • Do you mind giving me the names/specs of your phone and internet plans? Every time I speak to someone at Comcast they say what I have is as basic as it gets. Would love to get that bill cut in half via a phone call instead of switching providers.

        • Sure, this is what my bill says. This is the super basic phone service (it doesn’t even have voice mail), but the internet is fast. It’s a promotional price that ends after a year. Hope it helps you.

          XFINITY Bundled Services
          Everyday DBPlay 07/10 – 08/09 24.95
          Double Play bundle Includes;
          Economy Plus Internet Service
          Digital Voice Local with More
          This is your everyday price!
          Total XFINITY Bundled Services $24.95

          XFINITY Internet
          Blast! Internet Service 07/10 – 08/09 39.99
          Total XFINITY Internet $39.99

          Additional XFINITY Voice Services
          Voice/Data Modem Rental 07/10 – 08/09 7.00
          Regulatory Recovery Fee 07/10 – 08/09 2.59
          Total Additional XFINITY Voice Services $9.59

          • Ah, so it’s a promotional thing. What does it jump up to after a year?

          • I’ve been on a one year promo with Comcast DC for about 10 straight years. When it expires, my bill goes up, and I call them and ask for a new promotion.

    • tonyr

      Maybe you don’t want to go in this direction, but Comcast does offer a security option, If you add that you can remove the phone line and your other security system.

    • Why not upgrade your security system panel to a cellular one? That way no one can cut the phone lines and you don’t have to pay extra monthly fees.

    • Don’t pay for a land line. Get a magic jack and be done with it.

  • RCN – $88 for Cable and Internet

  • I wish some local provider would tap this huge market for affordable internet services geared towards cord-cutters.

    Or I wish we could get Google Fiber. One of the two.

  • I live in Mt. Pleasant and have RCN. It’s really great internet, probably the most reliable and fastest I have had in DC and I pay $40/mo including fees and taxes.

    • What street in Mt Pleasant? I also live in Mt Pleasant, and RCN has said they don’t service my street. I would LOVE to ditch Comcast, but RNC, Cox and Verizon FiOS all say they can’t offer me service at my address. I’m on 18th north of Park, for reference.

      • It varies block-by-block in NW DC. Hell, it can even vary building-by-building. You’re basically at the mercy of the Cable Gods.

  • Agree with recs for RCN. Also, I’ve heard great things about DC Access. I know it’s available on the Hill but not sure how far north the access goes.

  • Aglets

    I also vouch for RCN. I had RCN when I lived in Penn Branch (across the river) and quite frankly they were terrible, but got them again when i moved back to capitol hill almost 4 years ago since I could get just internet & cable and not only are they extremely reasonable, their customer service has been really great.

  • Guys, RCN is great, but it’s not available in Columbia Heights.

    • I live in Columbia Heights (16th and Newton, probably near OP) and have RCN.

    • Wrong, I have it. 15th and Euclid.

      • The access to FiOS and RCN varies block-by-block all over NW DC. There’s no rhyme or reason for it.

        When I lived in Manhattan, I had RCN because I lived in a co-op complex, while the vast majority of NY’ers have TimeWarner. RCN negotiated a great deal with our co-op, something like $50/month for cable internet and basic cable TV. I think RCN tends to be more dominant in co-op and condo buildings, where the residents can negotiate in bulk.

  • I had to call and cancel my service – leave it cancelled for a few days then deal with the Retention department that would finally wheel and deal to get me back as a customer. I would have switched to anything, but my building is hardwired to crapcast.

  • What speed is your service? I had Verizon DSL for nearly 4 years. It ran just over 5 megabits. The price recently went up to $50/month. As a “new” Comcast customer I was able to get 20 megabits service for $35 for the first 6 months and $50/month after that. I’m in Shaw.

  • RCN is the best. $40 for internet and free service calls.

  • brookland_rez

    Between Comcast and Verizon DSL, Comcast is far faster. I guess it depends on what you’re doing. If just checking email and casual web surfing, DSL might be ok. As for me, since I work in the industry, I want the fastest available Internet, right now for me that’s Comcast.

    • brookland_rez

      Oh and I have DirecTV for TV and I don’t have a phone line.

      • Be careful with DirecTV. I had to pay them hundreds of dollars when I moved because they couldn’t set up their satellite there and they considered it a breach of contract.

        • I moved recently to a place where I couldn’t get service and DirecTV gave me no hassle at all even though I had a year + left on my contract. Generally I’ve had a good experience with them, but I guess it could depend what customer service rep you get…

          • That’s bizarre. I must have talked to 20 different service reps over the course of many hours and several days. It was a painful experience. Some of them thought I should have no problem getting the cancellation fee waived, and others didn’t, but when I finally got up to the top of the hierarchy, to the person that could actually do something about it, I was brusquely told I had to pay the fee. Totally unfair, and they made me go through hell with their terrible customer service and false promises.

            So now I just try to make them lose as many potential customers as possible. And you’re not helping. 😉

        • brookland_rez

          That won’t be an issue for me since I won’t be moving. My current contract with them is up next year. I know how to install it, and even installed my own dish.

    • We have Verizon DSL, and it works well for us. I work remotely from home every Friday, and have never had an issue with my work VPN and remote desktop-ing to my work machine. Every once in a while my husband will also work from home on Friday, and we’ve never had issues with the both of us VPN’ing into our various work networks. We also use it to stream videos from Amazon Prime and haven’t had any problems. I’ve yet to feel the need to get Comcast or FIOS.

  • I recently read that Verizon Fios is coming to the new CityMarket at O development in Shaw. Hopefully some neighbors also will get hooked up.

  • RCN once again. It’s not super-cheap, at least not for me once you add in cable and sports channels, but it’s unbelievably reliable. 99% uptime. It goes out maybe once a year. Plus, they have an office downtown. I needed a new cable box, took it down there, they handed me a new one and I was on my way. Took five minutes.

    I had Comcast prior to this. After they left me without internet for a week, I swore never again.

  • DC Access has service in your area. I don’t know if they reach your house, but it’s worth a look on their map:

    People in Capitol Hill love them.

  • Listen /READ UP!

    Here is what you do:

    1. When the price goes up you cancel. The fastest way to cancel is to turn in your equipment to their center on Michigan Ave.
    2. Call Comcast to initiate new service – I use a slightly alternated name – Alex as I went by Alexandra before (etc).
    3. They mail you the new modem and you are good to go. At this point I have my own comcast modem and don’t pay 3.99 per month for a modem rental.

    Deal – My price with Comcast has been 31.99 per month – all in – for years – internet only.

  • I live near Newton st., and use RCN. I pay about $45 a month for basic, basic cable and (fast) internet.

  • andy

    Is there anyone who kept one of the really old ISPs, like Erols, and was still able to keep that as their ISP? Or did everyone get kicked over to the more modern providers?

  • Thanks for all the comments. I’ll definitely give RCN a call. And if not I might have to go so far to cancel my service and have my roommate set up a contract in her name.

  • I have experience with RCN in Petworth, internet conection was great, changed to Comcast to save money, but Comcast internet goes on and off all the time, I received a new offer to go back to RCN for only $39.99 internet 25 Mbps plus basic TV for a year without contract, I’m going back to RCN, you should check it out.

  • Ugh. I can’t believe so many of you pay for a land line for your alarms.

    Pay the $300 one time fee and upgrade to a GSM radio or get a magic jack and pay ~$20/year.

  • If you’re on the Hill, try DC Access. We had problems every single day we used Comcast for our internet access. As soon as DC Access came out and installed an antenna, we haven’t had a single minute of internet disruption.

    Comcast credited out account for each month we subscribed after they reviewed our account and could see we had to call up to five times a day just to connect.

  • Verizon DSL Internet and DirectTV have a bundle deal so if you get them together your internet should only be $30/month. The cost of TV depends on which package you get but I come in around $60 (I don’t get any premium channels). Then there’s taxes and whatnot on that base $90 and I come in a little over $100 for Internet/TV combined.

  • We have Comcast TV, Internet, and Phone and were not paying attention to our bill until on month I saw $190 come up – umm, no. So I called and used the newly true excuse that “I just got married and we are working on a budget. We never use the phone, so could we just drop that to lower the price”. The woman on the phone gave me some “Oh yay you are married” response and basically kept everything the same and lowered our price to $147. Guess I will set a Google Calendar reminder to call back in 6 months to change again.

    On a side note, our building looked into getting FIOS, but the geniuses on our board evidently signed a 5 year extension with Comcast back in 2010, so we can not upgrade our wiring for FIOS until that contract has run its course…

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