05 October, 2009

Seattle, Broadstripe, Monopolies, and Feeling Fleeced

Seattle believes strongly about monopolies among its utility companies. So strongly, in fact, that they divided the city into a bunch of mini-monopolies. By neighborhood, there is only a single cable tv/internet provider. Some neighborhoods use Comcast. And some use Broadstripe. Comcast is the giant national corporation. Broadstripe is a more regional company that, as an internet provider, causes one pause when you consider that their own website looks like it was designed by a 5th grader; not a good sign for an actual internet provider.

I have the misfortune of living in a Broadstripe neighborhood. What that means is, while people a mile away from me are paying $29.99 a month, or even $19.99 for high speed broadband internet, I am paying over $60 a month for the same service. And there are never any specials. They don't recognize or compete with Comcast, because there is no competition. They are serving completely distinct areas. So the companies win, and the consumer loses.

To make matters worse, this overpriced internet has been delivering abysmal performance for the past several months. My "broadband" service, which is supposed to be delivering 1.5Mbps (actually, it may even be specified at 3.0Mbps) has been routinely operating at 0.3Mbps. You can't even watch Netflix on this, without having it reload every 3 minutes, causing frustration like you can probably imagine.

Finally, after tolerating this for months, I decided to do another canvassing of the available alternatives, and discovered that the DSL plans in the area have now come down in price to the point that I am willing to roll the dice and see if Qwest is any better. I cannot imagine it will be worse.

1 comment:

  1. doesnt clearwire (shudder) go there too?