August 25, 2006

Internet service deals.

Okay, picture this. You move to a new city, and you want to set up internet service in your apartment. The most reputable seeming service provider is outrageously expensive, and you go on-line and find a lot of alternatives, but some of them seem vaguely scammy. How would you home in on the right choice?


nypundit said...

Most of the time you get what you pay for. I tried an alternative service here in Brooklyn and got burned. Having said that there are good alternative services out there like Speakeasy. I use them at work and have used them at home and am very happy with them. Although I don't know offhand if they have service in Madison, there is a place on their site where you can find out.

VICTOR said...

Do you mean "hone"? I use the two interchangeably, but I think of home as relating to a homing device.

I agree with NYPundit. The bar for "indie" internet service is pretty high. These days connectivity is like electricity. People pretty much come to a grinding halt without it.

Smilin' Jack said...

First thing to do is see if you can mooch off your neighbor's wifi...lots of people don't protect their signal.

Seven Machos said...

1. Ask around. Just like buying any product or service.

2. If you are wireless, see what the services are that are providing a signal where you are sitting. It stands to reason that people are using those successfully.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm guessing that we're discussing dial-up service?

In that case I would go with an established brand like Netscape, NetZero, or even AOL. More infrastructure and dial-up lines can translate into less downtime.

Atticus said...


Hone: to sharpen (think knives)
Home: to approach accurately from a long distance (think homing pigeons)

Not interchangeable.

paulfrommpls said...

I don't think the topic is dial-up; I don't know of any dial-up that's outrageously expensive. And it's a litle hard to do a blog with dial-up, especially if you have pictures.

Freeman Hunt said...

As for high speed, the only choices where I live are Cox cable or SBC DSL, and one is notably more reliable than the other.

Like Seven Machos suggested, I would ask around. Reliability could vary by region.

James said...

You would go to Broadband reports at and look for the providers in your area to see how they rate from others who already have experience with the service. The site is a great source for all things networking: problem solving advice, news...the works.

katharine said...

madison has a nice list of internet server providers at
I'm sure other cities have similiar business lists, justs takes some hunting. maybe try a chamber of commerce or city website.

Ann Althouse said...

Not dial up. This question is prompted by one of those modern young people of today who don't have a hard line phone in the first place.

Tibore said...

This would only apply to people employed by a college or university, but:

1. Many provide some level of off campus internet service providing, even if it is only dial-up.

2. Others may have negotiated deals with commercial ISP's in the area. Indiana University, for example, has a couple (Link, link) of deals, although one is not meant as a home service, but rather a roaming Metropolitan Wireless Area Network for people in restaurants, bars (no kidding!), and other public places.

Maxine Weiss said...


"modern young people of today"


modern young people of...yesterday?

Could be.

Peace, Maxine

Ann Althouse said...

Redundant? Obviously not. You can an old-fashioned person today and there were modern people of the past. Actually, when I wrote it, I considered it a jocose redundancy.

VICTOR said...


Here's the language log entry and a quote:

I had guessed that home in on was a recent expression, probably from WWII, and the OED's history supports this. Since Bush 41 was a bomber pilot in the pacific theater, he would probably have learned the phrase just as it was coming into existence, and if he really learned it as hone in on, then the two variants must have co-existed pretty much from the beginning.

And as is usually the case with common eggcorns, there is quite a bit of semantic support for the hone in on variant. There's so much semantic support in this case that hone in on is by no means implausible as a coinage on its own. Google suggests that the two variants are about equally common today, and the hone in on variant now occurs in places like MIT press releases and Washington Post presentations of Reuters newswire stories.


I think I was wrong about it but both seem acceptable and go way back.

garrison said...

I use Verizon broadbandAccess and am happy with it. I see downlown speeds of 8 or 9 times the nominal 56k dial up. It's not T1 or T3 or even hi-speed cable, but it's wireless. If you have a Verizon cell phone it's $59/month and plugs into any laptop.
It allows me to live without any land line at all (cable or telephone).
This service is not available everywhere, but it is definitely headed in that direction. Where the broadbandAccess isn't implimented, you can access the web at dial-up speed (good enough for e-mail). It's rather pleasant to be in a park and be able to take a quick peek at the web just because the spirit moved you.

Simon said...

Maxine Weiss said...
"Redundant: 'modern young people of today' vs. modern young people of...yesterday? Could be."

Or perhaps, modern young people of today vs. old fashioned young people of today. I have little doubt I fall into the latter description.

Blondie said...

I just had the same issue at my new apartment. Didn't want to waste all my money on Charter b/c I'm not getting cable TV and can't justify spending that much.

I also couldn't "borrow" off a neighbor in my apartment sadly and wanted to ensure that if - say at 11 p.m. any random night - I could check the web, e-mail and blog, I wouldn't have to wait until a neighboring coffee shop opened up.

So, I signed up for that MadCityBroadband b/c I am downtown. It was $20 per month, $5 off if you are a UW student/employee and then if you sign up for 3 months, you're first month is free.

It will come up as a unprotected wireless network if available on a laptop to check it out.

The signal is somewhat low in my old brick building and slower than cable and I only use it to check e-mail, blog and surf. I do not use it to download anything and haven't tried, so that could be a big issue of slowness.

But I can also use this anywhere downtown, surrounding areas, not just my apartment. My boyfriend can also use it on his laptop, so it's nice to share it if he is over and wants to use his own.

Might be worth checking out. I am also guessing that as they keep expanding/improving, it will keep getting better.