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Internet Service Provider (ISP) Choices, San Francisco East BayGuide Started By b.n. on April 2013 Last Updated on February 2016 | 21 Contributions | Comments
Your best choices for Internet services in the East Bay depends heavily on your desire for bundled services, location and willingness to haggle. Your basic choice comes down to Cable, DSL / U-Verse, or various forms of wireless. In general DSL is the least hassle, and Cable is the fastest. But there's a lot to learn.
About DSL Service
There's only one owner of the phone wiring used for DSL service, and that's AT&T. Your DSL performance will vary greatly based on your distance from an AT&T central office. Your speed will likely be similar to that your immediate neighbors get. Sonic.net will tell you expected speeds before purchasing.
About AT&T U-Verse.
AT&T brands two different products as "U-Verse". One is simply plain old DSL, which is great or horrible based on your location. The other is a system where new "fiber optic" cabinets are installed in neighborhoods, and DSL is run from the cabinets.
Comcast has a spotty reputation for customer service. They are fond of 'promotional pricing', and as a result you're either committing to haggling every 6-12 months, or greatly overpaying for service.
Hidden fees abound in ISP pricing. You'll need to ask each provider for the bottom line month fee at the start, and after the promotional period ends. Your best deal may be the one that has the higher advertised price. Sonic.net is the one ISP that has plain up front pricing.
Note on TV Bundles
All areas of the East Bay get excellent broadcast TV reception with even a small antenna. The quality is better than cable TV, and there are no monthly fees. Combine an antenna with NetFlix and a TiVo, and you may have all you need.
- Berkeley Parents Network: ISPs an excellent source of reviews and ratings.