Internet Service Providers
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Experience with LMI ISP?
Looking to hear about your experience with LMI, Berkeley's
ISP. What do you think of their service, internet speed, how
it compares to the large ISP, etc.?
We're thinking about moving away from Comcast.
Saw your post and had to warn you. I am with LMI right now
and really want to switch but just too busy at the moment to
do so. When I first signed up with them I read all their
great reviews on yelp. Now I think they must have tweaked
the yelp reviews or something because I can't believe the
reviews were so good. We have a wireless system that cuts
out during streaming video regularly and also at other
times. They have been out to the house a few times. Each
time I don't see them operating in a systematic way to
figure out what has already been tried and I don't see that
they communicate with each other well at all. When I contact
customer service through email or phone I get crickets.
Even when I say, hey can you please contact me? nothing. I
have even contacted the lead tech on his personal email
and...nothing. The only time I got them fired up was when I
dialed around their office after not reaching tech support
and accidently got the owner. They reached me right away
after that, but of course their service call did not fix the
problem. Techie friends I know tell me I should go with
Comcast for speed or with SonicNet for customer service. I
haven't tried either so I can't say. Just want to stop you
from making a big mistake. unhappy LMI customer
we love LMI. Fast, reliable, any issues quickly resolved. We
also switched our domain and website hosting over to them.
So helpful and reasonably priced. And solar powered. rose
LMI is great. I haven't used any of the other big
providers since the time when we still had numbers for email
addresses but I love LMI. You can stop by and talk to them.
If you call for help, you could well talk to the same person
as in the past. When it turns out your problem doesn't
relate to what they do, they will probably still walk you
through a solution. They are like good neighbors.
I have used LMI Internet for several years in Berkeley.
Their Internet service is good & fast, customer service is
great, and price is affordable with no contracts or added
fees. I highly recommend them. Ariana
We've had LMI ISP for 1.5 years and have only needed to call
customer service twice and both times they were very
helpful. I am able to stream video and Skype with very few
glitches, with the exception of the connection freezing when
we turn on the microwave at the same time (in fairly close
proximity). I feel that their service has been reliable and
is fairly priced and I like the fact that it is a green,
local company. In the past I had DSL with Verizon and then
Clear Wireless when living on the East Coast and I have
found the service with LMI to be just as (or more) reliable
and their customer service is much, much better. I also
visited their friendly office once on MLK when I bought a
refurbished wireless modem from them.
I've been very happy with LMI other than one annoying lapse
in service early on that was actually the fault of AT&T.
Since then I'm quite happy but I'm not super-fussy about
speed. Not sure whether cable would be faster. (I have the
PHLO service). happy customer
Although I was originally so excited about lmi enough to
post on bpn that we were about to sign up with them for
phone and internet, I've been pretty disappointed with the
experience. We signed up just recently and it took days for
them to get our internet connection on. That was
frustrating, and they didn't act very motivated to help us
get connected. Their availability is standard business
hours, so I couldnt get help sooner since I was working the
Email responses have been pre-written canned responses that
did not answer our simple and straightforward questions. It
has required numerous emails to specifically request that
they answer our actual questions. Nobody signs their emails,
so we don't know who is replying. It is surprisingly like
dealing with an impersonal and large company that does not
read your actual emails.
My first call to a technician was disappointing, as he was
flippant and unhelpful. When I needed to speak to a
supervisor about this customer service problem, the
supervisor ignored my 3 clear messages and days later left
me a message that my internet connection was working.
Communication has been pretty awful with staff, but we did
have one person who was helpful and nice on the phone, so
it's not everybody. Just 4 out of 5.
I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. But to be
honest, I don't feel happy giving them any of my money.
thought I'd be a happy customer
We have had a good experience with LMI over the past couple
of years. Affordable and local and allows us to use ooma for
phone so that we only pay for Internet and nothing else. I
would recommend. carolyn
Basic AT&T DSL - can I do better?
We pay $40/mo for basic AT&T DSL service. The quality is poor, connections often slow; and $40 seems a
lot for basically bad service. Is this reasonable? Are there better providers, services? I feel its hard to get
decent information on what is possible. I get their telecenter calls weekly trying to upsell us with cable
service, but the whole thing seems non-transparent. Help. I live in N. Berkeley.
Do you know about sonic.net? I love them! They are a small
company located in Santa Rosa, with great service. For
about $50 per month you get internet and phone service, all
in one, and this includes local and long distance. It is a
great deal, and you are not paying a company that supports
the Tea Party ... Yvonne
We have DSL Extreme as our DSL and have been pretty happy
with it. No upsell or anything -- we just have standard,
basic DSL for about $20 a month. There have been a few
outages, but we've had it for almost 3 years and have been
pleased. DSL Extreme!
We have the AT&T UVerse internet. It's not the most
reliable either (we probably have to unplug/restart our
modem once a week or so), but it's fast enough and only
costs $25 per month. We don't have a home phone or cable,
just the high speed internet. Anonymous
We've used DSL Extreme very happily for about 5 years or so.
Now that my AT&T phone bill has gone up, we are planning to
try out lmi.net which does both phone and dsl internet for
$40 a month plus taxes and fees - and unlike many
businesses, they tell you exactly what those taxes and fees
are and what your total bill will be per month. They are a
local Berkeley company and look pretty awesome. Check out
their reviews on Yelp. I discovered them just by searching
on yelp for 'internet service providers' which is how I
found dsl extreme, as well. Since we've been so happy with
a small company (and we'd stay with dsl extreme if they also
did phone), we're confident that lanminds (lmi.net) will
also be a great company. and we're pretty excited to have
just discovered them. Kirstin
You can do better than AT&T DSL! I was in a similar boat
the last several months. I had AT&T DSL that was supposed
to be up to 12mbps download speed and was realistically more
like 5. The price steadily increased and I ended up
switching to Comcast cable internet-only service. It's much
faster, I no longer have problems streaming on certain
websites, my speed is 50mbps and I've seen it go as high as
64mbps. I pay fifty bucks a month.
I live in Oakland and tried my hardest to find a local or
smaller internet service provider. Unfortunately many of
the smaller companies either don't service my area, or the
speeds would be very low because of my location in relation
to where their equipment is located. I recommend starting
with the smaller companies and if you can't find anything,
try Comcast. Try yelp to find a list of smaller internet
service provider companies. L
I love LMI - I've been with them for 5 years or more for
internet, added phone recently. If you are in N Berkeley you
will likely have great coverage from them. They are real
people who will help you over the phone or you can stop by
their shop as needed. A super friendly business with great
service, and I think the price is very good. I've also
unfortunately had to use the laptop repair services at their
office-sharing company Authorized Repair a few times, and
they are very good also.
- Happy Customer of LMI
Internet (DSL) options for Montclair and Piedmont?
What are my options for internet access (DSL) in the
Montclair and Piedmont areas ?
I currently have AT&T U-Verse in Montclair and it's just
terrible. I do not want to pay the expensive cost of having
Comcast because I travel so much and they have a limited
option for turning off service while traveling.
For my parents in Piedmont, the expense of having Comcast is
painful. Unfortunately AT&T only has the most basic internet
speed available. Are there other options for them?
You might consider getting an Mi-Fi hotspot. You will need
to determine carrier reception in the area(s) you wish to
You can purchase used or refurbishsed if you are confident
it will work for you. Even those option come with a 30 day
return from Amazon.
T-Mobile (Sonic or Sonic 2), Verizon (Jetpack) and AT&T
(Unite) all offer a hotspot. All offer Â±5gb per month for
$50, pay as you go, no contract.
We are near Park at Wellington and both TMO and ATT work
Internet Connection in North Berkeley/Albany
Advice needed for accessing internet. I just moved my
College Counseling office to 1301 California St, a fabulous
location across from the Monterrey Market Espresso Roma
cafe, upstairs from Magnani, Lilly's Chinese Restaurant,
etc... But there is no internet access. Does anyone have
any solutions? Verizon claimed that they had a solution
with a wireless USB stick, but when I went to the new store
a few blocks away on Solano, THE VERIZON MAP OF NORTH
BERKELEY AND ALBANY THEY SHOWED ME HAD LITTLE TO NO SERVICE
FOR VERIZON PHONES IN OUR ENTIRE AREA. Yet, they required a
2 year contract, and a minimum of a $35 restocking fee to
find out if the Internet connection worked at all anywhere
nearby. Solutions welcome. Thank you.
two things: 1. I live a few blocks north of solano near
colusa and I have great Verizon wireless service. have not
had any problems. 2. I have had poor experiences at the
Verizon store on Solano. I would not rely on this store for
information about wireless service or anything else. This
store is not a Verizon owned retail store. You will get
more reliable information from the Verizon owned stores in
El Cerrito Plaza or Emeryville. fwiw, I work for a Verizon
wireless competitor and have a one of their wireless devices
too. Wireless service in my neighborhood has also been good
on the competitor's wireless device. I haven't had any
trouble in the neighborhood you are asking about either.
Maybe ask your neighbors what they use?
Reducing phone and internet expenses
I am trying to cut all extra expenses. I currently have a
land line, and recently (last winter) bought a cell phone and
and am on a basic verizon plan - no data (about $70 a month,
but I will need to increase the minutes/upgrade plans if I get
rid of my landline). I do use the internet at home, and need
to have a fast, reliable connection. I do not have a smart
phone, ipad etc. I have to admit, I do like the security of
having a landline should there be an emergency or should I
lose my cell phone. But I'm not at all convinced it's really
necessary. Any recommendations? Do I need a landline? Would
something like vonage suffice as a replacement? Oh, I also do
not have, nor do I want, any sort of cable package. How much
should I budget for these expenses?
out of touch
We use sonic.net and pay about $55 (including all taxes) for
home phone and internet. Internet is not as fast as cable
but perfectly fine for our needs (we watch netfix etc).
Before that we had vonage as our home service and that
worked great too - we just changed because it was cheaper to
get the phone/ internet combo from sonic. The one thing
about VOIP is that because it is over the internet if your
power is out you have no phone service.
Can't really speak to cell phone as my work pays for mine
and my husband does not have one (yes! it is still possible!).
High Speed internet in the Berkeley Hills
AT&T is requiring us to upgrade to their new UVerse
internet, which appears to have a 12 month contract, just so
we can get the same barely adequate DSL speed we have had
for 10 years (1.5 Mb/s). We live in the Berkeley Hills next
to Tilden Park, so we are far away from the AT&T DSL
centers, Verizon FIOS is not available, and I don't think we
have line-of-sight to any of the wireless provider towers.
So that leaves Comcast. Can anyone tell me whether Comcast
speeds are better in the hills? Or maybe you know of a
better option. Thanks. Steven
I also live in the Berkeley Hills
near Tilden Park, switched from AT&T DSL to Comcast.
I'm very happy with the speeds. During the day, I get
as much as 20Mb/sec!]
When we lived in the flats we had AT&T DSL, then switched to
Comcast. The speed/reliability was amazingly fast and good.
Along with that came the high cable/phone/high speed bill.
We recently moved to the hills (Marin near Grizzly Peak) and
have switched to Sonic.net for a physical landline and DSL.
About $55/mo including taxes, no contract, base rate is
http://sonic.net/solutions/home/internet/fusion/ It was
hooked up on 7/16 and so far seems fast. I'll check the
speed tonight. If I understand correctly cable isn't
affected by the distance or amount of people using it as DSL
I know that the default choice for most people is Comcast or
ATT, but for philosophical/political/ethical reasons, I will
never again do business with either company. Comcast and
ATT actively work to harm the internet and democracy itself
for their own short-term business interests, without even
taking into account their own medium- and long-term business
interests. They treat their employees badly, and they treat
their customers even more badly. From a technical
standpoint, I could easily recite a long list of things that
they do badly as well. Whenever we in the computer
networking field want a good laugh, we joke about getting
service from (or working for) Comcast or ATT.
So, that's what I would not recommend.
Here's what I do recommend:
Unwired Ltd. (www.unwiredltd.com). They're a
Berkeley-based WISP (wireless internet service provider)
with an excellent track record for providing reliable,
speedy, and customer-friendly service. At least one of the
founders is from South Africa, hence the 'Ltd.' part of the
name, but they are local. They also provide service to San
Francisco, Marin County, and most of Alameda County. I've
used them for more than a year in a half-dozen locations
(residential and business) with consistently great results.
Sonic.net (www.sonic.net). They're a Santa Rosa-based ISP
and phone company with a very long track record for
providing reliable and customer-friendly service, although
their speeds in this part of Berkeley leave something to be
desired. They're owned their CEO Dane Jasper, who will
never hesitate to engage constructively with you directly if
need be. They provide service throughout California, but
the speed depends on how far you are from the nearest
telephone company building. Their phone service is
fantastic - a real landline (=works even in a power outage),
with 'unlimited' (there's a limit, but it's something like
8+ hours per day of constant usage) residential usage, tons
of features included, and better call quality than ATT.
LMI.net is another local Berkeley ISP, and they're fine. I
used them for a couple of months. They're nice people, and
you can walk in to their office on MLK for a chat. But
their DSL service is just resold from Sonic.net, without any
advantages, and their more attractive wireless internet
service is just resold from Unwired Ltd., without any
advantages. Better than ATT/Comcast, but not as good as
What we have at home:
Because my wife and I each telecommute some of the time, and
doing so is very important to us, we have dual internet
connections at home.
We have the $90/mo 'Internet Advantage' plan from Unwired
Ltd., which provides a consistent 10Mbps down and 6Mbps up,
and which has only once ever given me trouble, and even then
it was barely 15 minutes before Unwired fixed it. This is
our primary internet connection, and it serves us well.
It's provided by a wireless radio attached to a metal pole
attached to the chimney. Unwired's installers do a great
job - I've had them install gear at four office buildings
(three of which run by a very particular property management
firm with no tolerance for risk) and two residential
settings, all with great results. The wireless radio points
at a radio tower on the nearby ridgeline, so there aren't
many things that are likely to interfere with or disrupt it.
We also have the $60/mo 'Fusion Broadband + Phone' service
from Sonic.net, which provides a consistent 4Mbps down and
1Mbps up. Although I went for more than 11 years as a
Sonic.net customer without any meaningful glitches, late
last year I encountered endless problems with my Sonic.net
DSL that, due to incompetence on ATT's part, Sonic.net were
unable to fix. I ended up cancelling and getting Unwired
instead. Then I got nervous about not having a landline for
911 at home with a toddler, and did the math on our
international calling from our cell phones, and decided to
get Fusion again if only for the phone service. So, between
the fantastic phone service for our primary home phone, and
the good-enough internet as a backup, it's worth it.
Internet services in Kensington, not AT&T?
We moved to Kensington 6 months ago and signed up with AT&T
for Internet services. They are terrible and I am looking to
change. What are my other Internet options or is it all the
same? I know about Comcast, but are there others out there?
Check out LMI.net - they're a local computer repair shop
(MLK & Virginia) that is broadening its services. I don't
think they just resell ATT like some outfits. I haven't
used them for this myself, but Jonathan (one of the owners)
has been super with computer service/repairs/etc. over the
years, and I would trust him to give you honest advice on
how well their service might work for you. Tell him Norm
sent you. Norm
Unless you want to go with a wireless connection, you're
limited to the wires that run in your house already - phone
and cable. You can sometimes get third party service, but
they'll still use the wires owned by AT&T, so you won't see
any improvement. Many of our customers (we provide computer
services) out in your area have gone to Comcast for their
broadband as well as their phone (they offer a
phone-over-cable service). I don't have any affiliation
with either company, but work with both services at customer
houses and businesses, and I have to say I've seen far fewer
problems with Comcast. Hope that helps. Kim
I switched from ATT to Sonic.net I now get their fusion
bundle of home phone and DSL. As someone else pointed out,
yes the lines are the same ones that I had through ATT, but
my DSL service is way way more stable now. I use to have to
re-boot my modem and/or airport at least once a week. The
airport would constantly be flashing orange (meaning the
signal was weak). Now it is always green. Maybe it is the
new modem, that I got with the sonic servic, but I am also
paying about $36 less per month with way better service and
perks, so I don't really care.
- out of ATT's clutches
Fed up with Comcast - alternative internet provider?
We are fed up with Comcast and would like to find an
alternative ISP, but we need a fast and reliable connection.
My husband and I both work from home and are online
essentially all day. We often need to download large files
quickly, and we also video Skype a lot with family overseas.
Our teenage son also likes to watch tv shows and movies
online. Are there any other ISPs that can handle all this?
sick of Comcast
We have LMI and it's great-local Berkeley company, great
service, competetive prices, plenty fast.
Try Sonic.net! We werent feeling very Comcastic either, so
we switched to ATT, which turned out to be very problematic
at best. When Sonic.net came to our area, we switched to
them and everything has been great! They are affordable and
have really good customer service. I'm not sure if they have
the exact product you are looking for, but I would call them
and ask them. They are very helpful. Happy Sonic Customer
AT&T wireless is constantly cutting out
We have AT&T wireless internet service and it is constantly
cutting out. It has become very frustrating, especially for
my husband when he tries to work from home. Unfortunately
it seems that a lot of internet providers don't cover our
area. Does anyone in Rockridge have wireless internet that
works well for them? Currently we have it together with our
land-line phone service. We do not get cable. Tired of
I presume by 'AT&T Wireless Internet' you mean a DSL modem
from AT&T that integrates a router and a wireless access
point. i.e. It's on copper to the house, and wireless
Before switching, you might try, if you are technically
1) Switch the modem to use a different WiFi channel - maybe
you are getting some kind of interference.
2) Check all the telephone wiring. Ideally, the modem would
be the last device on your telephone circuit in the house.
Open up the jack and see if the wires run on to another jack
somewhere else in the house. (This is known as a 'bridge
tap' and can cause signal reflections, which take down the
DSL connection intermittently.) If you push and persist
hard enough with AT&T, they should be able to run a test
from their office to detect a bridge tap, and/or send
3) Try replacing your DSL modem with a new one.
4) Try upgrading to a higher level of AT&T service - for
one, you should get a discount on the first year of service,
and it may be cheaper than what you pay monthly. For
another, they will have to qualify the line for the higher
speed, and this activity may help diagnose your current
problem, or obviate it. Mr. Modem.
Just wondering if anyone has recent experience with
sonic.net's phone/internet service. Also could someone give
me a ballpark figure for what the fees and taxes run on the
$39.95 package. Thanks. Elaine
I signed up for the Sonic.net 'Fusion' service earlier this
year and am very very happy. I highly recommend it if you
want both DSL and a landline phone.
The internet is much faster than my old AT&T DSL, the phone
service lets me make unlimited calls, and the company
doesn't treat me like crap.
In Berkeley, the taxes come to about 11 dollars per month.
So, my bill is around $51, which is the same amount as I
paid before for the slowest AT&T DSL with phone. Of course,
with AT&T I also had to pay extra for calls outside of the
East Bay, so my bill generally ended up somewhat higher.
Sonic.net really is far superior to AT&T -- faster internet
and cheaper phone calls with better service.
I switched to sonic 6 months ago after a friend recommended
the service, and I have been very happy with it! Great
internet connection at high speed, and great customer
service support, plus the fact that I am not having to deal
with and supporting AT&T!! I was told by Sonic how much the
taxes would be and it depends on the city you live in. Mine
(Albany) come out to a monthly fee between $51 and $53 on
the $39.95 package, but perhaps double check with Sonic to
see what they estimate.
Others may want to know that this package of $39.95 includes
phone service AND internet connection. I am saving a lot by
not having separate service with AT&T and internet provider
payments to another. Very happy with sonic!
I have sonic.net Fusion service. Including taxes it is $50 a
month for all phone services for the landline. Includes very
fast reliable Internet connection. I've had sonic for a
number of years and recommend them highly. Excellent tech
support from Sonoma county nerds. Kath in Albany
I just switched to Sonic last month for the phone/internet
service. So far I highly recommend them. The customer
service is outstanding- they even call you to make sure your
problems are resolved. I have not yet had my first bill, so
I can't answer the second part of your question, but at this
point I am very pleased by the service both on the phone and
the internet service itself. I am also happy to be using a
local company and not having to deal with Att any more who I
had several bad experiences with regarding service and fee
changes. happy with sonic
Getting rid of cable - need internet provider
We are getting rid of cable and need to find a new internet
provider because Comcast internet alone is insanely
expensive. I have looked at ATT Uverse (ATT regular DSL
isn't available in my area), but can't seem to find any
other inexpensive options besides Comcast and ATT. If you
know of any inexpensive, reliable providers, please respond.
We just switched to Sonic for internet (dsl) and home phone
(including unlimited long distance). I'm very happy with
them, but beware that ATT messed around on switching our
service over, and we were without both for 3 days. Sonic
answers when you call them--real live, helpful people. And
it's less overall than we paid to ATT. CK
We moved from Comcast to Sonic (they are out of Santa Rosa)
- we get phone (includes all calls, vm, caller ID) and
internet for about $50 a month. No problems at all with
them. They resell AT&T. Its not as fast as cable but its
fast enough for us - no problem streaming netflix etc. no
longer being robbed by comcast!
We've just changed over to LMI.net (on MLKJr Way in
Berkeley!) for our internet service. So far, so
good--$35/mo and I like that I can walk right in to their
office, if I need to. Judy
Don't miss Sonic.net. Great service and value. Independent
local company. Has ISP, phone and TV. We happily gave
ATandT the Boot!
Better internet service? AT&T is awful.
AT&T is our internet service provider and it is awful. I
work from home and multiple times a day the service just
goes out. It isn't for long - maybe a minute or two - but
it is very disruptive. (In the last hour it has happened 6
times!) Could this be a hardware problem? Do I need a
better modem/router or is it just AT&T? If the latter, any
suggestions on reasonable residential ISPs? frustrated
I had the same problem and switched
from ATT to ComCast Cable service. I got a special
promotional price of $19.99/mon for the first year.
So far ComCast has been great!
We had ATT internet service for a year and it was terrible.
We experienced anywhere from 1-25 disconnections a day, and
it was very disruptive to the work flow. We had ATT techs
out, got a new box but nothing helped. We switched to
Earthlink and haven't been bumped off once. A friend of ours
had exactly the same experience w/ ATT so I'm guessing it's
them and not your equipment. If our experience is any
indication, you'll be thrilled once you switch! Janet
Had the same experience - AT&T would say it was fixed and
then the same thing would happen a few days later. Awful!
Switched to Comcast - no problems. Very reliable, much
faster, great customer service. cg
I don't have a solution, but I'm writing in to commiserate.
After several years of reasonable (though not great)
service, my AT&T internet is sporadic as well. I have
spoken with AT&T to no avail: nothing changed. I work from
home, so it's not a tenable situation. I'm reluctant to
sign onto Comcast, as I don't do cable otherwise, and the
prices after the first year seem hefty (and I really don't
want to switch again after a year). So I'm eager to hear of
other alternatives that have worked well for people. -timed
We've used DSL Extreme for the past 6 years or so and have
loved it. We've had relatively few disruptions, and when we
do, we've always been able to talk to a real person about
what's going on....and not been put on hold for hours on
end. DSL Extreme works for us
I had a lot of problems with AT&T and have been really happy
with Sonic.net (I think I recommended it recently in this
newsletter). They are a local company and have great
Do you use a Mac? If so, that could be the issue. I had a
similar problem -- service would cut out two or three or
even more times a day. When I switched from using the
AT&T-provided router to using an AirPort Extreme for our
router (Apple Product) our problems went away. It was
expensive but worth it in the end. (Not to defend AT&T!
Certainly could be their fault, too) Anna
We just left AT&T which was terrible and went to sonic net.
We have been so much happier. The speed is so much faster. I
feel like I have finally entered the Internet age. Also, it
was very important for me to have a real land line for
emergency reasons. and we are saving $25 a month. Look into
We have used DSL Extreme for over 2 1/2 years and we love
it. It requires a landline phone line and costs under $23
per month for fast, excellent wifi in our home. When we
moved, it was easy to get reconnected. We have never been
dropped, and never had any hassles whatsoever.
We do everything from watch tv shows to downloading programs
(I mention it because at a friend's house we couldnt watch
tv shows online due to their dsl speed, alas!).
We have recommended it to our friends, as well, and have
only ever heard of one problem: when a friend moved he had a
hard time getting reconnected. I'm not sure what caused
that problem, but he is up and running again. I found DSL
Extreme by checking reviews, and they were known for
excellent customer service. K M
Looking for high speed internet provider only
I'm looking for a provider that can deliver enough internet
speed to allow for streaming. I had used att u-verse
previously which is good for the service (TV+high speed
internet+tv+landline). It comes at a price though. I am now
moving towards West Berkeley and want to limit my services
to High speed internet access only (basically no more
traditional TV for my children but only VOD). I couldn't
find up-to-date info on this for Berkeley. Does anyone have
any recommandations/suggestions/pointers for very fast
reliable (and why not cheap) ISP? I appreciate your
I've been using Monkeybrains wireless internet
(monkeybrains.net) for several months now and have been
really happy with the performance (typically around 20
MB/s). They've been operating for several years in SF and
are just moving into the east bay, so it's worth checking to
see if you're in their coverage area. Plus, they only
charge $35 a month.
nb, the owner is a friend of mine, but you can check their
great reviews on Yelp if you'd like less biased opinions.
For high-speed internet, we have and love Sonic.net, a local
ISP based in Santa Rosa. They're reasonably priced and
provide great service, and I love that if you call them, a
real person answers who actually solves your problem or
calls you back later if they can't figure it out right away.
They also offer land line phone service if you need that; we
have their combo package and have been very pleased. Happy
Internet Service Provider other than comcast, AT&T, Verizon
I'm looking for an internet service provider from a
different company other than comcast, AT&T, Verizon or other
big, inconsiderate company. We've been using comcast and
I'm fed up with the overcharging and poor customer service.
I am constantly wasting time calling to correct my bill. I
was wondering if anyone can recommend another service
provider that serves the Berkeley area. Thanks. Renee
I highly recommend Sonic.Net. They are a local company
based in Santa Rosa and provide great service. When we were
totally fed up with getting the run-around from AT&T, Sonic
worked with us to fix the problem. They have very friendly
customer service - when I call, I feel like I'm talking to a
real person who actually knows something about computers
(compared with calling AT&T, where someone who knew nothing
about computers was reading some lines from a customer
- Satisfied Sonic.Net customer
we've been very happy with lmi.net which is in berkeley on
mlk near virginia. very few problems w/our service and when
there is one, they take care of it quickly. nice people,
local company, good service and prices. http://www.lmi.net.
happy lmi customer
Looking for less expensive Internet service
I am looking to reduce monthly expenses. Presently I am
paying around $70 per month for comcast cable which provides
me with hi speed Internet. However, I don't use cable for
anything else. We don't watch Cable TV. Instead, we stream
video through Netflix and Hulu. I am looking for
recommendations for a good Internet only service. What are
your experiences with DSL? Does it work well with a wireless
router? I have an Apple Airport and we usually connect two
laptops and also the video streaming box.
Also, am I paying too much? (Comcast claims that it would
not cost me less to get rid of the basic cable service that
is now included with my hi speed Internet. I have been very
satisfied with the Internet service, but I have the feeling
I am paying too much.)
For 14.95/mo., AT&T has DSL which works fine with our Apple
airport and 2 computers. It's not quite so fast as cable,
but it's much much less expensive. My husband, a computer
consultant, says that Comcast wants to sell a package, and
you are paying for one, whether or not you use it. The
answers to your question are yes, it works with your
equipment and yes, you're paying way more than you have to.
Good luck. Judy
Comcast for Phone, Internet & TV?
We live in Upper Rockridge and have been told by AT&T that
we cannot get a faster DSL line than we already have unless
we install UVerse. AT&T tried to install it but it turns
out that it's not available in our neighborhood. We are
itching for faster DSL speed and are thinking of Comcast.
The regular price of a Comcast bundle for phone, internet
(at the high speed we want) & TV would be the same as what
we are paying right now with AT&T and Dish Network. Does
anyone have this bundle with Comcast? Is it ok? Not sure
why I'm hesitating about switching... Need faster DSL
we have the bundled comcast service (phone, internet and
tv). as soon as our contract is over, i plan on switching
our tv and phone service. if you don't mind not being able
to delete a voice message in the middle of it, or wait until
the end of it to repeat it, then maybe you'll be find w/
comcast. also, when live tv is paused for a period of time,
and then you return to resume watching, if you try to skip
through a commercial it usually jumps to live tv. in order
to get back to where it was paused, you have to rewind,
which takes some time. these little *features* annoy me, as
i know other providers have fixed these issues, and i also
know comcast is well aware of them but they're not
priorities. on the upside, the cable internet is fast and
we've had very few problems w/ internet. not a comcast fan
I switched to COMCAST for phone and Internet about a year
ago (I don't have cable); I'd been very unhappy with the
service from AT&T and my ISP and they were offering a
fantastic deal for a year. Before I switched I emailed two
of my neighborhood listservs because I'd heard COMCAST
quality is highly variable depending on your location.
Almost all the reviews were great, so I took the plunge.
There were some problems with my Internet connection the
first week, but once they were ironed out, it's been mostly
problem-free. There have been a couple of times when my
phones and/or Internet have gone down, which is annoying,
but they got things back up quickly and were generous with
giving credits or service upgrades as compensation. Two
additional suggestions. 1) NEVER use the online help! It is
beyond awful. Always call the 800-#. 2) Bookmark or print
the shortcuts menu for their voicemail so you can learn how
to get quickly to the end of a voicemail you want to delete!
You can choose some faster ways to get through your messages
but you need to learn their system. I wouldn't switch back
to AT&T if they paid me. Good luck! Delighted with COMCAST
Hate Comcast, need new internet provider
Not much more to this... we've had it with Comcast. We only
use the Internet portion of our Internet + cable package but
have not been able to downgrade to an Internet-only option
because their Byzantine downgrade rules make it incredibly
difficult to do so.
Any other providers out there? AT&T DSL is not available at
our address. We will cancel Comcast and move on in a
heartbeat if there are other options.
We are in the Piedmont Ave area.
Sick of Comcast
We have used DSL Extreme (www.dslextreme.com) for the past
few years we've lived in Oakland, both in Glenview and on
Oakland Avenue, so they should be available around Piedmont
Avenue where you are. We are paying about $25/month for
their Express DSL (1500/384 Kbps) service and have never had
any complaints. Their customer service has been helpful and
quick to respond to outages the few times we had to call in
Internet provider that doesn't need landline?
We currently pay $60 per month for landline/internet connection through AT&T.
Is there a provider cheaper than that? Or is there an internet provider that
doesn't require us to have a telephone landline?
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
We switched from AT&T to Vonage about six weeks ago. $25 a
month for unlimited calling, local, US, and 70 other
countries. It was simple, and has been flawless, so we are
We too have AT&T. I called and asked for a new ''Deal'' and
voila! my bill went down to under $50! It generally runs
around $40 for home phone (no long distance) and internet.
I do have to call every six months or so to get the newest
promotion, but it appears to be worth it for now.
I'm a big fan of Sonic.net, a Santa Rosa-based internet
service provider. They've been my ISP since 1999, in Santa
Cruz, Davis, Oakland, and (now) Berkeley, and I'm excited
that they're getting ready to roll out phone service as a
supplement to their excellent internet service. Their phone
service isn't available yet, but when it is I'm sure it'll
be better than ATT's.
If you need something in the meantime, you might want to
consider VoicePulse. But anything that you use on an ATT
internet connection is going to be limited by ATT's awful
I work for AT&T, and you no longer need a landline from AT&T
in order to have DSL from AT&T. There are four DSL speeds,
and monthly prices start at $19.95 and go on up to $45.
Comcast vs. AT&T bundle
We currently have Comcast cable for high-speed internet.
We've been pretty happy with them. They cost ~$60/month. We
land line phone service that we barely use (alarm system and
few faxes) ... costs us $20/month. Altogether - ~$80/month.
Just got an offer from AT&T to bundle phone service (with
distance) and high-speed internet for a total of $60/month.
So, a $20/month savings to switch to AT&T. Is this worth it?
you had both and been disappointed with one vs. the other? I
our relatively high speed cable. But if AT&T works just as
... why not?
Your advice appreciated as always!
wish I could just get rid of the internet! ;o)
I just switched to AT&T from Comcast. Yes, AT&T is cheaper. So
far, I've reported them to the BBB once and will be reporting them
again this week. I've spent no less than 5-6 hours on the phone
with them over the past month, been delayed weeks in getting
service and talked to at least 20 representatives - at least 4 of
whom promised to follow through or call me back and never did.
It's not been worth the switch at all - stick with Comcast.
I pay $37 per month, total including tax, for ATT basic home phone
and basic internet (an online special one-year price for ATT home
subscribers who are new to ATT internet; it will go up $10 after
one year). I paid $90 for the wireless router. It is not a bundle,
I found the bundles gave me more than I needed, even though the
prices look reasonable if you need high-speed internet and long
distance phone, which I don't. The ATT basic internet is not as
speedy fast as Comcast, but it works fine for web browsing, video
watching, and emailing. I haven't tried to download videos or
-- frugal mom
I wished I would of asked the same question prior to switching to
At&t. I thought the same thing when making the decision, At&t
bundle was $30 cheaper, then Comcast. Now that we have switched I
hate At&t and cannot wait for the day when I can afford to switch
back. For the following reasons:
1. Its slow
2. Drops the internet or freezes
3. They advertise up to 7mps(?) and my area is only eligible for 2
mgps. When I call to see if my area was upgraded every month or
so, they have not! Comcast is like 16 mgps(?). HUGE DIFFERENCE!!
4. Customer service sucks! When I call them to complain, they tell
me to do the same thing....restart the computer, restart the
internet connection, unplug the connection, go on to the internet
to check the network (WHEN THE INTERNET IS NOT WORKING)
My husband and I both need the internet for school and it has
dropped/froze on us several times during actual exams. If you can
afford Comcast and actually need it for work or school, my
recommendation is to keep Comcast. They are pricey but its worth
it. Less hassle!! Unfortunately nothing else compares at the
moment when it comes to actual speed, trust me I have done the
Sorry for my blatant vulgarity, the thought of At&t really ruffles
Combined Internet, Phone and Cable Svc.
I don't see any recent information on this in the archives. I
have Comcast internet and cable (basic cable). And phone is
Neighborhood by MCI. The ''free'' long distance is necessary
for me. I am interested to hear if anyone has a combined, ?
bundled ? service with Comcast, and if they are pleased with
it. Or if not everything with Comcast, another way to lower
the total monthly charges which are ridiculous. I am
reluctant to use my cell phone (AT&T)for the long distance as
I have some loooong long distance calls and we are all with
different carriers so that may not work. I need to keep the
cell with my current plan as it works with my son.
This is in response to two questions about comcast in this
You may want to read this before you give comcast (more of) your
We just changed our cable service from Comcast to AT&T Uverse and
are THRILLED! Comcast started to reduce their services, but
increased their fees. Uverse has been fantastic. We pay a little
less than before, bundled our cable, internet and telephone
service and are saving $50 each month. Uverse throws in a DVR, so
now we record all our favorite shows and forward through all the
annoying advertisements. In fact, we rarely watch regular TV
anymore. We'd rather record it and then watch it another time, so
that we don't have to sit through all the commercials.
We are looking for basic wireless internet for our house in
No. Berkeley/Albany area, possibly combined with cable (which
we don't currently have but don't necessarily want). Any
For wireless Internet (Broadband) in Berkeley, you have two
choices. The telephone company (AT&T) offers DSL along with
regular phone service and TV reception (if desired) by satellite
dish. Comcast offers cable for both TV and high-speed Internet
(at several levels of speed).
The slowest cable speed (Internet) is significantly faster than
DSL but it is a bit more expensive. The fastest cable speed
(15Mbps) is almost as fast as a T-1 (commercial) connection.
If you don't want cable, then your most likely choice would be
adding DSL service to your home phone line assumming you have a
land line. Wireless inside your home just piggybacks off cable or
the phone line. Both Cable and DSL usually provide wireless
access as part of their router device which comes with the
The other option is broadband wireless which is used mostly by
sales reps so they can get ubiquitous internet access while on
Internet Service Providers
Help! I have been using AT&T for my DSL and a Linksys router to
make my connection wireless. I am sick, sick, sick of AT&T. I
have called their customer service line and was told that
although I was paying for high speed, our area didn't really
have high speed until recently. They supposedly sped me up. My
partner is particularly frustrated because we can't use Ebay.
Personally it saves us money, her not getting into Ebay, but
somethimes I understand the frustration.
Now my high speed seems slower than ever. I'm paying $49.99 per
So, what are other people using? How is it working for you? Do
you use a wireless connection? How much are you paying? If you
have problems or questions, how's the service?
The furthest thing from an AT&T fan you can get
We've used Speakeasy for DSL for many years and their service is absolutely terrific.
(We have a router plugged into the modem and a wireless router plugged into that).
If your speed is slow then it's possible that you are far away from the CO. In that
case you might be happier with cable.
Check out dslreports.com to find out how far away you are, run speed tests and read
I have had sonic.net as my ISP since I spent two months trying to switch my broadband
modem from my old PC to a new one--that was when ATT was SBC. That was 3 1/2 years ago.
Sonic gets rave reviews from many sites that compare ISPs. They are a local company
based in Santa Rosa and their tech support has been excellent (friendly competent
[local] techies). They helped me set up my router even though it's not within the scope
of their support. Their monthly rates are in the same range as the big guys but
depending what kind of internet service you need, they may save you money.
Their service has been so trouble free that I recommend then whenever I can.
If you're paying ATT $49, you're getting ripped. I pay $60 to ATT for DSL and unlimited
phone service. If you don't like their service, there are lots of others, including LMI
in Berkeley at about $30 month. But all DSL around here goes over the ATT lines, unless
you get the Comcast service. But call and demand the $19/month price, and try to get it
retroactive for several months.
We've used Comcast for our digital broadband service for about the past 3 years. We live
in El Cerrito. Our monthly fee is a little less that what you are paying now. I can
count on one hand how many times that it's gone out completely. I remember that they've
always been pleasant when I called and it was usually back within a few hours. As for
speed, occasionally (maybe once or twice a month) it will feel a little slower but
that's usually on a Saturday afternoon (when I guess there is a lot of traffic). I
haven't had any trouble using eBay!
Oh my gosh, cancel your DSL service! Cable internet is a thousand times better: no exaggeration.
While Comcast's customer service isn't the best either, there's only been one time (in 5 years of
having cable internet in two states) that I've been unhappy with them. Much better speed and more
-- never going back to DSL
We have DSL with PacBell and have had it for years and we are very happy with the service. We are
both software engineers and we both work at home sometimes so we need a fast reliable connection, and
we have found that with PacBell. My co-worker, who also needs a fast reliable connection at home, uses
Comcast. Her internet goes out occasionally for no apparent reason. She may have no problems for a
year, but then suddenly loses her connection and is offline for half a day. When this happens, she
just can't work. Not good. In the last few weeks it's happened twice, and she has expressed
frustration in dealing with tech support. She sometimes experiences slowness too. I wouldn't use cable
internet if I needed to work at home.
Happy with Pacbell
How to continue low fee from SBC Global
When we signed up for internet service almost a year ago we got
a good price on service. Now that the year is almost up they
will increase the monthly fee to almost 50.00. Does anyone
know how I could continue to get a low monthly fee from SBC?
When my year-long contract with SBC was up, I called them and
told them that I didn't want to pay the $50/month rate when they
were offering new customers a rate of $14.99/month, and when I
could switch to a different service and get a much lower rate as
well. They ended up LOWERING my monthly fee to $16.99/month (I
had been paying $19.99/month). Hopefully they'll do the same for you!
Ask and you shall receive
Sign up for another yearly contract to get the lower price. It
may not be as low as the introductory price, but it should be in
the $25 range
Just did this myself
This is a relatively easy one-- just call them up and negotiate a new contract. I did it about
2 months ago with SBC and got another year at $19.95/mo. They will try to talk you into
bundling other services (like long distance calling), but just say you want to negotiate a lower
dsl bill and don't need their other services. For leverage, you can quote the lower fees of
dslextreme (or even move over to dslextreme, if you don't mind changing email addresses, etc.).
I got passed around on the phone to a couple different people (total time ~20 minutes), but they
ended up offering the price I wanted. Who knows what will happen in another year, but we're ok
Just need to call them and sign up for another year of contract.
We just did that and our bill is down from 50.99 to around $28
I believe SBC should be willing to give you a rate of $14.99. If you call them and ask for a
better rate, they will likely negotiate with you, and you might even threaten to switch to a
different carrier if they don't lower your rate. There are some internet chat boards that
detail how people have been successful in getting the $14.99 rate, which you can search for
online. Good luck!
Need a reliable internet service
Help! We need a good reliable internet service. We currently
have Earthlink DSL and it has been a total nightmare. We haven't
had reliable service for the last 6 months. Every hour the
internet connection goes down for 5-15 minutes, always when I'm
emailing something important. I telecommute from home. I've
been on the phone with Earthlink customer service for hours and
each time I get the same response, ''Can you watch your computer
connection for the next day and call us back?'' Also, any
difference betwen DSL & Cable?
The last postings on the subject were a bit old and I'm looking
for more current recommendations.
I've been using AT&T DSL since 2000 (first as Pac Bell, then
SBC, now AT&T). We've had very few problems with our DSL.
Sometimes we've been continuously connected to the internet for
30 days or more! I can count on one hand the number of problems
we've had with our connection in these past seven years. I hate
supporting the big corporate behemoth, but it works.
We had a terrible time with Earthlink DSL . I waited out the one year
because I couldn't bear the thought of another day on the phone with the
service department moving those dang filters around and waiting for the
instruction. They told me all kinds of stuff about antique refrigerators
up connections, and microwaves, or radios too close to the phone line etc
When I finally called to cancel they sent a tech out the next day. It
turns out that our
phone box is in our basement and that there is a part of it that was made
the phone company info about the welfare of the phone line when they
This device was used in the 80's and isn't compatible with DSL or
to the phone company anymore either. The tech found the problem in 7
flat, ripped it out and voila excellent DSL. He explained that when you
order DSL the
phone company gets an order from the DSL company to remove this device. If
box is inside the house and the phone company is busy, they may just drive
Sorry that I can't remember the name of the part.
I would call them and insist that they send someone over to solve your
was very upset to discover that I had wasted so many hours on the phone
tech department and had to pay for a year of unacceptably bad service
because of a
little part in the basement that was supposed to have been removed to
We lost our connection every time we used the phone.
In answer to your other question, cable is better, but more expensive.
It's faster and
more consistent. We had it for a year and loved it, but the price went up
We're now happy with our DSL, but switched to another and cheaper company
our experiences with the earthlink tech department.
LMI is great-they are a local small business with fantastic
customer service, and reasonable rates. I highly recommend them
for internet service. When you need tech support, you get
someone in Berkeley, not someone in India! go to www.lmi.net
I'm looking for a recommendation for an internet provider in
Berkeley. (The last posting on the BPN was July of 2003.) I'm
looking for a place that is local, ideally has an office I can
walk into, and where people actually answer the phone. I've
found Lanminds Inc. online, is anyone out there using it? Other
My family uses LMI, and we've been really happy with their
service. They are on MLK in Berkeley
Lanminds (LMI) is the best, I love them! Although, I've only
used their web hosting services, not their DSL, but they really
are great. I think I'm on a first name basis with everybody who
works there; they're all really cool and knowledgeable and I love
that they're only two blocks away from my house. The ONLY
problem is that their tech support isn't really 24/7, I've had
troubles over the weekend that I had to wait until Monday to fix,
but maybe their DSL support is different from their hosting support?
I design websites and have had a great history of service with
dreamhost.com. The hosting fees start at 7.95 and that includes
unlimited domains. You can register your domain for 9.95 a year,
(this can cost up to $30-50 a year if you just go to a domain
1. Domain name - GoDaddy is taken. Unfortunately, most cool names
are taken, but you can get creative. You can do a search to find
an available name at register.com
2.Email: You can set your email as ''firstname.lastname@example.org. If
your domain is berkeleydad.com, you could be email@example.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, etc..
You can set it so that your Outlook or whatever mail program you
use, collects the email. It is a little complicated, but
dreamhost has an info page on how to do it, and they have support
Let me know if you need more help.
We finally got a computer and don't find really recent ISP
recommendations on the website.We are thinking of going with DSL
rather than cable. Two ISP's that I am particularly interested in
are LMI.net (if they service Alameda) and SBC, but any positive
OR negative recs would be useful. We live in Alameda, which could
affect what ISP actually delivers DSL. Cost, reliability,
customer service, and ease of use are the main issues.
Thanks very much!
-New to internet
Try http://www.dslreports.com/ to find a service provider.
We use dslextreme and like it (in Berkeley).
DSL Reports is a highly regarded web site that includes a
function that will give you a complete list of DSL providers that
can give you service (based upon your area code and telephone
I've had Covad DSL at my house in Berkeley for many years and
highly recommend them.
In Alameda I believe you have a pretty good cable option from
Alameda Power & Telecom. See
We signed up for SBC DSL last July.
Here are the high/low lights:
1/ BILLING - they double billed at the start. We called to fix;
the phone bill was very confusing, but luckily we originally
wrote down every cost involved, so we eventually figured it out
and got an appropriate credit. No billing problems from then on.
2/ STABILITY - Internet was down a few crucial times for us, but
by and large, the connection was stable and fast. I think
internet occasionally down is common to most providers.
3/ CENSORSHIP - They ban some sexual content. This isn't a
practical problem for most people, but is a philosophical concern
if you think censorship is wrong.
4/ EARLY TERMINATION - We wanted to end our 1yr contract early,
and SBC was going to charge a cancellation fee that exceeded what
the remaining monthly fees would have cost. They would not waive
it, nor would they move the contract to a new address to let us
continue service with them. One of us is waiting to move because
Would I go through them again? Maybe, if the deal was right. We
plan to ditch them after the 1 year lowered-cost-contract is up.
We've used DSL from SBC for a few years now. It's been fine.
No complaints. They usually have some sort of deal/sale where
you can get your first year for around $25/month.
Hi, does anyone have any recent reviews on an ISP/DSL provider,
positive OR negative? The recent stuff I've seen on the parents
webpage seems a little old; plus, the business is constantly
changing, yes? We had some problems on our phone line, and an
SBC guy came out to replace the line coming into our house
(luckily, at their expense). I asked him about SBC DSL, and he,
of course, gave it glowing reviews, and said we were only
several hundred feet from a sourcebox [sic] (we're in the El
Cerrito/Richmond view hills). When I went to dslreports.com, it
indicated our CO (sourcebox?) was located more toward central
Richmond-- which is more than ''several hundred feet' (more like
12,000 ft!) DSL reports was recommending Earthlink for our
neighborhood, but the user feedback seemed kinda lukewarm. They
also recommended Megapath, which seemed more for businesses (and
was expensive). Any advice, greatly appreciated!
have you considered cable modem? i just got the service from
comcast and the modem thru broadbandoffers.com (or something
like that). when the software installation got a little tricky
for me, i just called the toll-free number and the woman took me
step-by-step. cable is fast!
We recently had SBC DSL service installed (in N. Berkeley), and we're pleased, wished we'd
done it long ago. But we warn you that SBC is dysfunctional - you have to talk with different
offices about orders, equipment, installation advice, etc. etc. If you can handle the
frustration, once you're set up, you're likely to be glad you made the change. Wireless
access is a really neat feature if you have a laptop!
The best and most up to date info on broadband connections can be
We picked our current provider (Earthlink) through this website.
It has thorough user reviews. It was very useful for getting
exactly what you need.
Addition to earlier post:
I just skimmed your post about dslreports; sorry about that! We
have Earhtlink and my husband is a programmer who works from
home. The service is pretty reliable; we've had few outages.
Our complaint was that we couldn't get a static ip address, but
if you don't need that, they're good. We have more than basic
service, and pay $65/month. I would recommend them.
We have been very disappointed with our SBC DSL service- it is
We recently switched from earthlink dialup to earthlink DSL. I am
disappointed in the speed -- it's just not fast enough to justify charging
$30 more per month. I complained to earthlink and they sent me some
suggestions for improving the speed. So far none have helped, but I
haven't yet tried them all. I chose earthlink over SBC because I had
heard mostly poor reviews about SBC (including from dslreports). Now
I'm not so sure I made the right decision. Good luck.
They are a little bit pricier (I think), but the best in
customer service and performance is speakeasy.net. I used to
work at Covad and we always knew that if you wanted to find a
Covad alumni, just assume their email address was their
firstname.lastname@example.org. Ex covad employees, including myself,
all seem to get speakeasy DSL because of their excellent
customer service. I think that the reviews bear this out too.
I've been a computer and network manager for more than 25 years.
In fact, I was the manager and provider of the first computer
Ginger used for parents.berkeley.edu. I've also had DSL for over
4 years and have helped uncounted friends and neighbors get
connected with both DSL and cable.
With all that experience I can say that both DSL and cable
internet service are a crapshoot. You'll find as many people
saying good things about one technology or company as you find
saying bad. In my experience, most of the problems aren't caused
by the DSL or cable service itself. Rather, it's often been the
flakyness of Windows 95, 98, and ME. I've seen real
improvements since Windows XP has become the prevalent desktop
Another way to improve your chances for success is to use a
broadband router, even if you just have one PC. This approach
lets you avoid having to install DSL or cable service specific
software on your PC. Instead, the router handles all this. Plus,
you get the added benefit of the firewalling done to various
degrees by the various routers these days.
My recommendation is to talk to people in your neighborhood to
see what their experiences are, and then to go with whatever
people like. Then, make sure you have an experienced computer
person you can call if things go wrong. Although some of the
customer support people are very nice and try very hard, most of
them really don't know much about computers or networking.
OK, I thought I had posted this response but I must not have hit
the submit button again because I didn't receive a confirmation
and didn't see it in the newsletter.
I've been very happy with my DSL service from speakeasy.net .
The service has been wonderful. I chose it over pac bell because
of the static IP. Pac Bell has extra software that you need to
load on your computer to connect- not a big deal but just
something else that could go wrong IMO.
Several months ago I ran speed tests on my service and that of 2
neighbors. The cable beat us hands down (of course). My
neighbor's Pac Bell service was slightly faster than mine
(speakeasy is provived by COVAD) but I'm not sure if type of
computer effects speed. I did receive an email from speakeasy
not too long ago that they were upgrading their circuits and we'd
see an improvement in speed once that was completed.
Either way it's plenty for me. I bought a router and now have
both of our home computers hooked up, so the kids can surf while
One tip: At the time I signed up, pac bell had a promotion that
included a reduced rate for a year. When I mentioned this to
speakeasy they offered me a month's free service.
We need to get internet service at home, and I am tempted to go
with SBC yahoo since they are offering this deal at 29.95/month
for the first year. Has anyone had any experience with them?
Alternatively, does anyone have a provider to recommend? I think
we prefer DSL. I looked on the parents' website, but only found
old recommendations, and I know things have changed a lot in the
past 2 years.
needing a hook-up
I recommend sonic.net for your Internet Service Provider. I started with
them in January after having had DSL from Pacbell since 1998, which became
SBCYahoo last year. I never had a problem until they changed to
SBCYahoo. The service itself became very advertising intensive on every
page related to accessing email or my account. The user interface is hokey
and designed to funnel you to their offerings. When I switched my computer
to Windows XP, the SBCYahoo customer service related to getting support for
the change from Windows98 to XP was horrendous: interminable waits on hold
and poorly informed technical staff. After 6 weeks of trying to get them
help me with the DSL changeover to XP, I switched to getting my DSL through
sonic.net which has excellent technical support and great customer
service. In actuality, sonic.net uses SBC cables so they're really a
reseller, but so much easier to deal with that it's worth. (Usually
bargains like the SBCYahoo special offers require
you to sign up for a year or two or pay a large penalty.) With SBC I spent
about $75 a month for my DSL and voice line. Now I pay about $57 for
sonic.net (and that includes a couple of static IPs which are extra from
SBC) and it's a separate bill from the SBC phone bill which is down to
about $20. So talk to sonic.net before signing up and see what you
think. Good luck!
I've used Northpoint and DirectTV DSL, all driven out of
business due to Pac Bell's uncooperative (monopolistic)
practices. Most DSL providers not affiliated/owned by a baby
Bell phone company are driven out of business. The result is
bad customer service, and ruthless pricing to drive out
remaining competition. So, I would consider SBC/Yahoo an ISP of
absolute last resort.
If you just want to surf and download, you can use either cable
or dsl. Cable tends to be speedier for the money. If you would
like to host your own email or web server, then you'll need DSL
with a fixed (static) address. The best deal for static address
DSL with superior customer service is http://www.dslextreme.com,
a small L.A. based, privately held, profitable ISP. Read and
compare reviews at http://www.broadbandreports.com. They're
charging $45/month for the first year and $50 thereafter with
free self-installation and modem. Their dynamic address DSL is
$35/month the first year. I recommend them whole-heartedly with
one caveat: their tech support line is only available 9a-5p.
I've used their customer support: they're young, competent,
succinct, and most importantly, correct in their diagnoses.
I have my DSL service through California.com
California.com is a local re-seller for Covad. California.com
has great customer service, and Covad's is reasonable for a
You should also look at LMI.net
(http://lmi.net/services/dsl/index.php), based in Berkeley. I
buy my dialup internet access from them, and customer service is
I have not even tried SBC, because a number of my co-workers
have tried them and had awful things so say. They reported long
delays getting set up, and terrible customer support.
If saving money is your highest priority I doubt anyone can beat
SBC (but you should contact the locals and ask whether they can
meet or at least approach SBC's price) just bear in mind that
some of your savings in cash may be ''spent'' in time and
aggravation getting it to work and keeping it working.
this may be damning with faint praise, but... we have had the
sbc dsl for over a year, and have been satisfied with the long-
term performance. we've only had one major outage, when some
makjr accident occurred somewhere down the cable. on the down
side, their customer serivce in the initial days was substandard-
-but by then we had already given them our money! we did the
installation ourselves, so i can't speak for their work on that
part of the deal (regardless, we spent LOTS of time on the phone
with them trying to get all the details ironed out).
We have had DSL through SBC yahoo for a year now and we have no
complaints. My husband telecommutes so it gets used a LOT and he
says the connection is pretty solid. I think we have only experienced
one or two outages since we started our service. And based on our past
experience (we had DSL through the local phone company when we
lived in another state) that's really good. And since it's through yahoo
you get access to their stuff (like games, etc...) that you can only use if
you are a subscriber.
David Lazarus in the Chronicle Business section had a series of articles
about SBC Yahoo fairly recently. The gist of it: Bad customer service,
hardsell on Yahoo, extra fees if you used something other than YahooAuctions
for selling services. I've also worked with a number of people who have had
problems using pop with their mail to the university since the reverse dns
from SBC works poorly.
You have to go up a number of levels to get folks who might even know
what you are talking about to resolve. The good news is that it's a great
deal, and once it is in is fairly reliable. Good Luck.
I signed up for SBC Yahoo DSL about 10 days ago. I had to sign a
one year contract, and in exchange for this got a ''plus''
connection for $30/month and a wireless router with built-in
firewall for $50 after rebate. I bought a $40 wireless card from
Dell for my laptop, and now have a home network on which I can
share a printer plus have shared internet access from a WinXP
desktop and a Win2k laptop. The standard software package
installs with little input from the user and is necessary
primarily to activate the DSL connection. The rest of the
software on CD consists of service packs for different versions
of Windows (a good thing) and add-ons to promote the use of
Yahoo services whenever possible, including SBC-Yahoo browser
which annoyingly suggests yahoo services whenever possible, bit
fortunately can be easy uninstalled (to intimidate users, this
browser is called SBC Yahoo! DSL in the Add/Remove panel -
obviously to make them think that if they uninstall it, the
whole DSL setup will go to hell, which of course does not
happen). While the actual download speed may vary from location
to location, I got speed close to the promised 1500 kbps (I
actually measured 1250 kbps). This is very close to 1350 kbps
which I measured using the same tool at my office, where I have
ethernet. Upload speed is also quite close to what was promised
(around 100-150 kbps). I knew that DSL would be faster than dial-
up, but I did not expect download speeds close to those of
ethernet, and was literally blown off by the performance I got.
The wireless router has a hardware-based firewall which can be
configured to limit certain protocols of inbound and outbound
traffic. It also allows ''stealth'' mode in which the dynamic IP
address which you get cannot be pinged on the web. Additionally,
I got 760 MB of web storage and an e-mail address with 25 MB
inbox plus several additional mailboxes with 10 MB limit.
In my opinion, SBC promotion is the best value for DSL available
at this time. I cannot comment on their technical support since
I did not need it.
By the way, if you wish you can sign up on month-to month basis,
but the same service costs $50 per month and you get no rebate
on the router.
I am having problems with my email and internet server,
Earthlink. What companies are other people using and what are
their pros and cons.
I started using LanMindsInc. (LMI) five years ago because I saw their
office on MLK north of University ave. I started with a dialup for about
$10/month and moved up to DSL at, I think, $60/month. Every once in a
while I get tempted by SBC DSL ads or whatever the local cable company is -
both are cheaper. But the thing is that LMI is small and responsive, so a/
it works almost always, and b/ when it doesn't work they answer the phone
and respond to emails. I figure that getting a personal response quickly
counts for a lot when it comes to the internet which is usually such an
You can check out their site at www.lmi.net
http://www.lmi.net/ is the only way to go; I've been using them loyally for
years now. They're great, they're smart, they actually answer the phone
when you call and best of all: They're Local! They're right on the corner
of MLK & Virginia in Berkeley. I'd highly recommend them to anybody
I spent most of the dot com boom avoiding the big ISPs (like
Earthlink and AOL and Mindspring, etc). All I wanted was a way
to link to the net that was simple and had few adds. And was
free. I found several but they all died back in 2001. I did
get a hotmail address which allows me to move between ISPs w/o
having to be tied to their e-mail service. Hotmail was bought
by MS so you know it is never going away. Also, it is very easy
to synch a Hotmail acct to Outlook Express since they are both
MS products. I've now had my hotmail address for several years
and I don't need to worry about it changing.
In April 2002, I started using Access4Less (www.access4less.net)
for my ISP. It is bare bones and has no AOL type features but
who cares as you can get something similar for free from MSN or
Yahoo or Google or countless other sites. There is a one time
$8.00 setup fee and then you pay $5.95 a month but it is only
dial-up (no DSL connection). Works fine and has lots of local
phone numbers and no pop-up adds or banners. I've never had
problems w/ busy signals or broken connections. Also, A4L give
you UNLIMITED HOURS and e-mail. For only $5.95/mon, that's a
great deal! They have a secure website where you can log in and
see all your hour usage, billing, etc. I never use phone
support ($5/call) as I've had no problems. I also don't need
large amounts of webspace for personal web pages (which
Access4Less does not offer). But, hey, if you want a webpage,
go to Geocity or MSN or Yahoo and get one for free!
So, between hotmail and A4L, I am web enabled. Now I just need
to find DSL for $9.95/mon and I will be in web heaven.
My current internet provider, formerly dnai, now rcn, has
proven to be a technical mess, forwarding e-mail into
cyberspace. So I'm looking for a straightforward provider
that can take e-mails from my domain and (ideally) can be
picked up from computers other than my own. I'd welcome
suggestions. I really don't want aol--I like to be able to use
my browser without ads and frames.
I have been extremely pleased with LanMinds, Inc.
(http://www.lmi.net) for the past 3+ years. Knowledgeable,
personable, dependable. I think I remember 2 downtimes, each for
less than 24 hours.
They offer all kinds of connectivity. Please tell them I sent
Try LMI.net. They are a relatively small, local Berkeley
business that offers a range of ISP services. They're also good
people. Check out their web site, LMI.net
I've used Earthlink as my ISP for many years. Their customer
support is excellent. I have Earthlink DSL which I have
networked at home, and I access my email from my office by using
You can have more than one email address on your account (I have
one email address I use only for junk mail/signing in to sites
You can use Netscape or Internet Explorer as your browser (I
think both come with Earthlink - I use Netscape because it is
less often the target of viruses).
If you are away from your computer, you can check your mail with
their WebMail page. (You can also use YahooMail to do this, but
there are annoying flashing banner ads.) Also, if you use a PC,
you can use their GoToMyPC service which allows you to access
your home/business computer remotely. Other free services PopUp
blocker which helps block those annoying popup ads, and a decent
Check it out at http://www.earthlink.net/
I'm a loyal LMI customer (http://lmi.net/) and have been for years, they
host several of the sites I manage and I'd recommend them to anybody and
everybody. They're affordable, they have all kinds of packages that will
work for your needs, they actually answer the phone when you call them! and
best of all, they're LOCAL; they're right on MLK & Virginia in North
Berkeley. They don't sell out, they support good causes, etc. etc. etc. :)
DSL vs. Cable Modem
We are switching from a dial-up to either DSL or a cable
modem system for our computers and wonder if anybody out
there has had a particularly good experience with specific
provider. We value quality service and good customer
service too. Lowest price is not the biggest issue.
Thanks in advance
Rob + Bobbie
We've been using Earthlink for DSL service recently... Overall, I've found them to be OK...
They've gotten very big by buying up alot of smaller DSL services providers, so getting thru to a
real person if and when you have a problem is sometimes time-consuming... Although, to their
credit, I've found once I get thru, their people are friendly and fairly knowledgable.
We pay $49.00 per month... I'm sure there are cheaper services out there... I'd just caution you
to remember the old saying 'you get what you pay for'. This indistry is going thru ALOT of change
right now.. Companies are going out of business and/or being bought up almost monthly.
A good reference site for this type of information is http://www.dslreports.com/
Hope this helps
I have been with AT&T the past two years and am seriously considering
switching to DSL in the very near future. The switch over from the @home
network to AT&T's own network has been extremely frustrating to say
the least. They are limiting download speeds, there is no technical support
if you have issues with the new setup (which I do in the case of accessing
my work account), etc. etc. Bottom line, if you are not already stuck with
this service, I certainly would not recommend it. Good luck. (By the way,
I was pretty happy with it before the switch, but they have been just awful
to deal with since the switch over.)
I've heard nothing good about the switch from @home to att. It happened quite suddenly and many folks were without service for several days, and now there are multiple problems with their DNS. For a description of the problems some on-campus users have been having visit the Micronet website at:
with threads alternately named AT&T Slough of Despond and Reach Out and
I have heard that the situation is much better for Macs than it is for
We have DSL and have now been through three service providers. We are still
using Covad as the provisioner, and they have recently come out of bankruptcy.
Our current provider is SpeakEasy.Net and we like them a lot. Of course, this is an ephemeral business, apparently. Check DSLReports.com and keep an eye on the business page to see what the scoop is with various providers.
I am very happy with my ATT cable modem. Except for the problems with the
whole Excite business, I have found it to be very reliable and fast.
try and get Earthlink. they were pretty good with me and customer service.
we tried to do a router, and even though they weren't supposed to provide
customer support, they gave very helpful suggestions. they're big and
they're not going anywhere. their webmail, however is slow
their "last mile" installer was Covad, but I think that co is bankrupt.
I've been using Juno's "free" internet service about 5 hours a week, but
they now block my access in the evening and send lots of vaguely
harassing messages about paying for service. Net Zero supposedly does
free internet for up to 40 hours a month, which sounds fine to me. Does
anyone have experience with either Net Zero or any other free internet
service they might recommend?
Thanks for the advice. Melanie
I have had netzero for several years. Until recently,
I would have recommended them highly. But...they have
now started pushing their $9.95/mo "platinum" service,
and have loaded all sorts of stuff onto the page,
making it slower to open documents. Perhaps they are
trying to make it more annoying on purpose so I will
give in and pay the $9.95 instead of using the free
service. On the other hand, it is FREE, so I can put
up with a little annoyance. Give it a try! Janet
NetZero is okay as long as you don't mind the banner
ads which will take up 20% of your browser window. You
get 40 hours per month. I tried them but switched back
to AOL because other family members found their
interface easier to use.
Carrier for DSL
For those of you with DSL lines in their home, could you recommend your phone
line provider? Do any of you have strong negative or positive opinions about
Earthlink, Flashcom, SBC, Qwest Communications or Verizon/Bell Atlantic ? I
have heard that the installation process can take a long time in our area.
How much time in advance should one begin the ordering process? I have read
the comments posted on the Parents website but none of these companies were
mentioned. Thank you
I would like to recommend Mindspring-Earthlink. I got DSL from them when it
first became available in this area, now about 2 years ago. Installation was
relatively quick but Covad (the installaton subcontractor) was not as good
as Earthlink, however, Earthlink compensated for Covad's doofuses in the
Their service has been beyond fabulous. Hours of help (even when the caller
is crying and cursing computers!) by sweet and patient techies for no extra
charge. The money I pay Earthlink is well worth it. They are saints.
This website http://www.dslreports.com/ has all kinds of information,
reviews, price comparisons etc. You can put your own zip code in there and
get all kinds of info on what high speed connection is available and how
closer you are to the connection point etc.
We had DSLNetworks and had some idiosyncracies with them. Covad cut them
off recently, so we had to switch. Our new provider is SpeakEasy out of
Seattle. We are really happy with them so far (about a month). We needed a
static IP address with some special considerations (reverse DNS lookup for
Berkeley's servers, the ability to run our own domain, BIND and secondary
DNS) and they have understood what we've wanted and been able to accomodate
us. The switch was relatively seamless, we didn't have to spend any time on
the phone at all (they have an excellent web account tracking page) and our
speeds have actually been faster than DSL Networks. They cost about $80 a
month for us, but they have a package as low as
$40 without a static IP address.
In Response to the Recommendation of High Speed Internet Access. I had
terrible experience with Earthlink DSL. Not only did they not know what the
problem was that I was not connecting, I had to wait hours on the phone for
tech support. When tech support could not figure out the problem, they stop
helping me. I cancelled the service. Save yourself the trouble.
My free e-mail provider, Juno, has been trying to entangle me in the Web;
their latest offer is $2.95 a month for "premium" service. (I would have
to sign up for a year, of course.) Does anyone out there get internet
service through Juno? Any opinion of them? Melanie
For anyone who uses the internet, seriously
consider signing up for one of many free internet
providers. They truly are FREE (given a few
conditions, like local number or system
requirements). You can either do a search to find
one (free internet access) or just check out the
one I signed up with...
I chose it because I have an iMac, it has
relatively easy setup instructions and it was one
of the first ones I found through a search for
free access for Mac (it also has it for Windows
and Linux). I know there is a local number for
Berkeley (sometimes finding a company with a local
number for you is a problem with free access).
Anyway, GET ACCESS! We ALL have a right to FREE
We have used Juno exclusively and have been quite happy with them. We
only had one problem and that was with access numbers that change on and
off. Once the computer prompted us to change numbers and gave us choices
to use. We chose one that we thought was not long distance and due to the
timing wound up with 2 months phone bills for over $200. Juno said the
phone company said it wasn't long distance and the phone company said we
had to pay! I guess it was during the time when they were changing the
phone lines. So now before we change our access number we call the phone
company to double check
I use a local ISP named LMI.net. They provide internet service and do a
good job of it too. Visit their site @:
Someone posted a message about their DSL, and in their message they noted that
they also purchased a firewall because of hackers. I want to emphasize that
there are hackers out there. I have a cable modem and because we
did not have a firewall/security set up, they were able to get in.
This is in response to the long post on DSL service. I did not see the
original post for recommendations, but I gather someone is looking into DSL
service or other alternatives. I work as a technical writer out of my home
office. As such, I am not a web master or otherwise using more than two
machines at any given time, so my requirements may be different than others.
I generally download software builds and things of that nature and then get
off the network and work on my local system. Anyway, when we moved into our
new house, I checked out both DSL (through Pac Bell) and the cable modem
service which we now have and love. The reason I went with the cable modem
is simple: we are at the outer reaches for the area currently served by DSL
and the connection speeds are not that great.
I was fortunate to have a next door neighbor who also works out of his home
as a programmer and he has DSL and told me that he has experienced a lot of
problems with connection speed. The cable modem install was fairly painless
(for a dual-boot Windows 98/ NT 4.0 system) and I haven't experienced any
problems so far. However, someone told me that there are security issues
with cable modems, i.e. other people on your local network can easily hack
into your system. Is this true? Does anyone know what I can do to prevent
this from happening? I must admit, I didn't even think about that when I
signed up the service, so if anyone who is particularly savvy about this
stuff has recommendations I would really appreciate it.
First, I recently got cable modem service from ATT/@Home and was delighted
both with the installation (prompt, friendly, helpful) and the service
(download speeds up to >125K/sec.) is phenomenal.
Second, the @Home website states that there *are* security issues re hacking
as discussed in previous posts here. At a minimum you need to disable file
sharing on your modem-attached computer, or set up a firewall if you have a
network running behind it. Here's what their help page says:
"When you use the @Home network, your
computer becomes part of our network of
computers. Our installers configure your system
so you have access to @Home's computer
network, but no one else on the @Home network
can look at your computer. (This is
accomplished by disabling File and Print
However, if you change your file sharing
settings, you can make the data on your computer
available to others on the network, enabling them
to read, modify, or even delete your data. To
prevent this, ensure that file sharing is disabled.
If you need to use file sharing, ensure that it is
protected by a password."
There are also many other useful web resources on this issue, starting with
the major sites like Yahoo, Excite, etc. Try, e.g.,
ity and check out the subtopics listed there ("firewalls", "hacking" etc.)
If you run a network behind a cable modem with a proxy server like Wingate,
there are special security issues that are addressed by the proxy software.
Is DSL OK?
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has obtained residential DSL in
the East Bay. We are moving to a new rental in Kensington and I am
thinking about getting DSL. But there seem to be a zillion DSL providers
out there, in addition to ol' PacBell itself. Surfing DSL users web sites
turns up lots of horror stories -- two month waits, multiple missed
installer appointments, miscomunication between phone company and DSL
company and DSL network. So . . . anyone have praise to lavish, or
warnings to give, or hints to share, about our local provider choices?
Aspects I thought would be useful to hear about include (1) length of wait
for service, (2) smoothness of install process, (3) total out-of-pocket
cost (aka were there hidden costs?), (4) reliability and actual observed
speed of service (getting what you paid for and getting it 24/7?), (5)
competence in billing and customer care, (6) quality of the hardware provided.
I have had residential DSL for about 14 months now and while it's been
totally flawless for me,
there are lots of horror stories caused by the vendors constantly changing
I recommend you look at the usenet newsgroup ba.internet and see what
people have to say.
A lot of your experience will depend on a) your requirements and b) your
Good research will help you understand your requirements and whether a
specific vendor can satisfy
them, but unfortunately, your line speed will only be known after the line
has been installed (and
you have committed to the big bucks.) And, depending on the lines in your
neighborhood and the
popularity of DSL there, your line speed may decrease weeks after your
DSL service is usually a joint service provided by two companies. One
company physically provides
a phone line that carries digital packets from your house to the phone
company. The other company
connects to your phone line at the phone company and hooks you up to the
Internet. Our contract
provides for DSL with PacBell the Telco providing the line, and PacBell
Internet being our ISP.
I received an Alcatel 1000 modem and one static IP address. I signed up for
384/128 service. I
was told that if I wanted to run webservers from our home, that was no problem.
Regarding your specific questions: I had about a 2 week delay to get the
service installed. It
was painless and very smooth (so since then they have changed vendors of
course....). The costs were/are:
Installation Costs Waived
Alcatel Modem and line splitter Waived
Monthly DSL Line from PacBell 49.95
Monthly DSL Service from PacBell Internet $10.00
I also purchased (not from PacBell)
A four port 10BT hub with BNC $29.95
A Sonicwall firewall router $350.00
If you need a phone line, that will add $11 per month (plus installations
The waived charges would've been totalled $250. I purchased a firewall for
security because I needed a router
but I also feared that DSL lines would be subject to Internet hackers. That
has been confirmed. Regularly, my
firewall records various folks trying to hack our computer. Most people do
not get a firewall. I believe this
is out of ignorance. You can lock down your own Windows machines but I
wasn't sanguine about that effort.
Regarding speed and quality of the line and the service:
About 4 months after receiving the service, PacBell upgraded it to 384+/128
service which means our download
speed increased to 1200kbps. That was very nice.
I've had no problems with the Alcatel. Other people have. It is now rare to
get the Alcatel modem.
I've had no problems with line sync. Other people have.
I've had no problems with the speed of the line varying or being capped.
Other people have.
Regarding line speed changing over time, it comes down to the
PacBell-the-ISP warranty of 384kpbs. That is
all they need to provide you. Everything above that is gravy and subject to
PacBell the ISP now rarely gives out static IP addresses but is moving to
Dynamic IP addresses implemented
through PPPoE and PPPoA. PPPoE/A makes your DSL experience exactly like a
dialup service. It makes it easy
for the phone company to configure your system, but it removes lots of
functionality. This practically means
that for new customers, home networks, home webservers, Linux, OS/2, and
non-Windows or Macintosh support is
gone. And people with PPPoE/A are reporting that the Windows/Mac support
for that is sketchy at best.
Static IPs mean that you can easily run a webserver from home, run a web
business from home, and get attacked
by hackers from home. It's a mixed bag.
I have had few problems with PacBell's uptime, or mail and news services.
But all over California including
the Bay Area, other people report all the time that their local DSL line is
down, or mail is down, or
news is down.
My advice is that if you are going to use PacBell Internet for your ISP
that you determine your requirements
before hand, and get PacBell to agree to it and get names if not
letters/faxes/etc. confirming what you believe
you are getting.
Make sure you read and print out your contract.
Also note that at one time, people claimed that you could switch ISPs
without cost if they fail to satisfy your
needs. That may or may not be true anymore.
Determine if you need a static IP address. You can still get PacBell the
telco to provide you with a DSL line
but you can use a different ISP and they can get you a static IP if you
Again, lots of info on ba.internet.
So to summarize, we have had a great experience, but many other people have
not, and what drives everyone crazy
is that PacBell keeps on changing the product every several months, so no
one is really sure what they are going
to get in the future.
Um, after checking out your requirements, you may wish to look at TCI for a
cable modem. They were in my
neighborhood recently claiming cable modems were down to $19/month with no
We were fortunate enough to be one of the very early adopters of DSL (and ISDN
before it) through the munificence of a former employer. Our original
through Rhythmns which was excellent, after a few small problems with
Rhythmns had great service: They used to call us if they noticed we were
for any length of time (usually the result of kittens pulling the power
cable out of the
wall or out of the hub for our LAN). When my husband left the employer
DSL we attempted to continue service through them, since we were already
Unfortunately, at the time they were doing only commercial installations.
apparently changed this, and I'm considering going back to them.
We then attempted to get DSL Service through First World, since they had a
package" which gave us the multiple static IP addresses we wanted for our
six computers. They put through the service order to COVAD who do most of
for DSL in the area. COVAD e-mailed a cancellation to us about three weeks
after the installation
request was put through telling us that we were too far from First World's
switches. We found
this puzzling since we had been wired for DSL before.
We then got in touch with DSL Networks, which was able to contract with
Covad to do the
installation in about three weeks. They've been fine, but their package
for the number
of IP Addresses we wanted was outrageous (since they consider six computers
to be a small
business installation not a home installation). We've resolved this by
using WinGate software
and a SAMBA server on our Unix box. Since we do some web page developement
we paid for
the more expensive upstream connection, but for folks who are simply doing
web surfing, it's
probably not worth the expense.
I am posting this only today, because yesterday and the day before I
couldn't send any e-mail. You should read my story to understand why.
I have decided to use PACBELL for my DSL provider. I have called them, and
gave them my address in Kensington. It took them nine days to give me an
answer whether my phone line qualifies for DSL. After receiving the answer,
have ordered the service. They scedulded me an all day appointment, 8:00AM
to 5:00PM, two weeks ahead. The day has arrived, and I sat at home, waiting.
On 3:00 PM the PACBELL technician called and said he is late, but he could
come on 5:30PM. I agreed to wait. On 7PM he called me to say he arrives in
half an hour, and on 7:30 PM he called me to say that it is too late and he
can't come. He said that he can't schedule me a new appointment, and a
scheduler would call me. The day after, in the afternoon, I called PACBELL,
and this time they scheduled me an AM, appointment, ten days more to wait.
The PACBELL technician arrived on time. Our phone line is in the storage
room. The PACBELL technician asked me to take everything out of the storage
room, and just stood there watching without giving me a hand while I was
carrying havey stuff outside.
There are two systems running on my computer, WINDOWS 98 and LINUX. On the
phone I have told the DSL center that I wanted to use the Internet from
both, but the PACBELL technician said she doesn't do LINUX.
While she was working on the computer, I had a phone call. While I was
talking over the phone, she came to tell me she is done.
I wanted to use the e-mail. I have tried to send e-mail from OUTLOOK EXPRESS
and from NETSCAPE messenger, but failed.
I figured out that the mail has not been configured on my system, and I
still need to do setup. I have called PACBELL to ask them what was my
user-id, but it was after 5:00PM, so there was no one to speak with.
When I called the next day, I have waited 25 minutes to speak with a tech
support representative. He gave me the e-mail address, and told me there
were instructions in the web site of how to configure the mail. I have tried
those instructions, but they didn't work for the outlook express, only for
the NETSCAPE. Since I always use the OUTLOOK, my entire address book is
there and I didn't want to change my mail software. I have called PACBELL
(more 25 minuets), to find out that they don't give technical support on
OUTLOOK, only on NETSCAPE. And what about LINUX? No, they don't give
technical support on LINUX, either.
I am an experienced software engineer, and I found out myself how to
configure the mail in OUTLOOK. The instructions on the PACBELL site were
completely wrong. And now, that I can use my mail again, I could hardly wait
to answer to the posting for DSL recommendation.
Avoid PacBell DSL if at all possible. I had a similar experience to
Yoram and Tikva Bonneh. It took two months from my initial phone call
before I succeeded in getting an installer to come to my door on the
appointed *day*. My installer was at least polite, but the PacBell
infrastructure behind him was abominable. Departments don't talk to
each other, any time you call you can expect to spend 45 minutes on
hold. I've learned from other people that they're changing the terms of
their contracts in midstream and denying people static IP addresses.
Regarding security, I'm running a Linux server as a NAT firewall, so my
other machines aren't visible to the world. There's some good data on
the Net about Windows machines on the Internet 24/7, a casual search
turns up this:
it seems to me the biggest point in the other stuff I've read was that
any shared folders should be password protected.
To the person who said "I have a cable modem and because we did not have
a firewall/security set up, they were able to get in," I would be very
interested in hearing what the hacking was comprised of.
I had to write concerning DSL service. I am currently using DSL through
pacbell. I, also, had a very difficult initiation into the DSL system.
They called and gave me a 8am-5pm window and I arranged for all of my
children to be taken to school, activities, etc. while I waited around
the whole day. By 7:00 they told me it was too late and that they would
have to come another day. I was seeing RED. The guy finally came the
following week to set it up and I did log a complaint--no reply.
Anyway, I am very happy with the line but I am very close to the central
area and they said that my service will be even faster than they
normally guarantee because of where I live. I am not going to change
because despite the initial glitches with set-up, I have been happy with
my service (now that it is in.)
I have PacBell DSL which I've had since Apr. After the initial hiccups with
getting the installation to work, have been very happy with the service.
The setup was about $200 for the installation and hardware, and monthly is
$50 which includes the ISP. E-trade was running a promotion if you opened
an account with them and signed up for Pac-Bell DSL that got you three
months free. Don't know if that's still available.
I'm at the far end of the range up in the hills, but am generally happy
with bandwidth. I do notice some times when the connection is slower then
normal, but still much better then dialing in. Security issues with the
static IP address mentioned in another message are true, so I just
disconnect my computers when not using them.
I telecommute and do a lot of work on my company network and have really
noticed a huge increase in my productivity because of this. Well worth the
initial frustration and $$.
I have a private internet account, but I get cut off all
the time (on average every 5 minutes) and the situation seems to be
getting worse. Can anyone recommend a reliable commerical internet service
We are finally purchasing a decent computer for home, & I hope to do a bit
of my work at home fairly regularly after I return from maternity leave.
I've been told that trying to get through to campus via modem is well nigh
impossible, & that I really should get an outside internet service
provider. I know that the question of good service providers was asked
recently, but one person liked the SHIPS service, & I've been told
elsewhere to forget it. Who's more right? Also, are there any major
internet service providers we should steer clear of? Thanks!
I used slip.net for my internet access (www.slip.net) for 3 years and had
problems. They are located in San Francisco and have been around for a
while now so
they are pretty dependable. I had luck with their tech support (both Mac
and PC) and
had few problems getting into their servers. They have quite a few phone
around the bay to dial in which is convienient when something does go
wrong with one
of their servers. Just make sure you use one that isn't isn't a toll call
However we recently decided to go with a cable modem (TCI's @home) which
wonderful!!! They are a bit more expensive but way, way faster. They
claim to be 100
times faster than a 56K modem with a traditional phone line. The cost is
about $40 a
month which also includes 3 email accounts. It doesn't work out to be too
if you figure $15/month for an extra phone line (of course some people
just use one
phone line and let it be busy while they surf) and $20/month for your ISP.
installation can be expensive ($150) but I have seen coupons in the
other places around town for up to $100 off. Right now they are having a
AOL users. Another bonus is that they send someone out to your house to
modem line and the software so it is up and running to go with little or
no effort on
your part. But beware of this also. Make sure you save a copy of your
and bookmarks if you currently use Netscape to a floppy or as a last
resort to your
hard-drive before the installation. Somehow they managed to delete mine.
have a phone number for them but here is an email address that might be
able to help:
Note: @home is not available in all areas (Oakland has to upgrade it's
plant before it's available)
I'm the one who recommended the SHIPS service. For campus employees, it
be a great deal, and save you some hassle trying to access things that
an on-campus address to obtain (things licensed for here, like
Encyclopedia Brittanica, Medline etc). I've recommended that the folks I
with use it ( rather than the general dial in modems) since it is faster
modems now) and rarely has busy signals. I have not heard of reliabilty
When we lived in Oakland, we used to use Best for internet access, but it
would always disconnect on us. Then we switched to DNAI and liked it.
Now that we live in Castro Valley, we just got a cable modem installed and
really like it. It's much faster and it's great not having to always
dial-up; the cable modem is always "on". By the way, one person who
said cable modems aren't too much more expensive than having a 2nd phone
line and an ISP-- true. Also, TCI was (is?) having a special on cable
modem installation. Our installation was free. It's a new recent
promotion, at least in Castro Valley.
does anyone out there in
parentland have digital internet access? If so, what do you think of it?
Is it really faster? Is it worth the monthly price? Was it expensive to
install? Thanks for your advice.
There are actually two different technologies. Asynchronous digital
subscriber lines (ADSL) and synchronous digital subscriber lines (SDSL).
The phone company (PacBell) offers ADSL, which gives you 128k upstream
and 384k downstream (asynchronous speeds). I find that's perfect for me
because mostly I browse the Internet (that's downloading) and exchange
e-mail. PacBell's rate is $39 a month ($49 if you want them as your ISP).
The difference in speed from a 28.8 modem is amazing.
SDSL is better if you're moving very large files (like graphics)
around--especially if you send them to people (uploading). You can get
VERY fast speeds; the same both up and down (synchronous), which you may
or may not need. That's what is offered by all the other companies. The
difference is the price is a lot more.
The other option is cable; another technology. I personally prefer DSL.
We got DSL a few months ago, changing from ISDN through the INDEX project
at UC Berkeley. DSL is great. For us, cable modem was not an option
because we wanted to run our own web server. We also needed 4 internet
addresses. We have had a very good experience with DSL so far, and I was
pleasantly surprised when I needed to get an answer to a technical
question and was on the phone with a knowledgeable human at PacBell
within 5 minutes. I compare this to my friend's experience with
TCI Cable modem - it only took them a day to come install it, but it turned
out to be incompatible with her too-recent copy of Netscape, so it
crashed her Windows and her computer was rendered unusable.
Bad, because she uses her computer to work from home a lot. The
installation technician had no idea how to fix the problem. After
four days of phoning, waiting on hold for 45 minutes each time to be
referred to yet another clueless person, finally she was able to
reinstall her operating system and get someone out to get her cable modem service working.
Once it was fixed, it was great. However, I think you have to
be willing to deal with the cable company if you go with cable modem
and personally I'd rather deal with the phone company when things
UC Berkeley has
a web page with info about various ISPs and more general info about
choosing a provider:
Anyone looking for a realiable internet service provider, I highly recommend
Mindspring. They are reliable (I have never been dropped) and nearly always
connect at the maximum speed allowed by the modem. They are very easy to
set up and have great customer service.
We used Idiom for several years with no hassles. We ended up switching a few
months ago so that we could get DSL service. They are located in Berkeley
(on College Ave); they're small but very reliable. I think it's $20/mo. You
can reach them through the web at www.idiom.com or by phone at (510)
595-4321 or (888) 663-8878.
If you are faculty, staff or student at UC/Berkeley, you should look at the
SHIPS service. It's $10 a month and has 56K modems on the other end. It's a
good deal and quite reliable. You can find information about it at:
I use jps.net. It's incredibly inexpensive. Their real
business is providing web sites and other services to businesses, but
individuals can get an account there for what works out to about $10 a month
for unlimited use. The only catch is that you have to pay a small one-time
fee and pay for the year in advance. I've had good luck with them, and
they're tech support has been very helpful. THey're at www.jps.net; phone
800-711-5353 - Linda (6/99)
Free Email Account
This question has probably been addressed before but I can't seem to find
anything. I understand there are free email service providers such as
Hotmail and Yahoo. Are there other providers where there is no charge?
Any recommendations as to which one works best? Email usage would be
A great service is www.onebox.com For free, you get a web-based email address
and your very own *local* phone number (if you live in one of their
and I know Oakland is one) which gives you a *free* fax receipt service and
Because it's web-based, you can read your messages on any internet-capable
Also, anyone can send you a fax which shows up as an email message which
view, and if you want, print out. You also can listen to your voice mail
messages over the
phone or on your computer (if you have speakers).The number they give you
for free has
a personal extension number, but you have the option of paying $2.95/mo to
get your own
personal phone number with no extension (which I have done).
Your significant other and kids can have their own email address, fax and
voice mail, all for free.
I used to have hotmail, but found it down or often inaccessible. Onebox.com
is much, much better
with more services.
I have been using Juno (support at juno4sure.com), which is free in exchange
for putting up with ads in the upper right-hand portion of the screen.
Works pretty well and you may ask for more than one free account per
Regarding "free e-mail service" I know of www.chickmail.com which provides
free e-mail. However, if you are using this for professional e-mails, it may
sound a little strange sending it to "chickmail". On the other hand, once
you have an e-mail address, General Magic provides a great service. The site
is www.mytalk.com This site provides free voice mail services (for
e-mail). If someone leaves you an e-mail, you can dial a toll free number to
retrieve the e-mail. The system will read your e-mail allow and you to
respond to the e-mail, via the telephone. It is a great tool for those on the
go who need to keep in touch with their e-mail and it is free.
From my experience, Hotmail is the best of the free e-mail accounts--very
and a well designed interface within the e-mail browser. If you have a
problem with Microsoft,
Hotbot is another free account with little advertising. Juno offers a free
e-mail account that includes
free dial-up (you don't need an ISP) but had tons of advertising.
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