Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Broadband Battle

Coaxial, DSL, fiber optics, kbps, Mbps... There are tons of terms and numbers thrown at you when you start shopping for broadband internet service. The question generally comes down to whether you want your internet from your cable company or your phone company. Comcast and Verizon are the two giant broadband internet service providers in the country, and they both want your business- badly. So with all these terms and numbers, should you really just flip a coin to decide? Lets take a look at the major factors to consider when choosing your broadband ISP.
Since we're talking about high speed internet service, we should probably start with, you guessed it, speed! Verizon's main internet service is DSL. DSL uses your home's existing telephone lines to deliver internet service at speeds significantly higher than dial up. Because the signal is coming over traditional copper lines, there is a limit to the speed you can achieve. For many people, DSL speeds are fine. As the internet becomes more multimedia driven, however, many may find that DSL doesn't cut it. A big step up from there is Comcast's high speed cable internet. This service comes in through the same coaxial cable you use for cable tv. This line has much higher information capacity than copper phone wire, so your speeds are at least twice as fast as DSL, often several times faster. Faster still is the new FiOS service from Verizon. FiOS is short for fiber optic service, and uses special fiber optic lines available in certain areas. Fiber optics allow for higher speeds than traditional cable internet, however Comcast's PowerBoost feature allows for bursts of speed comparable to FiOS when downloading large files.
Our next consideration is price. Both Comcast and Verizon offer multiple tiers of service at incrementally higher prices. Prices vary slightly from city to city, but for the most part it seems that the two companies are keeping their pricing as competitive as they can. You'll find a couple bucks difference between cable and FiOS depending on where you live. Both have combined service deals that offer internet, tv and phone service (yes, Verizon FiOS delivers TV service in some ares) all on one bill for about $100 per month.
Our last topic is currently a major deciding factor for most- availability. Comcast provides service in tons of cities across the country. If you have Comcast cable tv service, you're already wired for Comcast high speed internet. FiOS, on the other hand is only available in a handful of areas at the moment. Verizon is gradually installing the fiber optic lines needed for the service one neighborhood at a time, and have currently only served a small portion of their national footprint. In short, there aren't many people that can actually get FiOS just yet. Verizon is expanding service all the time, but they have a long way to go.
So there you have it. Verizon has slightly higher speeds at prices comparable to Comcast, but Comcast is available in more locations. If you're upgrading from DSL, FiOS is probably a good choice if it's available in your area. If you're already a Comcast customer, I doubt you'd notice much difference after going through the hassle of switching, the difference in speed just isn't that significant.
Chris Wight is a search engine marketing professional who spends way too much time online. You can learn more about Comcast at http://www.ComcastPackage.com and FiOS at http://www.HighSpeedReview.com

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