Friday, September 25, 2009

The Verdict: Internet

We decided to go with U-Verse for our Internet service, canceling our Sunflower Broadband internet, which we had used for over 13 years. U-Verse' top line internet costs $15 more per month then Sunflower's; we decided that the advantages of U-Verse for internet were enough to make this extra $15 per month a reasonable value.

My main concern with U-Verse's service was its reliability. While, as they always say "past performance is no guarantee of future results," in four weeks of testing, our U-Verse internet has not gone down once, even for a single minute. Even during intensive ping testing, U-Verse never has lost more then a few packets during any 24-hour period. Furthermore, the speed of U-Verse has been remarkably consistent, always ranging between 16 and 17 mbit down and about 1.4 mbit up, no matter the time of day.

While Sunflower's internet service is very fast at certain times of day, it frequently slows down during evenings or other times of heavy network use, sometimes to less then half of the speed we were paying for. Furthermore, the internet services would occasionally go down, sometimes for a few minutes, other times for longer. During the last 6 months, our Sunflower uptime was 99.14%, and U-Verse's (over the past 4 weeks) was 99.99%.

The other primary reason we went with U-Verse was because U-Verse does not have bandwidth overage fees or any kind of bandwidth limits. Although we have been careful with Sunflower and managed to avoid any bandwidth overage charges, having "the meter running" all the time was annoying, and we worried that we could always be surprised with an unexpected charge. With U-Verse we do not have this worry. One could almost think of the $15 extra for U-verse as an insurance buys peace of mind not having to worry about bandwidth overages.

The Internet victor: AT&T U-Verse

Addendum....Advice for the losing team on what they can do to win a customer back...

So, for now we are with U-Verse for our Internet. What could Sunflower do to win us back as Internet customers? The main things would be to raise their internet bandwidth caps to a level where they would not be a worry (but would still deter immense hogs). Comcast has set a cap of 250 GB, way above Sunflower's current 70 GB limit. Sunflower could follow Comcast's lead here. They can also improve the speed and reliability of their network. A new cable internet standard called DOCSIS 3 may provide much greater speeds and more reliability. When Sunflower rolls this out (rumors have it coming later this fall), they might win some customers back, us included.

1 comment:

  1. I guess I'm just an "immense hog", but I'll happily pay for no download limits. I switched to ATT years ago and never looked back.