Sunday, May 13, 2012

Knology raises its rates, and its upload speeds

Recently Knology (soon to become Wow!) made some minor changes to its broadband internet offerings. The most obvious change is that the prices of ever tier of services went up by $3.00, but in return for the price increases, every tier now enjoys much faster upload speeds. These improved speeds bring Knology in line with common DOCSIS3 cable internet speeds from other providers, and represent the results of some major behind-the-scenes infrastructure upgrades over the past 6 months (that's part of the reason there have been so many outages on Knology as of late).

Knology's Sunflower-era web page hasn't been updated with the new plan information, but in return for that extra three bucks a month, here's what you'll receive:

Bronze: Knology's low-end service retains its DSL-like 3 megabit download speed, but gets a nice boost in upload speed to 1 megabit (up for 256 kilobits). The bandwidth cap for the Bronze service gets a slight bump for 3 gigs a month to 5 GB, which is still ridiculously low. At $22.95 a month (assuming you already have cable TV), Bronze is still a very poor deal, as even a single system update or movie download would blow through the puny bandwidth cap and have you paying overage charges.

Silver: Knology's mid-range service gets a solid speed boost, going from 10 to 18 megabits in download speed and 1 to 2 megabits in upload. The bandwidth cap remains 50 GB, for a monthly price of $37.95 (if you have cable). The bandwidth cap is still too stingy, but the speeds are very solid for a mid-range option. For most people, Silver is the definite sweet spot and probably the best value as long as you stay under the cap.

Gold: Knology's premium service for serious internet users retains its old 50 megabit download speeds, but gets a major upgrade from 1 to 5 megabits for upload, finally making Knology useful for common tasks like online backups and video uploading. The 5 megabit speeds might even be understating things, as anecdotally, some Knology Gold users have seen speeds in the 6 or 7 megabit range at least in shorts bursts uploading. At $62.95 (with cable), Gold is pricey, and sadly, Knology has not upped the barely adequate 250 GB monthly bandwidth cap. For a premium service, it would be nice if Knology offered the 500 GB caps that many other providers offer for their highest-end service.

Palladium: Knology's cap-less Palladium server, now $47.95 a month (with cable), still offers download speeds of between 2 and 25 megabits, and upload speeds up to 1 megabit, unchanged from before (other then the higher price). Palladium may be a good value for those who move a lot of data but do not care about speed - perhaps folks with nailed-up VPN connections, or large continuous online backups.

The improved upload speeds are a good value for only $3.00 more a month, and it is nice to see Knology offering speeds that are at least mainstream, but here's hoping WoW continues to improve things - DOCSIS3 is capable of much faster speeds, and many providers off 10 megabit upload and much higher caps. Still, Knology has definitely thrown a gauntlet towards U-Verse, who offers 24/3 on their fastest data tier at roughly the same price (albeit without currently enforcing any bandwidth caps).


  1. Thank you so much for what you are doing with this blog! The people of Lawrence deserve to have a fair assessment of their broadband services. Great stuff.

  2. The information provided here is good, but I'm surprised you have nothing recent about Lawrence Freenet to offer a nice comparison of services here in town. I'm new to Lawrence, just moved in October. I have been looking for a good comparison of services here for internet and cable. I am originally from Manhattan just 80 miles west, but in October I actually moved here from Cambridge, UK of all places. In Manhattan, I originally had Cox while I lived in an apartment going to school, and I switched to Uverse when I moved into a house. Both services, at the time, were similarly priced, but were uncapped. Uverse there is now supposedly capped, but I have yet to here from any friends there that complain about it, and, considering some of their usage, I take this to mean the caps are not strongly enforced. You're probably best off for not having Cox here, they would just be a twin sibling version of Knology, probably. I'm also kind of surprised that the university didn't exercise more sway here and influence google to come a little further west (at this point most atlases consider Lawrence part of the KC metro, right?). Anyway, I signed up for Freenet here initially because I was looking for something quick and cheap to start with since I was unsure who I should try for the long haul. And, since I have had no problems with them, I've kept with it. Their billing is kind of weird. They say you will pay $29.98/month for their basic service. In truth, they seem to have no basic service, the tiers go from regular service ($39/month)-fiber cable (somewhere in excess of $80/month). I do the $39/month, and for the last 4 months have clocked an average of +/- 8 mbs/sec downstream with an expansive range between 1 mbs and 54 mbs depending on traffic volume. Sometimes it can be a little annoying, but I haven't had too many issues with it. Upload speeds are slow as hell, maybe 1 mbs/sec on a good day, which leaves me wanting a little more. The great thing is, if you can deal with the download and upload speed fluctuation (which, I'd say, really isn't too terrible most of the time), the service is uncapped, which is a huge perk for here in town (or so I've read here). I'm not a huge downloader or uploader, but I'm probably above average. I like to use my laptop for netflix, amazon streaming, crunchroll, and some other occasional streaming services. I also do the occasional torrenting, as that's really huge in the UK and it's about the only way to get new music from the UK (which, I have unfortunately become a fan of a few bands there :) ). Freenet handles all of these pretty well, and I haven't had many situations where bandwidth speeds limited the usage of these services, which is nice. Honesty, Freenet's not perfect by any means, and if I could go to an isp like Fi0s or WOW (without the Lawrence/Knology influence), I definitely would. But, I just don't see any that are available that are worth switching to; I can't even get Uverse at my apartment. So, I stick with Freenet, which isn't quite as depressing as it sounds, but I can always hope for better later on. Manhattan has a similar "City aided pricing monopoly" on their gas prices (if you ever visit fill up your car here or in Topeka before you get to Manhattan or you'll pay around .20/gallon more), so no town is immune to those sorts of things. Now, I just need to find a good comparison of cable tv services. I'd like something better than the over-the-air basic free service I get, but also something I won't be shelling tons of money at each month because I'm not a huge tv watcher. I'd just like to be able to catch all televised ksu and ku games, if I can.