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Dealing with Broadband in Seattle and paying $30 to avoid data charges. Argh!

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Well we are unlucky enough to live in a part of Seattle where Comcast has a monopoly. Literally across the street, CenturyLink has gigabit fiber and about a mile away, Wave and Centurylink are duking it out.

So there are three problems with getting a great price:

  1. Comcast always bundles things and they definitely do not want you to just do Internet only because of the incredible high cost of video (plus they add a $15/month charge for any video you use not to mention the rental for a modem).
  2. They do not tell you whether there are cheaper plans available, so the best strategy is to buy the one year plan and then set a tickler and reanalyze.
  3. They have a 1.2TB cap on data which is not that much as we all work from home and multiple people are streaming videos and they charge a crazy $10/50GB of additional data. To a cap of $100 overage they forgave this through July but the latest August bill boosted us to $100 more! Yes you get text messages but now they are serious.

The solution to this problem is much easier because at least their site exposes the plans and you don’t have to wait for hours to get someone on the line. For our last change, we had to do it four time before the change even took. But if you are a heavy user, here are some things to do (at least until CenturyLink or Wave arrive):

  1. Get the $30/month unlimited plan. I don’t know how long this well last, but make sure to get the text messages for when you get close to your cap. In April and June they forgave the charges, but no longer it seems. This amazingly takes effect immediately, so if seee yourself creeping up ,buyt it asap.
  2. Get a Docsis 3.1 Modem like the Arris SB8200. The coming trend is to get to 1GB and then eventually 10GB over cable. You are still sharing the bandwidth, but that will really help. Docsis 3.0 modems are limited to 16×4 streams or 686Mbps downstream, but the new Arris has a1Gbps for single or 2Gbps with a bonded channel. It actually requires a switch that knows how to bond channels as this exceeds gigabit ethernet speeds. (That’s for another post, but not a bad time to look at 2.5Gbp/5Gps and even 10Gps in the home). Yes it’s more expensive at $149 than the Docsis 3.0 that are usually $80, but it is very future proof.
  3. Xfi Router Bundle with unlimited at $25/month. As an aside, they actually have a great deal on their own Xfi router, they bundle the $30/month into a $25/month modem price. The main reason I didn’t do this is that having some Xfinity equipment in the house just seems like a bad idea. They have a similar deal with Flex which gives you commercial laden Peacock for free. More Comcast boxes. No thanks!
  4. Save an additional $10/month by signing up for an annual plan. It’s really nice there are no taxes.

Ok so here is the punchline, the reason to do all this is to get a great deal on pricing from the one year plan point of view and these amount are total net, so there is no other charges (unlike the video bills and phone). The names btw are super silly, but here goes at least for Seattle, you can see that adding just $10 basically doubles your performance from $60 on up. That is a pretty awesome deal. So for $120 plus tax, you get unlimited 1Gbps downloads.

And as a real aside, on our current 300Mbps plan, because of our neighborhood and lack of congestion, we are actually seeing 270-290Mbps real download speeds. But adding $20/month more gets you to 1GBps.

NameDown1-year
Performance Starter+25Mbps$40/mo
Performance Select100Mbps$45/mon
Performance Pro+200Mbps$60/mo
Blast! Pro+300Mbps$70/mo
Extreme Pro+600Mbps$80/mo
Gigabit1000Mbps$90/mo
Comcast has a huge bias for overbuying on speed now

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