It seems to me that after at least five years, there might be an ISP out there that can offer a decent value. Since I refuse to pay $20/month for dial-up 33.6k access, I try to find the best deal possible, even if it means jumping from one ISP to another. In general, my experience with local ISPs has been good — about $8/month for mostly reliable connections, but the one I had been using before I moved had to go because it was no longer a local call from my new location (plus their rates were going out because they were bought out).
I determined there were no local ISPs offering service for less than $15. I realize that this isn’t necessarily a bad price, but I don’t really use the Net all that much at home since I’m on it at work all day long. And I know (from my first hand experience working at an ISP one summer) that it’s just damn hard to make money as an ISP. So I started to look at (*gasp*) national providers. I started off with Earthlink because they were running a 3-for-1 deal, giving me three months of access for about $6.50 a month. Unfortunately, I missed the cancellation date by a few days (because I had no intention of staying with them beyond the three months) and they hit me with a $20 charge for the fourth month telling me that there were no prorated refunds (utter crap). I’m still fighting that, but since then I signed up with another national ISP and ended up cancelling within 4 days because their connections were just awful.
Fortunately, I seem to have found a semi-decent one that has reliable connections and costs $10/month if you prepay for a year. No banner ads, no proprietary front-end, just straight ahead Net access. I hope it works out because there seem to be fewer and fewer decent choices as I wait for broadband prices to drop. -ram
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