I sat down the other day to call Qwest and Comcast to find out what my options are for internet access. I was expecting to find that DSL would be a little cheaper, but that cable would be able to be installed more quickly. My primary concern at the moment is cost, but installation speed is a close second. I was surprised to find no real advantage to either one.
I called Comcast, and the girl on the phone was extremely helpful (which has been true of most of the people I’ve spoken with at Comcast). She answered all my questions and gave me any bit of information I might need, as well as letting me know about some options I didn’t know were available which saved me some money.
She knew I was about to call Qwest to compare pricing and she said “I’m pretty sure you’ll find it’s a little cheaper for DSL, but I really think you’ll be happier with us…” and then she sweetened the deal by giving me the installation kit for free and knocking $10/month off my bill for the first three months. I asked about this, and it turns out Comcast gives their operators some leeway to give some free stuff to customers to motivate them to stick with their services if they’re thinking about leaving.
It boiled down to about $45 per month with Comcast. That’s $10 cheaper than normal because I’m going to have normal cable services as well. The installation fee was only about $10, the modem/install kit was free, and she knocked $10 per month off my bill, so for the first three months I’ll only be paying about $35, and back to $45 after that. Also, they could get someone out to install the cable on the day we move in, so that’s nice.
Then I called Qwest (actually, I called the company that would be my ISP, DSL Northwest, who I’ve used before, and are pretty good). Maybe I just got a guy who doesn’t normally run the phones, but it was like pulling teeth to get any information out of this guy. He told me that it’s $51 per month for stand-alone DSL services (nice that I don’t have to get a phone line anymore), with a $20 installation fee. He was unclear on whether or not Qwest would also charge me an installation fee. Finally, he said that they could have DSL installed in 5 days, which is a dramatic change from the 2-3 weeks Qwest took last time I got hooked up (which was, admittedly, four years ago). He seemed to be in a hurry to get me off the phone, so I did, but I felt like it was a toss-up.
Both Comcast and Qwest are within $5 of each other, and both could get my services hooked up by our move-in date. Neither one had an outrageous installation fee, and neither one required a phone line. In the end, I chose Comcast simply because I’ve generally had good service with them (the phone calls are a good example, but we also had Comcast internet in Washington), and I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with Qwest. I know it’s a silly thing to base this choice on, but with no clear advantage to one over the other, why not base it on the fact that Comcast actively wants me as a customer, and was making offers to get me, while Qwest didn’t even want to answer my questions?