Home » WOW! » Recent Articles:

Verizon FiOS Wins PC Magazine’s ISP Award: “FiOS Is the Absolute Fastest Nationwide Broadband”

fastest isp 2013Verizon FiOS is the fastest nationwide broadband service available.

That was PC Magazine’s assessment in its ranking of the fastest Internet Service Providers of 2013. It’s not the first time Verizon FiOS has taken top honors. In fact, the fiber to the home broadband service has consistently won excellent rankings not only for its speed, but also for its value for money and quality of service. The worst thing about FiOS is that many Verizon customers cannot buy the service because its expansion was curtailed in early 2010.

Verizon FiOS has seen its national speed rankings increase this year. In 2012, the provider’s nationwide download speeds averaged 29.4Mbps; this year FiOS average downstream speeds jumped to 34.5Mbps. Upstream speeds are also up from 26.8Mbps to 31.6Mbps. In part, this is because a growing number of customers have moved away from Verizon’s entry-level 15/5Mbps package with a $10 upgrade to Quantum FiOS 50/25Mbps service. FiOS TV customers can upgrade themselves with their remote control.

Frontier Communications made the top five in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to FiOS infrastructure the company inherited from Verizon.

Other high-ranking ISPs included Midcontinent Communications, a small cable provider serving the north-central states. Midco’s DOCSIS 3 upgrade allows the company to offer most customers up to 100Mbps service. The average download speed for Midco customers is 33.1Mbps; average upload speed is 6.4Mpbs.

Where cable operators face head-on competition from Verizon FiOS, the usual competitive response is speed increases. Cablevision is a good example. It came in fourth place nationally with average speeds of 25.9/5.9Mbps. Comcast has also been boosting speeds, especially in the northeast where it faces the most competition from fiber. It came in third place with average speeds of 27.2/6.8Mbps and offers Internet speeds up to 505Mbps in some areas.

There were companies that performed so poorly, they barely made the regional rankings. The most glaring example largely absent from PC Magazine’s awards: Time Warner Cable, which has lagged behind most cable operators in the speed department. It scored poorly for the second largest cable company in the country, beaten by Charter, Mediacom, and CableONE — which all usually perform abysmally in customer ratings. The only regional contest where Time Warner made a showing at all was in the southeast, where it lost to Verizon FiOS, Comcast, and Charter. Only TDS, an independent phone company, scored worse among the top five down south.

Even more embarrassing results turned up for AT&T U-verse, which performed so bad it did not even make the national rankings. AT&T has promised speed upgrades for customers this year, and has implemented them in several cities. Unfortunately for AT&T, its decision to deploy a fiber to the neighborhood system that still depends on copper to the home is turning out to be penny wise-pound foolish, as it continues to fall further behind its cable and fiber competitors. At the rate its competitors are boosting speeds, U-verse broadband could become as relevant as today’s telephone company ADSL service within the next five years.

Other players scoring low include WOW!, a surprising result since Consumer Reports awarded them top honors for service this year. Also stuck in the mud: Atlantic Broadband (acquired by Canada’s Cogeco Cable, which itself is no award winner), Suddenlink, Wave Broadband and Metrocast, which serves smaller communities in New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama.

The magazine also ranked the fastest U.S. cities, with top honors going to the politically important Washington, D.C., and its nearby suburb Silver Spring, Md, which took first and second place. Alexandria, Va., another D.C. suburb, turned up in eighth place. No cable or phone company wants to be caught delivering poor service to the politicians that can make life difficult for them.

Brooklyn, N.Y., took third place because of head-on competition between Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. Time Warner’s dominance in Manhattan and other boroughs dragged New York City’s speed rankings down below the top ten. Among most of the remaining top ten cities, the most common reason those cities made the list was Verizon FiOS. Florida’s Gulf Coast communities of Bradenton (4th place) and Tampa (6th place) have fiber service. So does Plano, Tex. (5th place) and Long Beach, Calif. (7th place). The other contenders: Hollywood, Fla. takes ninth place and Chandler, Ariz. rounds out the top 10.

Lawrence, Kansas Finally Has Cap-Free Broadband (No Thanks to Sunflower/Knology)

Phillip Dampier August 12, 2013 Broadband "Shortage", Broadband Speed, Competition, Data Caps, WOW! Comments Off on Lawrence, Kansas Finally Has Cap-Free Broadband (No Thanks to Sunflower/Knology)


Broadband customers in Lawrence, Kan. have been liberated from Internet Overcharging schemes after years of usage-capped Internet access from Sunflower Broadband and Knology.

WideOpenWest’s (better known as WOW!) acquisition of Knology, which in turn purchased Sunflower Broadband from the local newspaper, means usage limits are a thing of the past.

Consumer Reports has top-rated WOW! for customer friendly service, and banishing usage caps is an example of why the cable company earns such high marks.

The company reminds customers that “all WOW! Internet speeds have no usage caps.”

Sunflower Broadband originally offered four different broadband plans, only one without usage caps. Lawrence customers did get speed upgrades faster than many other cable broadband customers, but most were accompanied with draconian usage limits.



Bronze: Originally offering 3Mbps/256kbps service, Sunflower’s “lite” usage plan included a 3GB monthly usage limit boosted by Knology in 2012 to $22.95/month offering 3/1Mbps service and a still ridiculously low 5GB usage limit. WOW! has kept the lite plan but removed the usage cap.

Silver: Sunflower’s equivalent of Standard Internet service offered 10/1Mbps broadband with a 50GB usage cap. Knology raised the price to $37.95, left the 50GB cap intact and increased speeds to 18/2Mbps. WOW! dropped the cap.

Gold: Sunflower’s premium 50/1Mbps service offered 250GB of usage for under $60 a month. When Knology took over, speeds were boosted to 50/5Mbps along with the price: $62.95 a month. But the usage cap stayed the same. Today WOW! continues the plan without any caps.


Much Better

Palladium: Sunflower responded to customer complaints about metering Internet usage by offering residents a trade — an unlimited use plan with no speed promises. Palladium could be as slow as 2Mbps during peak usage, 25Mbps when traffic was very low. Knology kept the plan and its 1Mbps upload rate, but raised the price to $47.95 a month. WOW! dumped Palladium altogether, replacing it with a 30/2Mbps unlimited use plan for customers who don’t want to pay $63 a month for the Gold plan.

A number of Lawrence customers annoyed with Sunflower and Knology switched to AT&T U-verse when it was introduced locally. Although U-verse has a 250GB usage cap, Lawrence residents report it remains unenforced.

Stop the Cap! reader Mike, who shared the news WOW! had recently shelved the caps, tells us he switched to AT&T years ago and is happy with their service.

“So far, their cap is not enforced at all here,” Mike writes. “The minute they start enforcing it, I’ll switch to WOW!”

WOW! Prices Up $8/Month As Operator Adds Broadcast TV ‘Surcharge’

Phillip Dampier January 31, 2013 Competition, Consumer News, WOW! Comments Off on WOW! Prices Up $8/Month As Operator Adds Broadcast TV ‘Surcharge’
Experiencing a higher bill.

Experiencing a higher bill.

WOW!, formerly WideOpenWest, is informing many of its customers it is raising rates $8-9 a month — $5 for bundled customers and a new $3-4 a month “Broadcast TV Surcharge” the company claims covers the increasing amount of fees charged by local broadcasters in return for permission to carry their signals on the cable system. The amount of the surcharge varies depending on costs in a particular market.

The excuse for the increase: increased programming costs.

WOW! equipment fees have also increased. The HD-DVR box that used to cost $9.99 will now be priced at $13 a month. A standard HD set top box is only increasing a penny — $4.99 to $5.

Customers complain WOW!’s prices are now approaching parity with competitors including Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-verse. Both competing providers have increased promotional mailings in areas where WOW! is increasing prices.

3 Owners in 3 Years And Lawrence, Kansas Still Stuck With Harshly-Capped Cable Broadband

Phillip Dampier December 4, 2012 Broadband Speed, Consumer News, Data Caps, WOW! 2 Comments

Top-rated WOW! only delivers service in a handful of cities in the midwest, but is getting larger after acquiring Knology.

Lawrence, Kansas can’t catch a break. While their neighbors in Kansas City are preparing for Google’s unlimited-use gigabit broadband, the three different owners of the area’s cable operation in the last three years have stuck local residents with usage caps as low as 5GB per month.

What began as Sunflower Broadband, formerly owned by the The World Company, which publishes the daily Lawrence Journal-World, has now been sold to a new owner that plans to leave the current caps in place.

Knology of Kansas Inc., a division of West Point, Ga.-based Knology acquired the Sunflower operation for $165 million in 2010. This week, WideOpenWest (WOW) announced it had completed a system-wide acquisition of Knology, including the former Sunflower system for $1.5 billion.

Consumers in Lawrence hoping for something better from one the nation’s top-consumer-rated cable operators will apparently have to wait. The company announced it was planning no immediate changes to its services or rates, said Rod Kutemeier, who currently remains general manager of the operation.

“Which means while Kansas City becomes a gigabit broadband city with unlimited-use broadband ranging in price from free to $70 a month, we’re stuck with this lousy cable operation that wants $53 a month for 18/2Mbps service with a nasty 50GB data cap and up to $1/GB overlimit fee,” says former Knology customer Sam. “I switched to U-verse, which is only mildly less criminal with their 250GB cap.”

Sam’s price represents standalone broadband service and includes Knology’s $5 monthly modem rental fee. If he purchased video service from the company, his broadband rate would be $10 lower.

Sunflower Broadband introduced one of the country’s first broadband Internet Overcharging schemes, limiting customers on the company’s lowest speed tier to 5GB of usage per month. The company later introduced devotees of unlimited, flat rate access to a reduced priority unlimited option for just shy of $60 a month, with no quoted speed or promise of performance.

Lawrence cable subscribers were hopeful the new owners would adopt pricing and service similar to what WOW offers elsewhere. WOW tells its other customers it does not impose usage limits or consumption-based billing of any kind. But that doesn’t hold true in Lawrence.

“They need to get rid of the current management which continues this ripoff scheme and bring in the same WOW mindset that gave them top ratings in magazines like Consumer Reports,” shares Stop the Cap! reader Sam.

WOW currently offers most customers broadband speeds of 2/1, 15/1, 30/3, and 50/5Mbps. Knology of Kansas offers service at speeds of 5/1, 18/2, and 50/5Mbps — all usage capped.

Pricing and packages for Lawrence, Kansas’ local cable company will remain the same… for now.

Corrected: Massachusetts Mad: Comcast Blasted for Rate Increases from Springfield to Boston

Courtesy: WCVB Boston

Correction: In an effort to concatenate two stories regarding Springfield, we erred in reporting about Springfield’s move to sell its municipal cable operation to Knology.  That story referred to Springfield, Fla., not Springfield, Mass.  We appreciate one of our readers bringing this to our attention, and we regret the error. –PMD

Comcast customers in Massachusetts are hopping mad over the latest round of rate increases from the state’s largest cable operator — the second in 10 months in some areas.  Higher cable bills for customers will start arriving by early spring.

City officials in Boston expect eastern Massachusetts customers will face up to 2.9% more for basic service this spring.  In western Massachusetts, Springfield city officials finally resolved a prolonged legal battle with the cable operator and granted the company a 10-year franchise renewal that preserves senior discounts for existing customers.

Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino said an examination of Comcast’s cable rates over the past few years proves deregulation “has failed” consumers across greater Boston.  Menino says basic cable rates have increased by 80 percent in the three years since the city’s rate control agreement expired.

Menino wants restored authority to regulate cable rates, and has asked the FCC for permission to bring back the city’s oversight powers.

[flv width=”480″ height=”290″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WCVB Boston Cable Rates Going Up For Some Customers 1-17-12.mp4[/flv]

WCVB in Boston talks with city mayor Tom Menino about the latest round of rate increases for Comcast customers.  Some Boston locals are responding by dumping cable television altogether.  (2 minutes)

Comcast basic service will rise another 4.9 percent this spring, bringing the mostly local-broadcast-channel cable service to $16.58 a month.

The only other major cable provider in Boston, RCN, which serves mostly apartment buildings and other multi-dwelling units, is not planning to increase its prices on the lowest price tier. However, RCN already charges more than Comcast — $17.50 — for comparable service.  Other RCN customers face general rate increases this spring.

Verizon says it has no plans to increase prices in Boston either.  That statement was deemed ironic by some, considering the fact the phone company has never provided FiOS fiber-to-the-home cable service inside the city of Boston.

All affected providers blame increasing programming costs for the rate hikes.

[flv width=”480″ height=”290″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WGGB Springfield Cable Rates Going Up 1-18-12.mp4[/flv]

WGGB in Springfield led a recent evening newscast with news Comcast and competing satellite providers are increasing rates in western Massachusetts, with local residents increasingly questioning the value of their cable-TV services.  (2 minutes)

Search This Site:


Recent Comments:

Your Account:

Stop the Cap!