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Old 10-24-2012, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,897,418 times
Reputation: 450

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I'm in the market for internet and phone service for my office.

Fairpoint offered a great promotion. 15 meg internet at a low price. Very tempting.

Some people I have spoken to about Fairpoint say they have had no problems. But someone who seemed tech savvy warned me about them, and I have read horror stories about their customer service. Even Wikipedia's article about them speaks of a history of serious problems, including poor customer service.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairPoint_Communications

So I am afraid to trust Fairpoint.

Sovernet is a local company, based in Bellows Falls, but also with facilities in Burlington and Winooski. It has a generally good reputation for customer service, but it can't give me anything higher than, I think, 8 megs.

That 15 meg offer is really tempting, but do I really need 15 megs for the office? I'm not going to be doing high end graphics or gaming.

Cable, of course, offers the fastest internet in this area, but it is much more expensive, and, for my purposes at the office, probably unnecessary. I have cable internet at home, and it can often be as slow as dial-up. But that may be due, in at least in part, to my old computer and my browser. When I switch to another browser, I can often go faster.

All internet companies have steep early termination fees, so I want to make the right decision the first time.

Thanks in advance for any comments, shared experiences and advice.

Last edited by arel; 10-24-2012 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:35 AM
 
Location: The Woods
16,936 posts, read 22,202,288 times
Reputation: 9020
I get my internet from fairpoint. Lately, it randomly goes out, is slower than a snail, etc. I'd stay away from them.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Vermont
5,439 posts, read 14,743,656 times
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8 to 15 probably will not not make too big of a difference unless you are downloading lots of big files.

Speedtest.net - The Global Broadband Speed Test can give you a pretty good idea of how fast you are now.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:22 AM
 
Location: in a cabin overlooking the mountains
3,079 posts, read 3,708,782 times
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I've been very happy with VTel. My modem was clocked at 17 meg which is a real treat. Unless you are watching a lot of videos I don't think you will notice the difference though.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Vermont / NEK
5,773 posts, read 12,296,293 times
Reputation: 7193
I dumped Comcast in favor of Fairpoint about a year ago. Price was the issue. I spoke with a friend who operates the local Radio Shack first and he said I wouldn't see a noticeable difference with DSL, so I did it. And he was right. I enjoy Youtube videos as much as the next person and there's no buffering issues. Also, every internet customer gets a free wireless router, which I've truly appreciated as I've only had laptops for the past ten years.

I have had to call Fairpoint for phone issues several times and they have been quick (within 24 hrs.) to respond. I was very skeptical when they took over Verizon's territory but I have no complaints.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:04 AM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,897,418 times
Reputation: 450
So far, most people have expressed satisfaction with Fairpoint, although a few people on iBrattleboro commented on slow internet. The person who warned me seemed to be going on reputation and not personal experience. People who use Sovernet have generally been happy with it, although one person deeply resented the high termination fees. And one person on iBrattleboro wrote of some friends who were unhappy with it.

I looked up VTel and saw nothing about service in my area.

Someone suggested that I just go with whichever is cheaper.

In short, Fairpoint is cheaper, offers 15 meg internet (whether it runs at 15 megs is another issue), and also a choice of 1 year or 2 year contracts. But it has a history of serious corporate issues, including very poor customer service. Sovernet is local and has a reputation for good customer service, but it only offers up to 8 meg internet and is also more expensive.

Both have big early termination fees and, if you move your service during your contract period, moving fees and/or a new contract.

I get concerned when I see big termination fees. I think of financial threats to force people to endure poor service. If your service were good, you'd keep your customers without such threats. There may be another side to this, so someone please enlighten me.

Fairpoint also has hefty charges for on site customer service visits. I was quoted $120 for the first half hour and $55 for each subsequent half hour. You can avoid this by paying an extra $5.95 a month. Forgive my cynicism, but it sounded like a money-grabbing protection racket to me, and that was a turn-off. I don't know what Sovernet charges for site visits. I'll find out when I call again.

Thanks for the feedback! I hope I get more.

Last edited by arel; 10-25-2012 at 04:46 AM..
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Vermont / NEK
5,773 posts, read 12,296,293 times
Reputation: 7193
Fortunately for me the phone issues were on Fairpoint's side of the interface so the visits were not chargeable. I don't buy the $5.95 insurance. In 25 years at the same residence I've had one problem that pertained to my side of the network interface. Lightning hit the utility pole across the street and fried the wires inside and out. This was about 15 years ago and I can't remember if there was a service charge or not. I don't think there was.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,897,418 times
Reputation: 450
If there is an inside phone issue, and you rent the space, but the phone is in your name, who is responsible for fees associated with repairs? The landlord or the tenant? (I just left a message with that question on the property manager's voice mail.)
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
10,619 posts, read 4,921,743 times
Reputation: 20798
Quote:
Originally Posted by arel View Post
So far, most people have expressed satisfaction with Fairpoint, although a few people on iBrattleboro commented on slow internet. The person who warned me seemed to be going on reputation and not personal experience. People who use Sovernet have generally been happy with it, although one person deeply resented the high termination fees. And one person on iBrattleboro wrote of some friends who were unhappy with it.
I saw the ibr post, didn't know if it was coincidence when I saw the CD post about same thing (and was unsure if CD's proscription against recommending other info. sites would preclude me from making mention of ibr & that post)-so now I know these were made by same person & I needn't fret about that...
Quote:
Originally Posted by arel View Post
I get concerned when I see big termination fees. I think of financial threats to force people to endure poor service. If your service were good, you'd keep your customers without such threats.
I so agree.
See also this thread-
Cost of Cable
my post (since we're not supposed to "cross-post" the same thing in different threads, I provide the link):
http://www.city-data.com/forum/25978575-post12.html

My costs: between $30 and $35/mo. for bundled DSL & landline phone (no cell). I get the Lifeline discount, which helps defray portion of the expense. I have no experience w/either SoVerNet or VTel, only FairPoint. Have had Verizon phone service since moving to the state in mid-1990's, then it was taken over by FP, and the service has always been reliable.
I've had FP DSL internet since spring of 2011 (before that I had dial-up, through a non-name-brand entity). Except for a couple hours during the post-Irene situation & the great ice storm a year ago (in which I lost power for half a day), the internet service has remained functional/satisfactory. The tech-support people that I've spoken with on the phone (when setting up & troubleshooting my DSL) have been patient & helpful, and are available for free 24/7, which I think is marvelous.
High-Speed Internet | Residential Internet Service | FairPoint Communications
I subscribe to their "standard" (one step above the cheapest) package, which is described on FP's site as
Quote:
Originally Posted by FP site
  • 4x faster than Starter
  • Up to 3 Mbps downloads
"Starter" pkg. speeds are:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FP site
  • Up to 768 Kbps downloads
  • 128 Kbps uploads
I also second (or third) the point about how advertised speed (upload/download/streaming) may bear little relation to the actual speed you experience. This local site has a speed test, among other features (shows avg. speeds in nearby states with a graph, and lists suggested rates for using popular sites)-
BroadbandVT.org - Your source for independent broadband information | www.broadbandvt.org
I've been able to watch/listen to YT videos & music with ease since getting FP DSL, but my reference point is the utter extreme sluggishness of dial-up, compared to that, this is lightning quick.
This was the result I got from the above link, which I tried again just this afternoon (YMMV):
Quote:
Originally Posted by VT broadband site
Thu Oct 25 16:39:35 2012
Download Speed:
1522 kbps (190.3 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed:
368 kbps (46 KB/sec transfer rate)
Sorry my comment's so lengthy ! Best of luck with your decision-making.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:24 PM
 
Location: in a cabin overlooking the mountains
3,079 posts, read 3,708,782 times
Reputation: 2253
Quote:
Originally Posted by arel View Post
If there is an inside phone issue, and you rent the space, but the phone is in your name, who is responsible for fees associated with repairs? The landlord or the tenant? (I just left a message with that question on the property manager's voice mail.)
Unless the lease states that the LL is to provide phone service the repairs are to be paid by the tenant. Most of my tenants don't even have landlines nowadays. I once had someone try to get me to pay for some problem they where having with their TV cable and I pointed out that the lease said nothing about cable being part of the habitability of the unit.
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