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Stuck with Comcast - Monday, January 21, 2019
Comcast was the only viable option for Internet when Priscilla and I were renting at the quadplex, and it remains the only viable option at our house now. We need high speeds because we and our renters stream media and download large files. The only other broadband providers here seem to be AT&T and Sonic, which are able to provide 1.5mbps down for $40 and 10mbps down for $50, respectively. Yeah, no thanks. Gotta love when a company has a monopoly.

Normally when my Comcast promo ends and the rate goes up, I call and threaten to cancel and they renew my promo for another year. But this time around, the rep didn't have a good deal for me. So I started looking around some more.

There are two companies in the area, Common Networks and Sail Internet, that provide a rooftop wireless service. They install a receiver on your roof, requiring line of sight to a relay. Common's website told me that there's currently no relay that can reach my home, while Sail's website told me that service was an option. But when I spoke with a Sail representative, she said that while there is a relay close by (atop a 4-story condo building on El Camino), line of sight might be blocked by a row of tall trees. She was able to have a technician come over a couple hours later, and he climbed on top of my roof with binoculars and confirmed that line of sight was blocked. He also found only a couple two-story buildings within line of sight of my roof. So it looks like we are still stuck with Comcast for the time being.

Sail's offerings are pretty impressive. 150mbps down and 50mbps up for residential customers, priced at $55 (which includes taxes and fees). Faster and cheaper than what I'm getting from Comcast. Meanwhile, relays get 300mbps down and 100mbps up and don't pay anything. A home is eligible to host a relay if it is two stories tall.

Common and Sail's coverage areas continue to grow as they add more relays. So I hope that it will be only a matter of time (the Sail rep estimated several months) before one of them can provide service to my home. I did my part in posting about Sail on Nextdoor; I just hope that people in my neighborhood ditch Comcast and get on board soon. I wonder if Common and Sail would be more viable if they were one larger company instead of two separate ones, but maybe it's not a bad thing to have some competition in this space for a change.
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