Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a Verizon town, so if you’ve moved to the city recently and you used to have AT&T internet, you will need to change internet provider. As far as cable TV systems are concerned, Philadelphia is dominated by Xfinity. Although EarthLink and RCN also operate in the Philadelphia area, you are more likely to live in a location that only Verizon or Xfinity serve. Another company that provides internet in Philly is Hotwire. However, this fiber internet provider only deals with multi-occupancy buildings, so individuals can’t take out a contract with them.
The limitation of internet and TV services to Verizon and Xfinity is not necessarily a bad thing. Verizon is one of the leading internet service providers (ISPs) in the USA and Xfinity is a market leader both as a cable TV provider and as an internet provider.
Verizon offers both DSL internet over the telephone wires and fiber internet through its Verizon Fios division. Verizon Fios is the largest fiber internet provider in the USA and its fiber optic cable network in Philadelphia is one of the widest city networks that the company operates.
Xfinity is a division of Comcast. It is the largest cable internet provider in the USA and also has divisions overseas. For example, Comcast also owns Sky Broadband in the UK. There are features of the Xfinity internet service that beat all other competition hands down, so the business has worked to get the number one slot by offering a high-quality service and innovative technologies. For example, subscribers to Xfinity get free access to the company’s wi-fi hotspots, which are positioned all around Philadelphia and the rest of the USA.
Another great bonus offered by Xfinity is its xFi hub. This device creates a home wi-fi network but offers more features than a regular wi-fi router. The xFi also manages other wireless standards, such as Bluetooth and Zigbee. These other standards are widely used for home automation products, such as heating thermostats, smart doorbells, security cameras, and lightbulbs and electric plugs that can be managed remotely with a smart phone. The xFi system can also connect to your TV, speakers, and headphones, giving you a futuristic, fully-wired home.
So, with two of the best internet service providers offering internet in the city, Philadelphia has not been short changed. Another advantage of having fewer choices is that the search for the right internet service can be completed quicker. Those who don’t want to go with Verizon should also check out EarthLink. Like Verizon, that business offers both DSL and fiber internet. RCN is the main rival to Xfinity as a cable TV service and that business also offers cable internet.
Apart from the four wired internet providers, there are two satellite internet options in the Philadelphia area. In fact, these two internet providers are available all over the USA. These are HughesNet and Viasat, which is also known as Exede. In reality, Philly internet shoppers are unlikely to opt for satellite internet because those systems are slower and more expensive than wired internet options.
The USA’s telecommunications industry is governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC defines “broadband” as an internet service that offers a download speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps). Not all of the internet plans available in Philadelphia qualify as broadband. These low Mbps internet plans are available from the DSL services of Verizon High Speed Internet (the brand name of Verizon DSL) and EarthLink. Cable internet and fiber internet are always faster than DSL.
Fiber optic cable is a bundle of glass strands. Data passes along those strands as a pulse of light. The glass stands are each just the width of a hair and are coated in plastic so they won’t fracture when bent. The light signal remains trapped within the glass even when the cable is curved around a corner. Fiber optics provide the fastest internet speeds available today.
Cable internet systems are also some of the best internet providers because the main distance from the company’s internet access point to the customer is carried over fiber optic cable. The fiber optics cover the bulk carriage from the ISPs offices to a local exchange. Each customer is connected to that local node with coaxial cable. That last stretch covers just a short distance. That’s both Xfinity and RCN are able to offer high speed internet.
Verizon Fios is probably the best internet service in the USA. Its customers give it a higher satisfaction rating than the customers of other ISPs in the USA. Performance tests by the FCC show that Verizon Fios always matches or exceeds its speed promises.
Besides the excellent reviews and the factual excellence of the Verizon Fios fiber internet service, there are also periodic deals offered by Verizon to bring down the cost of this expensive internet service. Unfortunately, the fiber optic network of Verizon Fios doesn’t cover all of the Philadelphia area. That’s why Verizon still offers its High Speed Internet service, which is DSL internet. If you can’t get Verizon Fios, you would be better off turning to your local cable TV provider.
Most of the USA is covered by exclusive cable TV territories, so it isn’t possible to choose between systems. Philadelphia is fortunate because RCN has entered the Philadelphia area. RCN doesn’t have an exclusive coverage service anywhere, but competes in a few select areas, almost all of those places are the big cities of the East Coast and Philadelphia is one of them.
Xfinity is the top cable TV provider in Philadelphia and in many neighborhoods, it is the only cable TV service. The company offers an excellent cable internet service with plans right up to the fastest internet service of 1 Gbps. Many Gigabit services offer a 1 Gbps upload speed. However, Xfinity doesn’t. Its upload speed is 35 Mbps. That’s still very fast, but your alternative is Philadelphia’s other cable internet provider, RCN. The RCN Gig Internet plan offers a download speed of 940 Mbps but its upload speed is only 20 Mbps.
If you work from home, you should keep quiet about that and take out a residential internet plan. ISPs charge less to residential users than to business customers. For example, the residential Xfinity Performance Starter plan offers 25 Mbps and costs $43.00 per month. The equivalent service for business offered by the same company is called the Comcast Performance Starter plan – it costs $89.95 per month. If you add a phone service to an Xfinity internet plan, you will pay $20 extra per month. If you have the Gigabit plan, the phone add-on costs just $10 extra per month.
Xfinity has that great free bonus of its wi-fi hotspots, so if your business takes you on site or around the city a lot, then you will really benefit from the Xfinity offer. However, don’t overlook the Verizon Fios service if it is available in your neighborhood, its phone service add-on costs an extra $20 per month.
All three of your top high speed internet options offer excellent TV bundling options. The plans of Verizon Fios, Xfinity, and RCN vary widely in price. Although the Verizon Fios prices seem low at first, there are a number of extras, such as a monthly charge for the router and an extra charge per TV that quickly ramp up the price. The cheapest internet and TV package that you can get from Verizon Fios gives a 200 Mbps internet service with a 125 channel TV package for $116 per month.
Both Xfinity and RCN have very low starting prices, which enable customers to get a reasonable internet speed and a TV package for an accessible price. For example, RCN offers 250 Mbps internet and 69 TV channels for $29.99 per month. Xfinity offers 100 Mbps internet plus 10 TV channels for $50 per month.
Apartment complex internet services is the specialty of Hotwire. So, when you go to view an apartment for rent and the agent tells you that internet is included, that may well be a hot wire service. However, apartment complex management companies frequently do deals with other internet providers and TV systems. A multi-address deal is very attractive to ISPs. It saves them money on sales effort and simplifies the installation process.
Building management companies sometimes include the internet service for free as an incentive to attract renters. Sometimes, they make it an optional extra, passing on the discount of their bulk deal to the renter. Some building managers charge the full retail price of the internet service and pocket the difference between that and the negotiated discount as an extra profit.
The complexities of running new cable through an apartment building often discourage building managers from allowing individual renters from selecting their own internet provider. Check your rental contract before shopping for an internet service. You might not be allowed to take out a contract with any company other than the building’s authorized ISP.
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