CenturyLink dominates telecommunications services in Arizona, being the descendent of US West, the Bell company division that had a monopoly on the telephone system in Arizona for decades up to 1983. So, CenturyLink owns a comprehensive telephone network in the city and offers DSL internet over its wires. DSL is becoming less marketable because of tough competition from cable internet and fiber internet service providers. CenturyLink has addressed this competition by creating a fiber optic network, which offers faster internet speeds. Although the CenturyLink fiber optic internet system is not very large, it does have a significant presence in Phoenix.
The big internet providers in the USA are Verizon Fios, AT&T, Xfinity, and EarthLink. However, these companies don’t operate in Phoenix, Arizona. CenturyLink doesn’t really have much competition in the DSL internet and fiber internet markets. The only company that comes close is the small, but growing, Zona Wyyerd fiber internet service. This company installs cabling into new gated community developments on the north-western edge of the Phoenix urban area, just outside of Peoria, where the company has its offices.
Zona Wyyerd doesn’t really have enough capital to fully compete with CenturyLink. One interesting feature in its service is that the upload speed of a contract is always the same as the download speed. This is a common feature of Gigabit internet plans, but very rare in Mbps internet speeds. Usually, lower speed internet plans offer a much lower upload bandwidth than the download speeds.
Zona Wyyerd doesn’t offer a TV package, but it does have a telephone service. Unlike CenturyLink, Zona Wyyerd doesn’t offer bundling, so there is no incentive to buy its internet and phone services together.
The main competition to CenturyLink comes from the cable internet providers. The cable TV companies that operate as internet service providers (ISPs) in Phoenix are Charter Spectrum, Cox Cable, and Cable One. Mediacom’s coverage area also touches on the Phoenix area. However, that TV provider only covers about one percent of the Phoenix metropolis. Of the cable TV providers that operate as ISPs in Phoenix, Charter Spectrum is by far the largest, nationally.
The center of Phoenix is well served by wired internet systems: DSL, cable, and fiber internet. However, the city is a regional center of commerce, and so it serves a large rural area in the surrounding countryside. As a result, there is a large number of fixed wireless internet providers in the city. Fixed wireless is not the fastest internet delivery system and so it doesn’t attract many users within the Phoenix area. However, it is in demand outside the city limits. This is because it is a solution for getting internet to properties that are not connected to the wired telephone network and are too far from the road to make running a private cable to the building too expensive to consider.
The fixed wireless system carries internet signals over cable to within reach of the customer’s property. The last stretch of the connection is carried by a wireless system. Fixed wireless is stronger than the wi-fi that many people have in their homes. While wi-fi transmits a signal in all directions, like a ball, the fixed wireless method concentrates the signal in one direction, like a beam.
Similarly, satellite internet providers operate sales offices in Phoenix – not expecting sales in the city, but finding customers in the surrounding countryside of Arizona.
CenturyLink dominates the Phoenix internet market. However, Charter Spectrum and Cable One offer better deals. Between these two cable providers, individual customers would probably make their final choice on personal preferences that are driven by an attraction to the corporate personality of each company. Both businesses offer TV and telephone services as well as the internet and make combinations of these services more affordable through bundling.
When comparing the three best internet providers, customers should know that those in reach of the CenturyLink fiber network should choose that internet option if they prioritize high-speed internet. Charter Spectrum is a nationally significant company that also is very good at serving local communities. The company operates a chain of stores, which enables customers with problems to get face-to-face help and immediate answers. Those who are tired of dealing with large corporations would probably prefer to deal with Cable One.
Phoenix is covered by three cable TV providers: Charter Spectrum, Cox Cable, and Cable One. The internet services of Cable One are marketed under the name Sparklight. All of these networks offer cable internet and also have telephone services. Each cable internet provider also has the option of bundling the internet service with a TV package and/or a telephone service, which brings the cost of these services down.
One issue you will discover where comparing the three cable internet providers is that their networks rarely overlap. So, you won’t have a choice over which system to subscribe to – there will only be one cable TV provider for your address.
ISPs charge businesses more for the same service that they offer to residential customers. So, as a home-based business, your best option is to keep quiet about your business activities and just get a residential internet plan.
Internet plans almost always provide a bigger Mbps download rate than the upload speed. Businesses might need more upload capacity than most plans provide. However, Gigabit packages usually give the same upload speed as download speed, so someone who has a business would be better off opting for one of those high speed internet plans.
Unfortunately, internet service providers don’t offer the same speeds in every neighborhood. So, even though you might see that a system offers Gigabit internet, that might not be offered to your address. CenturyLink offers a good price for its Gigabit package. In reality, this gives a 940 Mbps download speed, but the industry regards this as the same as 1 Gbps (which should really be 1000 Mbps). This plan also gives 940 Mbps upload speed. CenturyLink offers an internet and telephone bundle for just $20 more than the price of the internet only plan. However, the Gigabit internet service if CenturyLink is only available on its fiber network, which only covers 7% of addresses in the Phoenix area.
Charter Spectrum offers the best internet and TV package bundles in the Phoenix area and it does not impose a data cap. Another advantage of Charter Spectrum is its network of wi-fi hotspots throughout the Phoenix area – including coverage in Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, and Mesa. Subscribers to a home internet package from Charter Spectrum can use these wi-fi hotspots for free. That gives you the opportunity to stream video while out and about with a mobile device.
The best deal available for Charter Spectrum in the Phoenix area is its 100 Mbps service, which can be enhanced with a 125-channel TV package for an extra $40 per month. If you can’t get Charter Spectrum in your area, then Cox would be the best option to go for. That ISP’s cheapest offer for internet and TV is discounted for the first 12 months. However, the TV element of the bundle isn’t a TV package, but the inclusion of a set-top box that gets internet streaming services diverted to your TV. You would still need to subscribe to a separate online tv system, such as Netflix or YouTube TV.
The CenturyLink TV bundling offer is from DirecTV, so you would get your TV service separately through a dish.
If your apartment complex offers an internet deal, you might not have a choice over which internet service to go with. ISPs often do deals with apartment buildings that offer great deals. However, look in your rental contract because your option to install internet from a provider other than the ISPO that the building management company did a deal with might be blocked.
Some apartment complexes include an internet service for free, included in the rent. Other apartment building management companies will show you the ISPs full tariff, giving you the option to subscribe through them and keeping the difference between the full price and their discounted deal for themselves.
If you are allowed to choose a different cable internet system to the one that the apartment complex management did a deal with, then that new company is going to need to run cables to your apartment. That job requires the involvement of the apartment building manager. The building might already have cable shafts and gullies built into the structure to make it easier to run new connections to your apartment and the building manager will know where they are.
In some cases, the building management company will insist that only their technicians can run cables through the buildings. In which case, they will probably charge you a fee to connect your apartment through to the ISP’s exchange box on the street.
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