Internet service

World connection in blueBY ED FELIEN

What’s the fastest, cheapest entrance ramp to the information super highway?
There are a number of options for people in South Minneapolis.
Xfinity, the local cable company previously known as Comcast, will give you basic cable plus internet for $79.99 a month.  It’s $39.99 for internet alone.
CenturyLink, previously known as Qwest, provides internet through the phone lines.
It costs $19.95 when bundled with a land line and $34.95 without.
You can get internet service for your tablet and other toys through your cell phone provider.  T Mobile will give you 5GB for $40 a month.  This gives you enough to read and receive 120 emails in a day and look at 50 websites.
Or, you could opt for the city monopoly franchise, USI Wireless.  For $29.95 a month you get 25 Mbps from the little nodes dangling from light poles.  That should be enough for simple emails, but depending on interference from trees and other structures, and depending on whether your neighbors are using it, it might be difficult to get “The Daily Show” without a lot of breaks for buffering.  If you buy their modem for $79.95 that can speed things up a little.
This summer USI is expanding its fiber optic network to our side of 35W south of Lake Street.  They have been offering a 1 gigabit per second service to 30,000 households west of 35W for $45 a month.  The Comcast deal for $39.99 is for 50 megabits.  A gigabit is 1024 megabits, so, theoretically, USI would be 200 times faster than Xfinity for $5.01 more a month.
USI Wireless is a public utility.  It has a monopoly on delivery of wireless internet service in the city.  Unlike the gas or electric companies, USI doesn’t pay the city a franchise fee for the privilege to have exclusive monopoly service.
That’s something the city might want to reconsider in the future.
USI wireless and US Internet are not the same company. US Internet is the fiber optic provider in Southwest Minneapolis.

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