Best broadband provider in New York City (moved from London, UK recently)


A friend's recently moved to NYC from London. I am familiar with the technical and pricing aspects of broadband in London, but am a bit lost here.

Verizon seems to be a big provider, but their website doesn't give many technical details. Here are my suggested requirements for my friend:

1) At least 5mg d/l (I get 19mg from in London) 2) At least 512k u/l (again, with bethere I get 1.3mg!) 3) Static IP 4) No upload or download limits (or as least high enough to be effectively limitless) 5) No port blocking or throttling 6) Good ping times (for games)

In the UK, particularly for port blocking, ping times, and upload speed, cable is behind DSL.

If I go for DSL, then I also need to know which phone company to go with (in the UK there's only one choice, BT)

Any guidance appreciated


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You have just entered a different universe. European and US telecom laws, companies, policies, etc... are from different universes. Or so it can seem.

In the US:

In very general terms cable is usually faster and many feel a bit more reliable.

No one offers 19Mbps download at anything under $1000s per month that I know of.

Static IPs are typically very expensive to get from cable. I've always guessed it was a policy decision but I don't know for sure. But in many areas you get to keep your IP address for months unless you turn the modem off. Many of us call them sticky IP addresses.

With almost all DSL in the US you're using PPPoE to connect to the network. But that's almost always done by your router. (Yes, everyone should have a router for DSL or cable even if they only have one computer.)

Static IPs tend to be cheaper for DSL than for cable. A lot cheaper.

DSL also tends to offer lower speeds for lower prices, cable seems to go for higher speeds for premium pricing. And this seems to align with the physical plant. 50 year old phone wires don't do high speeds nearly as well as cable run 10 years ago.

As to the details, it varies all over the map, literally. In the US the federal government sets some of the rules, but states have wide control over a lot of the aspects of cable and phone services. Especially phone service. So many of the fine details of what I have here in North Carolina will not apply to you in NYC.

Here in NC there are many 3rd parties which repackage the phone company's DSL offerings. I use one called portbridge. I understand this isn't true in many areas of NYC. Plus here we have Time Warner for cable and Earthlink is a choice for internet service via TWC. A preferred choice in my opinion. I have no idea if such choices exist in NYC.

Check out for a lot of information.

19Mps downloads for DSL? London must have lots of Central Offices or very short runs back to what we call remote terminals.
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May want to check into Speakeasy 'onelink': 6Mb down, 768 up.

I've used them since 1998; very pleased with their policies and service.


Marcos wrote:

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Thanks for the comprehensive reply DLR

We call them exchanges, and I don't know what counts as 'lots' - there's probably 50-100 in at 5 mile radius of central london. The 24mg service I use is from 'Be' :

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Obvisouly, very few people get the full 24mg, but at 800metres from my exchange, I can get 19Mps down, and just over 1Mbs up - so it's a vicarious disappointment (through my mate who's moved) to find the US trailing. It's also slightly incongruous when the USA leads in technology and is often cheaper for consumer electronics and the like.

One of my reasons for wanting my mate to have a static IP is that it makes it that bit easier for me to help him out remotely from London. Obviously still possible, just less convenient.

My reason for wanting the better upload speed is that I will want to download the latest US TV shows from him (via something like the SlingBox) and vice versa he wants to watch the latest Manchester United matches from my Sky sattelite box in London. My connection can easly handle a couple of 400/500 Kbps u/l streams.

Will definitely want a wireless router, as he only has a laptop, and it's a pain having any kind of fixed link to run off the broadband.

Will have to do some more seaching on DSL reports



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It's been 145 years since we tore up the country with a war so we didn't get the advantage of having to do it over a few times. You have close exchanges, we have water pressure. Or is extremely low water pressure in London a myth?

Here exchanges (COs) tend to be much farther apart. Thus 3Mbps is the typical DSL limit.

I'd look into cable over DSL if NYC does have mostly "sticky" IP addresses. Here in NC with TWC they last for months. I've only seen them change without a power cycle when TWC has re-aligned their network. Things like all the IPs in an area switching from 24.x.x.x to 66.x.x.x or similar.

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Has your friend estabished a residence yet? In NYC (Manhattan) it is often the case that the building you live in determines your choices, if there is a choice, of "cable" related services. Often a company will make the deal with the building owner, or super or manager, and the residents make do. Not sure that DSL would be subject to this restriction, but the wiring in the building would be a factor, as well as all the normal issues of distance/location. Diligent calling in to NYC offices might be the only way to get the specifics of what is available there, as often NYC plays by it's own, or different "rules" than other places. There may be options not offered elsewhere by the same company. Asking neighbors in the building, who have similar online habits/desires, also is a good way to find out what is the real deal at that spot. Good luck.


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Dr. Cajones

That's not strictly speaking true -- at least with residential buildings. The only time a building will make a difference is if you want RCN or one of the alternative providers that don't have infrastructure running by everybody's door.

Commercial buildings are a totally different animal, however, and often you won't have much choice there but Verizon for broadband or a CLEC, although for most people that's not as big a deal because cable broadband prices for businesses are outrageous (about $300 a month -- at least in NYC).

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