Consumer Alert: More choices in the Rochester area for high-speed home internet

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — This Consumer Alert is all about competition.  It’s great for the consumer because when businesses compete for your dollar, you usually get a better deal. And now another player has entered the high-speed internet market.

The new provider is actually an old player in the cell phone market. Verizon and T-Mobile already provide high speed internet in some parts of the Rochester area. Now AT&T has jumped in the fray.

Right now, the biggest home internet provider in our area is Spectrum, followed by Greenlight, which is available in limited areas. To get Spectrum and Greenlight, fiber optic cables must be installed in your neighborhood.

Verizon and T-Mobile use their existing cellular network to provide home internet.  AT&T is doing something a bit different.

“We’re not using our existing cellular so that’s kind of a really big point,” said Bryan Rogers, an AT&T store manager.  “So that way our network will never get congested, never get bogged down. You’re not going to worry about your cellular service being impacted by this product.  It’s using C-Band.  It’s an entirely different antenna.”

That C-Band antenna is placed on AT&T’s existing cell towers without using the cellular network. And Rogers says it’s easy to install in your home.  You get your equipment in the mail, then you scan the QR code, which directs you to the best place in your house to put it.

So let’s do some comparisons. First, speed. Critics of wireless internet service say high-speed internet provided by fiber is faster, more reliable and more secure.  So, those are things to consider.

Also consider price. Verizon and T-Mobile both start at $50 but offer discounts for mobile customers.  Greenlight and Spectrum also start at $50. AT&T offers high-speed internet at $35 if you have their cell service, $45 if you don’t. All three cellular providers have limited availability based on where your home is located, and you need to check with the provider to see if your home qualifies.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing your internet provider, but for the consumer, having choices ultimately benefits you.