A Tale of Two Cities’ Internet Options

It was the best of page load times, it was the worst of page load times. Twin Cities technophiles and streaming video lovers suffering from a poor Internet connection are about to have a very good summer. As it stands, the average speed for a home Internet connection in Minneapolis-St. Paul is 27 Mbps. That’s not bad; in fact, it’s significantly above the national average. However, it never hurts to have more speed and that’s what MSP residents are about to get. The Land of 10,000 Lakes, and Mbps Local provider US Internet already offers gigabit service in the area—up to 10 Gbps, in fact—but it’s not available in all portions of the Twin Cities, a frustration for those who live outside its service area. Soon, US Internet will have competition from a pair of major providers that should make gigabit speeds available to more residents, increase competition, and maybe even lower prices. With three Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering service in the same area, Minneapolis-St. Paul could soon become one of the best connected metro areas in the country. In This Corner CenturyLink® says its 1 Gbps service will be available to 100,000 homes in the Twin Cities as soon as this summer. According to the company’s website, gigabit plans will start at $80 per month for customers who bundle. For many consumers, upload speeds aren’t nearly as important, but those who create as much content as they consume should be pleased to know that the service will be symmetrical, meaning download and upload speeds will both reach the gig threshold. That’s good news to anyone with a cat, a YouTube account, and a high definition video camera. Wait, We Now Have Three Corners XFINITY®, currently the most subscribed ISP in St. Paul, reports it will launch its 2 Gbps Gigabit Pro plan later this year, along with a still-pretty-respectable 250 Mbps offering. Both will be available to a total of 600,000 residents. Pricing, though, remains uncertain. XFINITY is expected to make that announcement once the service actually becomes available. Elite Company There are a growing number of cities that enjoy gigabit offerings from more than one ISP: Chattanooga, Kansas City, and Salt Lake City, for example. The list of cities with gigabit-plus plans available from three or more ISPs, though, is very small. A quick check of major providers shows that Minneapolis-St. Paul joins Atlanta, which has gigabit service from Google, AT&T, and XFINITY, in that club. If there are others, and there may be, they’re nonetheless few and far between. For the Twin Cities to enjoy more gigabit options than L.A., New York, and other much larger cities, is definitely a feather in that community’s cap. But once all three services are up and running, local residents may still need a hand comparing the plans side-by-side, and seeing which are actually available in their neighborhoods. Finding cities with this many broadband options of 1 Gbps and beyond is no easy task, but finding the fastest connection in your area is. All you need is five numbers, your zip code, to see any number of high-speed Internet options available to you. Photo Credit: Matthew Paulson/Flikr

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Will Smith is a copywriter living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His favorite word is “petrichor,” and aside from wordplay, he loves reading history, watching Dodger baseball, and racing with the Sports Car Club of America.

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