Are there any true broadband options in the SF, Miami, San Diego and Chicago?

Imagine you’re making a presentation to your CEO on 2015 revenue projections when the Internet buffers, you start sweating because you can’t navigate through your presentation, and hundreds of people are staring at you. All you can think is: why is this happening to me?

It’s most likely because your broadband speed is 4 Mbps, which is the average download speed in the United States. High-speed Internet access has become a necessity, which is why the FCC has redefined “broadband” to mean  connection speeds of 25 Mbps and greater. This shift forces Internet service providers to change the way they’re doing business. Otherwise, their services will no longer be considered “broadband”.

Earlier this month, Comcast announced their new modems will support speeds of 1,000 Mbps (I Gigabit), although it’s unlikely consumers will actually see speeds reach the full bandwidth. In the SF Bay Area, it’s not unusual to pay $70 per month for disappointing broadband speeds. If you don’t watch cable TV, you’d think you could pay a far lower price if all you want is broadband from the cable company.

There’s an excellent alternative to the cable/telco duopoly. Webpass, a high-speed Internet provider that began in San Francisco, currently offers speeds of 100, 200 or 500 Mbps depending on the building you live in. The company has expanded and now serves more than 10,000 residential customers and hundreds of businesses in SF, Oakland, Miami, San Diego, and Chicago. The company distinguishes itself from competitors through its fast speeds and excellent customer support.

The difference between a small ISP like Webpass and a larger cable company is that Webpass owns and operates its own Ethernet network, eliminating dependence on phone and cable companies, and offering Internet at previously unimaginable speeds. Moreover, because Webpass is not a cable TV provider, it doesn’t pass on the costs of licensing TV shows and sporting events to their broadband customers. With the recent reclassification of broadband, consumers will feel the change not only in their Internet connection, but also in their monthly bill, as broadband companies will likely pass the cost on to their customers. Webpass charges $55 per month regardless of the speed.

For those living in the SF Bay Area: Webpass serves apartment buildings in (mostly) downtown SF/SOMA and Oakland. If you don’t live in one of those apartment buildings, you’re out of luck. I was a Webpass subscriber for 3 years and for me, the service was consistently excellent. On the 3 occasions that the connection was lost, Webpass responded immediately and I was never out of an Internet connection for more than 15 minutes. How’s that for service?

It’s depressing to note that many people in the US have very little choice of broadband provider and that there aren’t more independent ISPs like Webpass that offer pure high-speed broadband service  (no TV, no phone).