Comcast, Embarq or Verizon?

From a reader seeking refuge from Comcast’s recent price updates:

I called Verizon and I called Embarq. The Embarq rep I spoke to said they offered phone service but not DSL. Verizon said they did not even have the 22932 zip code in their database so no phone service or DSL.

Im relatively sure that when Embarq was Sprint they offered DSL, but maybe when they spun off local service into Embarq they did away with DSL. Im going to contact their business rep. Sometimes the business side is a bit more efficient.

We mostly left Comcast because of the latest rate increase. I believe we are paying $137 with comcast for a basic cable package with HD channels and DVR..no movie channels plus high speed internet access. The HD routinely messes up during high peak hours

Direct TV is offering a package for $43/month for the first year and then $59.99/mo for the following year. Thats not counting the $80 off the first bill.

If we cant get DSL then we will just stay with comcast internet. They do offer it as a stand alone service.

How odd – Embarq’s website says they offer DSL, and my neighbor has had Embarq for years. But I certainly empathize with him regarding Comcast’s rate increases – they seem to increase every year at rates far in excess of inflation.

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22 Replies to “Comcast, Embarq or Verizon?”

    1. I currently have Comcast, but would love to get satellite. How reliable is satellite in Crozet? Does anyone prefer DirectTV over Dish Network? Given the amount of wind in Crozet, does this affect satellite service? Thanks.

  1. Jim, we have Embarq DSL and had it when we were in Crozet. Not sure where someone got the idea they didn't provide it. We have our DSL, phone and Dish Network service all billed through Embarq and it works out fine.

  2. I have Embarq DSL at my office and Comcast internet at home (both in Downtown Cville). In case this matters to you: Comcast internet is significantly faster than Embarq DSL.

  3. We live in zip 22932 and have Embarq DSL (and phone line). We moved to the zip code last summer and, at least at that time, there were several different DSL speeds available.

    We also have Comcast for TV. When we moved, I looked into getting satellite and decided not to because of the lack of HD local channels (i.e. NBC, CBS). My understanding is that: (1) Direct TV does not carry a Charlottesville local package, which means that one must rely on an antenna to pick them up and NBC29 is the only local station that currently sends HD over the airwaves; and (2) Dish has a local, low-def package, but not an HD one. We watch a lot of sports, so this is a deal-breaker.

    If anyone has actual experience with satellite and can confim/deny this, I'd love to know.

  4. If you are more than about 18,000 feet from the Embarq main building in Crozet (by florist) you cannot get DSL. there is a distance limit. That is probably why they said you cannot get it.

    re: JonW – Dish has over 100 HD channels by satellite. They also offer local stations as an add on. We have Dish for it all and it is excellent.

  5. some are HD and some not.

    As they change over, they are included as HD.

    Dish puts both versions in the menu. You have two choices for every station that also broadcasts in HD.

    It is not Dish that is behind, but the stations themselves.
    They have to broadcast in HD to be seen in HD.

  6. I appreciate the response, FrankK, but I would love to know specifics. For instance, if you go to the "local channel" package page of Dish's website and search zip 22932, it shows that five local channels are available, but none are HD (since none are denoted whith "HD" after the station letters). Conversely, if I type in zip 22202 (Arlington), there are 18 local channels available, four of which are HD.

    However, I know that Charlottesville-area channels broadcast (or have the capability to broadcast) in HD since, on Comcast, you can get ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX in HD (as channels 210-213). Much of the the national programming on those channes is in HD (e.g. NFL, NCAA sports, NBA, CSI, American Idol, etc.) even if the three Gray-TV network stations (ABC/CBS/Fox) don't provide their local news in HD.

    I would love to ditch Comcast for satellite…if I can confirm that all four networks will be available to me in HD, as they are with Comcast.

  7. Zach,

    Per the Dish website, CW and UPN are available in zip 22932 via a "Superstation" add-on ($5.99 per month), which is different from the five-network local channel add-on. The CW and UPN channels are based out of NY, LA, Boston, and Denver, and do not appear to be in HD, but I don't have Dish, so I will defer to those with actual experience.

    I would imagine that, more so than wind, the key to good reception is whether or not your property has a clear line to the Dish satelite(s) (wherever in the sky they are). If you are surrounded by tall trees, or are very close to the mountains, then there might be difficulty–and a Dish installer might have to come out to make sure you can get the signal.

  8. Argh, SO much FUD about HD here.

    Of the local channels, only WVIR (NBC29) and WHTJ (PBS — 41) broadcast over-the-air (OTA) in HD. The Gray stations (WCAV CBS19, WVAW ABC16, and WAHU Fox 27) don't have the OTA bandwidth yet. After the OTA digital transition, they'll have the bandwidth, but Gray still has to decide to actually transmit HD, and I've seen no indication either way yet from them. Comcast receives a private HD feed from the Gray stations, which is how they're able to distribute them in HD.

    Dish and DirecTV choose for themselves (a) which local stations they're going to distribute and (b) whether they'll take them in HD. Dish has chosen to take them all in SD, DTV isn't doing any at present. Don't expect Charlottesville locals in HD from either for a while if at all — our market is not big enough to be a priority.

  9. Josh,

    Thank you for confirming what I thought was the HD landscape around here. (I was just hoping someone with one of the satellite packages could confirm precisely what appeared to be the case based upon the provider's websites). Also, I always wondered why Comcast had the Gray-TV stations in HD, but Dish did not. Is there a story behind Comcast's "private HD feed"?

    In any event, we'll stick with Comcast until there's another HD option to consider.

  10. Two notes – I am more than pleased that one of Comcast's new media folks called me within a couple hours of this post going live (I still need to call him back) and that EmbarqJoey has commented here. Thanks for listening.

    From an offline commenter:

    "We have DSL from Embarq at home and in our business…both in Crozet.The cable companies are competitive right now…call Direct TV and Dish Network and compare"

  11. I have Embarq phone and dsl in Crozet works just fine. As far as cable, you're better off dropping it and not watching so much TV.

  12. We have Dish/DSL in Crozet. There are HD versions of the local channels around 7931 (I don't know why they don't show up in the regular lineup like the other HD channels – maybe because most of them don't actually transmit HD). With the DSL, we usually have to reboot the modem every few days.

  13. I should clarify a few things because I was the one that emailed Jim. I called back the rep at Embarq and he clarified things
    They do offer a Phone/DSL package, but they do not offer naked DSL (which I was inquiring about).Verizon offers neither. We havent had a land line in 7 yrs and see no point in paying for an unused landline just to get DSL. Supposedly they plan to offer naked DSL in the near future (thanks to competition from Verizon offering naked DSL $18/mo)
    The reason we are switching from Comcast to Direct TV is twofold:
    We still have issues with HD and DVR service. Combine the issues with raising our rate plan to $137 for combined cable(no movies..just HD & DVR) +Highspeed internet is just inexcusable and only happens in a market like ours where there is very little competition.
    To put it in perspective…the exact same package is $98.40 in Richmond.

    We can get Direct TV with everything we have, plus a better DVR interface & more channels for ~$43…then it goes up to $57/mo, Comcast HSI by itself is about $50-$60.

    Comcast wouldnt budge on it's pricing when we called so they lose us as a 8+yr customer.

  14. So I guess I can deduce from what everyone has written above is that go with Direct TV? We are moving to the area and are reviewing our options. Does anyone have any recommendations for phone/internet bundles? Embarq seemed a little steep. Does anyone know if the cell phone reception for Sprint works well in the area?

    Thank you! Very soon to be Crozet resident.

  15. @Jamie Waldbillig
    If you haven’t already moved here you will find that most cell phones don’t have great reception here, a combination of the scenic trees and hills, and restrictive county rules on cell phone antenna towers. I do have Sprint and it seems to be no better or worse than other carriers.

  16. Embarq DSL leaves a bit to be desired with those low quality boxes that I have replaced many times. They “give” them to me at no charge, but it means a trip into town to get it after I have pulled out my hair, turning it off, rebooting etc. However, I have stayed with Embarq because I understand that the more people that happen to be on at the same time in your neighborhood, the slower your internet is. We live in a fairly densely populated neighborhood so that didn’t sound like much fun either. I am hearing that Sugar Hollow will soon have DSL with Embarq. They have had to use dial up until now.

    U.S Cellular is the cell service with the best reception. The ONLY place I have dropped calls is when I cross Afton and go into the range of another tower. Even at my work in Charlottesville, I am in a room with no exterior walls and a floor above me. I am the only one with service. At home in Crozet, I can use my phone in my house.

  17. See above: I have stayed with Embarq because I understand with Comcast that the more people in your neighborhood who are on-line with Comcast, the slower your internet is.

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