Review by lmamakos
Good "Rapid, high-quality installation, solid 21/2.1 Mb/s speeds"
- Location: Three Springs,Huntingdon,PA
- Cost: $39 per month (month by month)
- Install: about 3 days
Bad "none, so far"
Overall "Good upgrade for me"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
I ordered the Atlantic BB "Express Service" which is a 20Mbs/2Mbs Internet service. Promo pricing is $29.95/month (I think) + $6/month modem rental.
Upgraded from 6Mb/s DSL which was topped out based on my location and the DSLAM. Decided to give Atlantic BB a try. In my central PA market, they rebuilt the system 7 or 8 years ago and now have a full digital cable and DOCSIS 3.0 infrastructure. They had a "special" for 12 months for their 20/2 Mb/s bandwidth tier, which ended up being cheaper than the DSL service. Even after the end of the promotional pricing period in a year, the rate would bump up to $5/month more than I was paying before, but for significantly more bandwidth.
I got an installation appointment 2 days after calling to order service. The technician arrived during the promised 8:30am-12:00noon window.
I live in a rural market, and the installer/technician is a company employee with a company "bucket truck", who lives in my community. Two other technicians that service this market apparently are within 10 or 15 miles (which is "nearby" for us out in the sticks). He's not just an installer, but also services the outside plant for the system i this local market. I had already run RG6 quad-sheild inside my home from the basement distribution where my router is to the outside of the house, and pulled some quad-shield outside plant cable I had through an empty conduit tube out to the utility pole. (That was installed at the same time as the buried conduit for the electrical service.) The installer said he would have been happy to have pulled the cable, but I wasn't sure beforehand if that would have been a problem.. He installed connectors on all the cables I ran, installed a box on the pole with a ground block and another box on the outside of the house with a ground block. The installation work was very high quality and nice craft work. I attribute this to employee vs. contractor that, e.g., Comcast uses in some markets.
Atlantic BB supplied a Motorola SB6180 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem. This modem is capable of bonding 8/4 channels together, though on my system, it's using 4/1 channels. Rental on the modem is $6/month; I may end up purchasing my own modem if I decide to stay with Atlantic BB after a couple of months.
The technician had a pretty slick JDSU test-set to measure signal strength and actually come up on the network. Apparently the test-set is it's own DOCSIS device, which sure seems handy for testing and debugging. I have a pretty hot signal at the end of my drop, requiring a 6dB attenuator. Nice to know there's probably plenty of margin.
The technician called in to activate the modem, and it came up in about 10 minutes after downloading a firmware upgrade and configuration files. Worked like a champ!
I'm using Vonage VoIP service and have been testing network performance during various times of the day, and the speeds seem pretty consistent at the top end of what I was promised. VoIP quality seems good. I get solid 21.5 Mb/s downloads based on both their speedtest.altlanticbb.com server as well as various speedtest.net servers on other networks. My upstream performance also looks good, though I have a traffic shaper at a hair below 2Mb/s so that the VoIP traffic can be prioritized on the way out. The 2Mb/s upstream rate is a big improvement over the about 300-500kb/s I had before on the DSL service.
Our Three Springs, PA area is backhauled from a local coax RF hub over fiber to Altoona, PA. From there, they're one hop off the Level3 backbone based on the traceroute tests I've run.
So far, I'm very pleased with my upgrade and Atlantic BB service. It's only been a few days, so I'm anxious to see how the performance holds up and how often service interruptions occur. The outside plant seems to be fairly well kept from a physical infrastructure perspective, and now we'll see how often "unscheduled maintenance" events happen to occur further upstream.
I have only Internet data service from Atlantic BB, so no review or comments on their VoIP or video offerings. For various reasons, I'm very unlikely to give up my Vonage service, and presently have DirecTV for video which seems to have a better HD and DVR feature set.
** UPDATE - Two weeks in, and service has remained solid. I have cancelled my DSL service and will be sticking with ABB based on performance so far. I've run occasional speed tests at various times during the day, and the bandwidth measurements have remained consistent. (Upstream performance as reported in the speedtest is actually a little higher since my router has an egress traffic shaper tuned to just below the actual capacity for the QoS feature to work.)
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