A little competition can be a good thing for Hawaii’s internet users. It’s only fitting that Hawaii’s largest phone company and Hawaii’s largest cable television operator provider compete to provide better service.
Service? That might be a sore spot for many of their respective customers. Local phone company Hawaiian Telcom has suffered through a couple of years of troublesome customer service issues. Fortunately, they’re not the only phone company in town. There are choices.
The cable television folks at Oceanic, somehow connected to the megalithic Time-Warner media company, is pretty much the only entertainment show in town, so we have to take what they give us.
When it comes to telephone service, they compete against each other, with the nod for dependability going to Hawaiian Telcom.
What about local internet service? Both Oceanic and Hawaiian Telcom claim the fastest service. Oceanic says their cable-based Road Runner service is the fastest internet service in Hawaii. Meanwhile, the local phone company touts their network as Hawaii’s fastest.
They both can’t be right, can they?
They’re not, and they are, all because it depends. What do you mean by fastest? By using a broad definition, loosely defined, and more loosely applied, both claim the speed title.
In general, dollar for dollar, there isn’t much difference between Road Runner and Hawaiian Telcom’s DSL service. For both, if you pay less, the speed is less. When you pay more the speed goes up.
Hawaiian Telcom’s 3 meg service (measured as a maximum download speed of 3 megabits per second) is only $19.99, which compares favorably to Oceanic’s Road Runner 1.5 which is half the speed but half again as much money, at $29.95.
For cheap and slow, it’s advantage Hawaiian Telcom.
In the middle, Road Runner’s basic plan is$44.95 for up to 5 megs, while Hawaiian Telcom gives up to 7 megs for only $39.99. Advantage, to the phone company.
For screaming fast internet service, Hawaiian Telcom’s 11 meg service is only $49.99, while Road Runner’s 8 meg service is $54.90, and the ultra fast 15 meg service is a whopping $69.90 per month.
Clearly, the average value comes from Hawaiian Telcom’s DSL service vs. Oceanic’s Road Runner connection. But there’s more than meets the eye to the comparable prices and so-called speed ratings.
Generally speaking, and unless you’re downloading huge files each day, there is little practical difference between 3 meg service and 7 meg service. Email, web page browsing all looks and feels pretty much the same, whether the connection is from Hawaiian Telcom or Oceanic. There’s also little difference at the high end, from 11 megs to 15 megs because few servers elsewhere on the internet can send you files that fast anyway. Call it overkill.
Your mileage may vary, of course, but take it from someone who has used both Road Runner and Hawaiian Telcom’s DSL services, the dependability prize goes to the phone company. Invariably, my Road Runner connection would disappear two or three times a week, or slow down to a horribly ugly snail’s pace for an hour or so in the early evening.
I’ve used DSL for about eight years and can count the number of times the service has been down on one hand. Oceanic managed to match that level of service finger for finger but did so each month. The dependability advantage goes easily to Hawaiian Telcom’s DSL internet service.
Guess what? DSL still works when the power goes out, which seems to be more frequent in the past couple of years. I added a three hour battery power supply to my home network which kept it running for three hours when the power went out during the earthquake a few years ago. Of course, power was out for 15 hours, but still… When the power goes out, so does cable television, the cable company’s digital phone service, and the Road Runner internet connection.
Who would have thought that the Beep Beep slogan of the Road Runner’s perfectly unblemished record would ever be toppled by a lowly, local phone company’s internet connection?