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Comparing Wifi Options For Off-Campus Living

With the start of the semester right around the corner, you’re already scrambling to get your wifi set up if you’re living in an off-campus house or apartment. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to internet plans that are both affordable and meet your homework Netflix streaming needs.

You could try to use your cellular data, but that can be expensive if you’re on an unlimited plan. Most “unlimited” plans really aren’t even unlimited, as carriers tend to slow down your connection after you’ve used a certain amount of bandwidth. Cellular isn’t always reliable, especially for gaming or your Netflix and chill date. And it’s just plain difficult to run your entire apartment with multiple devices over a single cellular connection.

It makes more sense to go with a provider that has service in your building so you can hook all of your devices up to a wireless network in your apartment. In State College, you really have only three options — Comcast, Windstream, and State College Internet — and not all providers are available in all buildings.

You’re probably familiar with Comcast, a national player. Love it or hate it, dealing with Comcast means dealing with the pros and cons of using a super large company. Windstream is primarily a rural phone company that services State College based on its acquisition of D&E Communications a few years ago. Our market is sort of an outlier for Windstream, so they can’t always provide the best customer service. You can’t even register for service on the Windstream website, but are required to call the company to get set up.

State College Internet is a local company that has started expanding nationally with its DojoNetworks brand, providing building-based internet and wifi for property owners to include in amenity packages for their tenants. The company is owned and operated by Penn State alumni who focus on providing quality internet to students using a fiber network built throughout State College.

Choosing an internet provider can be tricky, especially if you’re on a tighter budget or if your roommates all have different opinions. Between bundle options and flashy marketing prices, it can be hard to compare plans. Lucky for you, we took care of the price shopping to bring the comparison to your fingertips, including all of the taxes, fees, and modem rentals you can expect to pay:

15Mb/s-25Mb/s

If you’re ballin’ on a budget, you can get 15Mb/s to 25Mb/s with these plans, all fine for one or two people who aren’t heavy users in an apartment.

  • Comcast – 15Mb/s – $60.55/mo
  • Windstream – 25Mb/s – $45/mo (including an added $8/mo taxes for each plan, a sales representative said via phone)
  • State College Internet – 20Mb/s –  $36.31/mo (best deal)

50Mb/s

A plan with 50 Mb/s is usually good for 3-4 residents and moderate usage.

  • Comcast – No option
  • Windstream – $63/mo
  • State College Internet – $51.31/mo (best deal)

75Mb/s

This plan level should work well for 3-4 residents with pretty heavy usage or gaming.

  • Comcast – $100.55/mo
  • Windstream – No Option
  • State College Internet – $56.31/mo (best deal)

100Mb/s

A plan with 100Mb/s works for just about anyone, including apartments with a lot of roommates and high utilization, video streaming, and gaming.

  • Comcast – $75.34/mo (based on a $49.95 special, but with extra costs actually billed)
  • Windstream – $78/mo
  • State College Internet – $66.31/mo (best deal)

State College Internet offers a $5/month discount if you sign up for a 12-month agreement rather than the month-to-month pricing listed above. State College Internet also provides the month of August free, so you’re ready to go as soon as you move back in with almost half a month of courtesy internet.

Comast/Xfinity Double Play packages use the small print to outline extra programming fees and taxes, like an $8/mo broadcast TV fee and a $6.75/mo regional sports fee, as well as taxes associated with each. Comcast’s promotional rates are good for the first year, but your rates will increase significantly if you plan on staying in your apartment for a second year. State College Internet and Windstream won’t tack on extra fees or up your rates in return for loyalty.

So now what? Before making any decisions, you can visit the following websites to see if each provider services your building:


Disclaimer: Getwireless.net is associated with Lazerpro Digital Media, the publisher of Onward State.

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