The ISP landscape in the F-M area is unfortunately very, very sad. Most residents of West Fargo can breathe a sigh of relief that they have the best company in the area at their disposal. I will go over a few of the providers and my personal opinion and feel for them.
Cable One – Everyone knows Cable One, and they got that way by being the first and usually only game in town, not because of good service and pricing options. You can quickly get a good feel for the customer satisfaction they provide on their google business page. Out of a 0-30 scale and 43 reviews, they have a score of 2. One can assume they easily wouldn’t be a local giant of media if they had competition 10 years ago. It has also been said that they have a contract with the city of Fargo to be the only cable internet provider here. This decision was good for them, but not the city of Fargo. I have personally had their basic cable TV, and internet for a long time now. There has been plenty of hiccups with the service over the years, but overall it has been, ok. Nothing at all to recommend or brag about by a long shot. They have always been the most expensive game in town, also something they have been able to get away with since they had no competition. Plenty of options are out there now, but most don’t have the coverage and speed of Cable One. Right now the 2 main internet plans for a home user are, 5Mbps for $50 a month, and 50Mbps, also for $50 a month. Great options here, and the 50Mbps is limited to 100Gigs a month usage, and the 5Mbps is not limited. Do you see what’s wrong here? I have never personally had their digital cable, which seems ok, but again probably the most expensive in town. Their “special deals” only run for a fews months to one year, then your price goes up. Please feel free to read their shining reviews here.
Century Link – They are the second biggest provider after Cable One. They have a big coverage map, and decent services to choose from. They are the leader in local DSL, and the main competitor for Cable One. They seem to have good customer service and more options than Cable One, for a cheaper price. They offer 12Mbps starting at $20 a month, and go up to 40Mbps starting at $30. Their service area is somewhat limited and spotty, but it’s probably the second biggest. They also have more of a phone line focus, and all internet is of course DSL only. In my opinion, they are the best choice for most residential basic users in Fargo for internet service. They have taken a bite out of Cable One with reasonable prices and speeds for quite some time even when they were Qwest.
Everything else is a mashup of satellite and smaller local places that I won’t cover one at a time. I29 was the first fully wireless game in town. Quicksilver has helped out customers that were having issues with them, and I have also known people personally to have this service. From what I have gathered and seen, it is a very slow provider, and their customer service is about the worst in town. One of the reps didn’t even know where their main broadcasting signal was. They have low prices, and a very weak and spotty service area. I have seen a user of theirs right by 45th street across from their main office have bad service. North Fargo has also had slow and off and on service. They are probably the cheapest choice in town, but you get what you pay for, and I am surprised they are still around. On the topic of full wireless, there is a provider outside of Fargo that does provide service to businesses in the industrial area by 45th street, but has not implemented to residential in Fargo yet. We endorse and recommend him and hope that he does move more into Fargo one day. Check out AnyConnect out of Casselton ND.
There are a few other smaller more commercial providers like Integra, IdeaOne, now called Enventis, 702, and others. Most of them don’t focus on residential service, and don’t have coverage areas even worth mentioning.
Now on to the best part, and what I think is the best provider in the area. Midcontinent has stuck out as the best option to me since I first heard of them in 2007. From all I have seen and heard as well, they have great pricing, options and customer service. Unlike Cable One, they seem to actually care about their customers. They are only available in West Fargo right now though. They offer 5Mbps all the way up to 100Mbps for residents. Hopefully they will break into Fargo in the near future, when Cable One is done with it’s strong arming practices.