Summit Internet choices abound, although with various restrictions | SummitDaily.com
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Summit Internet choices abound, although with various restrictions

Aidan Leonard

SUMMIT COUNTY – As county officials continue to work on establishing the uniform availability of affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access across the county, there are currently a number of different options on the table that have cropped up in just the past few years.

From expensive but lightening-fast T1 lines to dial-up service that crawls along, the range of options is broad. But it is limited both by location and one’s available funds. (The information included below is not comprehensive. Other local companies might offer similar services.)

Dial-up

In Summit County, Internet access is available via dial-up modem to virtually anyone with a phone line, a computer and the appropriate hardware. From national providers such as America Online to local Peak to Peak, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) available to local consumers run the gamut.

DSL

For those not particularly interested in the watching their hair turn grey while waiting for their e-mail to download, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) lines are available through VailNet (also known as ColoradoNet), Peak to Peak and others for around $50 in monthly fees. The technology allows Web surfers to gain access via their existing phone lines at speeds up to five times faster than dial-up, but it also includes setup fees of around $100 and often modem rentals that tack another $10 onto monthly service bills.

Because of technological limitations, however, DSL service is typically restricted to areas within about a three-mile radius of central Qwest offices and is therefore not available to a significant portion of the county’s more rural residents.

Cable

Cable Internet service is not currently available in Summit County, but it is in the works through Comcast. Once up and running, it will offer subscribers download speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second, more than 25 times faster than average dial-up. According to company spokeswoman Tiffany Payne, the service will cost up to $45.95 for cable subscribers and up to $55.95 for nonsubscribers with $49 and $99 installation options.

Wireless

Wireless connections, the basis of the county’s Beanpole Project, are also currently available, albeit with limited scope, for $100-200 a month after an initial $500 setup fee through VailNet. Imagicom, which uses satellite technology and is therefore available anywhere in the county, is out there for $50 to $70 a month after an $800 setup.

T1 lines, which offer direct connections to ISPs at speeds greater than one megabit per second, are available through Qwest and others to businesses or anyone with more than $600 a month to devote to their Web surfing capabilities.

Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at aleonard@summitdaily.com.


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