The battle for broadband in the Boise area continues to heat up. We told you last year about TDS Fiber starting to roll out across parts of Meridian – and a subsequent rate cut for some Sparklight users.
Now, a new entrant will literally beam broadband down to your house from space. And Sparklight is again cutting rates.
Sparklight boosts speed, cuts price
Long-time broadband provider Sparklight added more areas to its new pricing lineup.
Many users pay Sparklight $65 per month for download speeds “up to 200 Mb/s,” with a data plan that starts charging overages when a home goes over 700 GB of usage in a month.
Now, most Boise ZIP codes offer a plan for $60 per month with download speeds up to 600 Mb/s with no cap on data usage. That means Sparklight will charge you $5 less per month, triple your top speed and get rid of the data cap.
If you’re on the $80/month plan, your current download speed is up to 300 MB/s. The new plan, at $60/month would double your speed to 600 Mb/s.
Initially, Sparklight rolled out the pricing plans to territories that neatly matched TDS Fiber’s rollout. A company spokesperson told us last fall that the pricing plans were a pilot.
“Sparklight continuously evaluates and adjusts our service offerings based on market-based testing and evaluation,” Trish Niemann, Sparklight’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications told BoiseDev at the time. “We are currently piloting the Freedom Connect plans in Meridian and Garden City, Idaho at this time. Based on customer feedback, plan opt-in and a number of other factors, we will then make the decision as to whether we will expand these plans to other areas in Idaho as well as our other markets across the U.S.”
Customers won’t automatically get the updated price, and have to switch online or call the company.
We found the updated Sparklight plans in all the Boise ZIP codes we checked, as well as Meridian and Garden City like last fall. But other areas – including Nampa and more rural spots like McCall – still have the old, more expensive and slower plans.
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Starlink, a division of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, started to make high-speed Internet available during a beta test for users in a growing area – including many ZIP codes we checked in the greater Boise area. The “initial service” offers speeds ranging from 50 Mb/s to 150 Mb/s, with promises for even faster speed as time goes on.
In December, we ran a story from our partners at Idaho News 6 about the Starlink satellites – which are occasionally visible in the night sky over the US. They appear as a line of lights in the sky, as the small 500-pound satellites orbit overhead. The satellites orbit at a much lower altitude than typical satellites and work together to cover a large area in broadband.
To get set up with Starlink, users must pay $499 for a dish-shaped piece of hardware, as well as $50 for shipping and handling and $29.94 tax – a total of $578.95 up front. Service costs $99 per month to start.