Though considered a modern-day necessity, reliable internet is not the norm for many people. It’s reached levels of crisis proportion throughout rural America, prompting state and nationwide funding plans to invest in a fast connection for people who need to keep up with a world on the web.
In Lycoming and surrounding counties, the problem persists in small cities and smaller towns. Following a survey of our readership, On the PULSE has compiled a list of the top internet companies available in the region.
River Valley Internet
A relatively new company, River Valley Internet, has been based in Lycoming County for roughly five years. Of the survey results, nearly 50 percent recommended River Valley Internet as the best provider in the area for its customer service, flat rates and being a locally-based company. The service prides itself on fast service with no data caps, taxes or price fluxuations. But, to do this, it does not provide bundle packages or a phone line. The service, while far-reaching, is based on a number of towers in the region. If you can’t see the tower, the tower can’t see you — which means no service. However, if you are in Williamsport, Lock Haven, Montoursville, Loyalsock Township, Allenwood or Lewisburg, your chances are good.
A mammoth in the internet, telecommunications and cable world, Comcast sweeps up most of the remaining suburban areas in the region. It’s the king of bundles, promo periods and super fast speeds, but it comes around to bite you in the wallet after a year or two when your promotional period runs out. For many, it’s the only option. Of the survey results, roughly 50 percent have Comcast and most say the service is “adequate.” About 20 percent recommend the service for this region. Comcast provides service through a cable system, so if you are in a city, borough or suburban outcropping, chances are you’ll have access to internet.
Hometown is a budding locally-owned and operated company with some long-time history in the internet sphere. It covers most suburban areas in Lycoming County as well as some rural spots and parts of the surrounding counties. Boasting a flat rate with options for no contracts, the service also is delivered through a microwave network with towers across the county.
The rural option for almost everyone else in Lycoming County is Verizon. The reality is that Verizon is nobody’s first choice, but it is the carrier of last resort. Verizon is delivered through the phone lines so it can reach as far out as Kellyburg. But while the option is there, the speed often is not.
Based in Coudersport, Zito Media also provides a cable internet service solely to rural Lycoming County and the surrounding region. It’s not as far-reaching, but the provider does offer service to select areas in the region, including Trout Run, Balls Mills and some portions of Lycoming Creek Road.