You have just purchased your new home in Marin County and need a list of Marin internet providers? You have come to the right place. This is one of the most frequent questions I receive from Marin home buyers so I thought I would put together this guide to be of some assistance. (Last updated: March 1, 2018)
Fortunately, we do have a choice of Marin internet providers, though national behemoth Comcast is by far the largest player. The Marin Telecommunications Agency (MTA) provides some oversight over the local providers, however they no longer have the power to award the county franchise. The Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 (DIVCA) established the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as the sole cable/video TV franchising authority in the State of California. However I have had some success in asking the MTA to intervene when we have experienced issues with Comcast here in Marin County (see section below on complaints.)
Update March 2018: The FCC has now rolled out what they call a “cloud-based broadband map” where you can input your address and it shows all the broadband providers for that address. Please click here to access the FCC broadband tool. Please note that this map may overstate the providers in your neighborhood, as indicated by this article, but it is a good place to start.
I will try to keep this list updated. Following are the Marin internet providers as of this writing:
Marin Internet Providers: SONIC
Sonic is the latest to join the family of Marin internet providers and from what I hear they are a welcome addition. When you call them at 1-888-766-4233 they often pick up the phone very quickly. I also like the fact that they are a local company. They offer two tiers of internet service as of this writing. One is a slower DSL-based tier that utilizes AT&T’s old copper lines.The second tier is a fiber-based solution that is currently under construction in many parts of the bay area including Marin. You can use the “check availability box” on their Sonic home page to input your address and see what services are available in your area. When I asked them for coverage areas, a real person responded within 24 hours with this: “In Marin County we service Ignacio, Larkspur, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon, with our Fusion and Fusion Fiber-to-the-Node products. Eligibility for products and speed of service depends on the proximity of the address to the city’s Central Office or neighborhood node. We also service the North Bay, East Bay, South Bay and San Francisco, as well as areas in Sacramento and Southern California. Our Gigabit Fiber Internet product is available in the city of Brentwood, some parts of San Francisco, Sebastopol, and business parks in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.”
Marin Internet Providers: AT&T U-Verse | AT&T Fiber
AT&T U-verse began a big expansion into Marin a few years back and then seemed to stop. They currently service parts of Terra Linda (San Rafael) and the area off San Pedro near the Civic Center. I believe they also service parts of southern Novato. They have a variety of service options from older-style (slower) DSL internet to a new service they call “Gigapower” that provides 1000 Mbps speed service (DSL is about 6 Mbps on a good day, and cable currently ranges from 6 Mbps to 200). Bottom line: You can check with them to see if your home is one of the small percentage in Marin that’s currently eligible for their higher-speed services. If you are fine with lower speed, they may put together a package that includes DSL and their newly acquired satellite TV service, DIRECTV. You may reach them at 1-800-288-2020 or click here to check availability.
Update January 2019: AT&T is again deploying fiber optic lines here in Marin County. I believe these new fiber lines are going up primarily to service their new (and controversial) 5G cell service rolling out in the next few years, but a side benefit of that is that new neighborhoods are being wired for gigabit internet service. Tip: in the areas that AT&T has wired for AT&T Fiber, Sonic (above) is re-selling their internet service, meaning you can sign up via Sonic. In this scenario you are a Sonic customer and Sonic contracts with AT&T for use of their lines. This may save you money, and Sonic does not have the 1 terrabyte monthly data cap that AT&T enforces.
My friend Susan B. in Terra Linda switched from Comcast to AT&T about a year ago and has been happy with her service. “While it is not perfect, it is infinitely better than Comcast,” she remarked.
Marin Internet Providers: Comcast / Xfinity
Comcast has renamed their home internet / TV / phone and security services Xfinity so I will refer to them as such. They provide internet, home phone, cable TV and home security services under that brand, and discount heavily for new customers (and when they think they are going to lose a current customer.) By far, Xfinity is the largest of the Marin internet providers and chances are they service your home. They consistently rank towards the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys and we have certainly had our share of issues with the Xfinity service. You may reach them at 1-800-266-2278 to explore pricing and availability.
I would also suggest you visit the new Xfinity store in Terra Linda — sometimes it’s easier to resolve issues face-to-face than on the telephone. Al;so they have sales people there who can walk you through the various options, offer special promotions and discounts. Several clients / friends have saved money on their monthly bill by bringing it into this location and asking about new promotions.
Marin Internet Providers: Google Fiber
There were many rumors a couple years ago that Google Fiber was going to join the list of Marin Internet Providers due to their expansion into other parts of the Bay Area, however as of this writing there are no confirmed reports. You can check the status of Google Fiber’s expansion plans here. A friend who works at Google Fiber told me they have significantly slowed deployment of their network. This article would seem to confirm that Google Fiber has changed strategies and is on “pause” for now.
Marin Internet Providers: LMI.net
A company based in Berkeley called LMI.net offers limited DSL-type service in San Rafael based on your distance from the telephone company’s central office. They describe themselves as “a local, privately-owned company with a connection to the community and a dedicated customer-oriented staff.” You may call them at 510-843-6389 for further information.
Marin Internet Providers: Filing A Complaint
I am hopeful you won’t need this section, but I have heard stories from my Marin real estate clients on service and billing issues from at least one of the above providers. If you have failed through regular channels, a few tips from my own experience:
➡ File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): This can be an effective way to get the attention of a company that’s being, let’s just say, less than helpful. A case number will be assigned an in my experience, someone from the company’s “executive support team” will follow up and make things right.
➡ You may also file a complaint with the CPUC, the regulating state authority.
➡ As mentioned, there are cases where the Marin Telecommunications Agency can provide some assistance.
➡ Finally, calling during business hours and selecting the “disconnect” option sends you to their retention / loyalty teams, who are empowered to waive fees and do what they can to keep you as a customer.
As a top Marin real estate agent, I am an expert on many things in Marin County, and if there’s something I don’t know, I’m usually able to locate a knowledgeable resource. Feel free to call / text me at +1.415-847-5584 if I may be of assistance, or complete the contact form below.
Please Subscribe to My Blog to Receive Notification Of New Articles: