Just like there’s more music out there than just what Beyoncé and Taylor Swift put out, you can go online with more internet service providers (ISPs) than Comcast or Verizon.
Data caps are still off the table for Baltimore’s biggest internet provider, but that’s only for the rest of 2022. No one knows what 2023 will bring, so as the saying goes: If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.
For those that find data caps untenable or just want a local alternative, here are some indie ISPs operating in Baltimore — along with parallels to locally relevant musical acts for easier comparison:
This provider uses satellite internet, making it viable where fiber and cable services aren’t accessible. Think Dish Network but for your internet. It’s not exactly local (headquartered closer to DC in Germantown, Maryland) or indie, but I think of it as the White Stripes of ISPs: Pretty popular, you know them when you hear them but by God, they are no Beyoncé.
This grassroots organization provides free internet and training to Baltimoreans across the city using fixed wireless broadband. The organization is homegrown, aimed at serving the people and has probably provided free internet somewhere on Dru Hill.
This ISP is based out of Manchester, a town in Carroll County. The company provides a dedicated wired internet connection to your home and it’s been around since the mid-90s – kind of like the Ruff Endz.
Based along the Inner Harbor, this local ISP provides broadband and fiber connections. It’s one of the bigger indie ISPs in the city and well known yet still one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Like another hometown favorite — Mario — its speeds can hold their own against some of your favorite ISPs, and might even be faster.
A fixed wireless internet provider out of Hunt Valley, Maryland, this company has been servicing rural communities for years. It expanded into Baltimore last year after hearing the talk about the digital divide — and internet connectivity in the city being at an All Time Low.
This Baltimore-rooted ISP primarily offers access to its wireless internet network for businesses, not residencies. It does so through a radio connection that one of their antennae enables. For most potential customers, it may be a new way to get internet. But if you can believe in the Orioles (the early R&B vocal ensemble, not the baseball team), this company can’t have you crying in the chapel any more than you already are.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-