So I contacted all of the various utility companies that service the area. Electric, no problem. Water, no problem. There is no gas, which is definitely not a problem. The only area of choice in the utility business these days is in telecommunications -- phone, cable, internet.
My wife assembled a listing of various companies, and I began calling them. First on the list was SBC (formerly Ameritech, Southwestern Bell, or any one of probably a million other names they've used in the past). When I called the number listed online for SBC, I reached a company called White Fence. The agent described the company as a sort of broker of communications services that could set me up with service from any of the providers in the area. The first clue that you aren't dealing with the best person is when that person is a reseller of the service you are looking for. This White Fence agent told me that SBC was not available in our new area (Indianapolis), and that the only provider she listed that could offer all three services (phone, cable, and internet) to us was AT&T (which, of course, is formerly SBC). She offered me a package that included unlimited local and long distance phone service with "the ten most popular phone features," broadband internet with a 3 megabyte upload/download rate, and "the 100 most popular channels" from Dish Network, for $104.98 per month, including HBO and Cinemax for free for six months.
I have no desire to have HBO and Cinemax in my home, and a 3 megabyte upload/download rate would actually be a downgrade over our current service with Time Warner/Road Runner. I also have no desire to switch to satellite television service. They said they could upgrade me to 5 megabytes for $10 more per month, but dropping the satellite television from the deal would change my phone service from unlimited long distance to ten cents per minute.
I also called Brighthouse Networks, which is apparently a local provider of the same services. For $99 and change they can offer me a similar package with a 1.5 megabyte upload/download rate. Wow! At that speed, I might as well connect with NetZero or Juno dial up service for free. Could you imagine trying to host a podcast at that speed? They, too, could upgrade my speed for an additional $10 per month, but only to 3 megabytes.
I finally settled with Comcast. For $102 a month we have the most basic digital cable package available, broadband internet with a 6 megabyte rate, "unlimited" bandwidth (I'll be testing that one, for sure), and digital phone service with unlimited local and long distance service. And they can have everything hooked up the afternoon that we're moving into the house.
Anybody out there have any experience with Comcast internet and phone service?