10. Sonic

Dane Jasper, Sonic's CEO. (Sonic)

Google Fiber may have disrupted the broadband market with its $70 fiber internet plans, but California-based Sonic has taken fiber to the home (FTTH) pricing one level higher: It offers 1 Gbps for $40 a month.

The service provider offers its 1 Gbps fiber-based Fusion service in three cities—Brentwood, Sebastopol and more recently San Francisco.

Sonic CEO Dane Jasper said sales of the 1 Gbps service in San Francisco have been “enthusiastic” with “a ton of demand.”

Eligible FTTH customers also get unlimited phone service, which includes nationwide unlimited as well as unlimited calling to fixed lines in 66 countries. Voicemail and caller ID and all the other voice features are also included.

“We throw in the kitchen sink,” Jasper said. “Fusion also includes an electronic FaxLine number, a domain name and website, and is the only landline in the U.S. with integrated and automatic Nomorobo spam call blocking.”

Fiber is just one part of Sonic’s total offering. The service provider offers a mix of copper-based VDSL2 and ADSL2+ services to 100,000 customers in 125 California cities. It has also established itself as a supplier of wholesale and business services.

Whether it's up to 20 Mbps ADSL2+, VDSL2 at up to 75 Mbps, or 1 Gbps FTTH Sonic offers the same attributes: unlimited, uncapped and untiered voice and data.

What’s interesting about Sonic’s presence in San Francisco is that while the city is a hot bed for technology innovation, it has lacked an array of affordable broadband options. One reason is related to local ordinances that make it challenging for service providers to build out network facilities along public rights of way. Such rules have created challenges for deployments by rivals like AT&T and Comcast.

However, since it operated as a CLEC, Sonic did not have to build out its own RTs or related Central Office facilities to deliver broadband service in San Francisco. Instead, the service provider initially rented copper-based facilities from AT&T to establish an immediate customer foothold. Over those rented copper facilities, Sonic offered a mix of ADSL2+ and VDSL2-based broadband and voice copper services before transitioning to building out its own FTTH network.

The upshot: While Sonic’s footprint is centered in California, the service provider’s disruptive pricing and dedication to plain old-fashioned customer service is a model other traditional and competitive broadband providers could use to retain and attract new customers.

10. Sonic