Monday, September 5, 2016

Satellite internet and update

After years of being online with Windstream, which is probably about the worst internet service provider I know of, I am getting Exede satellite internet at the off grid cabin.

Before, I had home phone with Windstream, which is handy. However, I could barely hear anyone on the phone on the rare occasion someone called, or I called someone, because of so much noise on the line. Even with a filter, it always sounded scratchy and noisy. On top of that, the internet was painfully slow. I’d occasionally run a speed test at an online site and it always came up with less than half what I was paying for download speeds, and even worse upload speeds.

Trying to upload videos to YouTube, well, let’s just say that a 3 minute video was likely to take 2 hours or more to upload. That’s ridiculous! And forget about watching a movie on Netflix or a video on YouTube. So much time was spent buffering that I finally cancelled my Netflix account and only watched YouTube videos at off-peak hours, just so that the bandwidth wasn’t being bogarted by everyone around me who also had terrible internet speeds.

I even complained to the FCC, which prompted a phone call (remember the noisy phone?) from Windstream. I was told they didn’t have faster broadband where I live, and yet my bill reflected the same price point as those who live in town with much faster internet. For years they have promised to improve their lines in our area, but never manage to actually do it. I reminded them that even though they have made these false promises, they increased my bill by over $20 a month anyway when I was supposed to be on a guaranteed lifetime price. They then denied I was ever on such a plan (it’s one of the things that caused me to choose Windstream in the first place!) and that my plan would be periodically increased in price even without any improvement in service.

At the end of the conversation, I told them I was moving and not taking them with me. I also told them I would be discouraging others from signing on with them, if it was at all possible for friends to go another direction.

So, yesterday (September 1, 2016) I gave Exede a call. They have, so far, the best plans and prices around. They were very nice over the phone (of course, trying to sell me on it, I know) and I contracted for 24 months at a price for the kind of service and speed I can afford right now. It will be autodrafted from my bank account monthly. I will need to buy a wireless router, but those are pretty inexpensive. Renting theirs at $5 a month would prove more costly over time. Even the guy I was talking to said he bought his own router instead of renting from Exede.

I realize that sometimes weather can cause problems with satellite internet. I’m prepared for that. I’m also prepared to not be online as much as before. I’ll budget my online time. As I’m writing this post, I’m doing so from my living room without internet. Things like this can be uploaded at a later time, as can YouTube videos.

Because two people will be using the internet here, we will both have to watch our data usage closely. The way Exede works now, you get the full speed for a certain amount of usage. If you go over, they throttle it back to a much slower speed the rest of the month. The cost will be $10 higher than Windstream, but it will be worth it to be free of them and maybe get better service!


It’s installed! The installer called Saturday (September 3, 2016) to see if he could come Sunday to install our satellite dish. He was here several hours in the heat, but he got it done and it’s working great. We have 10 gigabytes per month and if we use that, they will throttle it back to slower speeds for the rest of the month instead of turning it off. I can live with that. We bought a wireless router in town for about $30 and we’re up and running!

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