This weekend I started the process of setting up the utilities at our new house. Thus far, almost everything but the highspeed internet has gone smoothly. When I scheduled the switchover for our phone service, however, I learned that DSL isn’t available at our new house. This admittedly caught me a bit off guard. While our new house is in a country-ish area, it’s not far from town, and there’s a BellSouth switching station barely two miles down the road. Anyway, I wasn’t too worried about the lack of DSL when I first learned of it… After all, while we had planned on doing our TV service through Dish Network, we could always subscribe to cable TV instead, and get our internet that way. Surprise! Charter Communications (the cable company in the area) doesn’t currently service our neighborhood, so we can’t get cable either.
To be perfectly honest, this is something that we could have looked into in more detail prior to purchasing, as opposed to relying on word of mouth. The reason we didn’t is that it wasn’t a big enough deal to sway our ultimate decision. That being said, I’d still like to work out some way of getting a reasonably fast, always on internet connection.
The way I see it, we have two options. The first is to use dialup for the time being, and to simply wait for traditional broadband (cable or DSL) to become available in our neighborhood. The downside here is that we use the internet fairly heavily, and we don’t want the phone tied up all the time. Thus, we might have to add a second phone line until broadband becomes available. The other option is to sign up for satellite broadband through HughesNet (formerly DirecWay) or the like. The main differences here are price and convenience. While satellite would give us what we want right now, using dialup until traditional broadband becomes available is by far the cheaper option.
Here’s the deal on HughesNet… There are two ways of setting up service: upfront purchase or their ‘promotional’ purchase. In the former case, you pay $599.98 for the equipment and installation, and then commit to 15 months at $59.99/month. Under the promotional scenario, you pay $99.99 for equipment and installation, and then commit to 15 months at $99.99/month (at which time the price drops to the regular monthly rate — currently $59.99/month). That’s right… Their promotion actually costs more than the regular price (but it gives you a break up front). The service that you get in return from HughesNet is 700 Kbps downstream and 128 Kbps upstream.
Obviously, this is pricey — for the sake of comparison, BellSouth’s DSL Ultra (they also have faster and slower options) provides speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps downstream and 256 Kbps upstream for just $32.95/month, and without the crazy equipment/installation prices.
Does anyone out there have experience (positive or negative) with satellite internet? Are there other satellite internet vendors that I should consider (or at least check out)? Or do you have any other suggestions as to how we might work around this hiccup?
For more information on moving, check out my Roadmap for a Successful Relocation.