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ecarson

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Sorry for the "hook" on the thread title, but I think I can be forgiven. Something happened a couple days ago, which will have a massive impact on my life.

I moved out here to the deep forest "sticks" in 1995, fed up with city hassle and strife. I never have regretted that decision, and found that rural living agreed with me in the extreme. One thing though, was the availability of internet communications.

Round 1: When I first set-up in 1995, there was not even local dial-up bulletin board service. I had to pay long distance charges to get that even at 2400bps. I had accounts with Compuserve and Prodigy if I remember right, and spent a lot of money trying to stay ahead.

Round 2: A local start-up company called Aeneas offered a local dial-up server for a monthly charge, and I jumped on it right away. I was elated to not have to pay, what was at the time massive long distance charges. I think we went from 2400, to 4800, to 9600 bps modems during that time. Each step up was the cats meow.

Round 3: Around ten years ago, the local landline phone company offered DSL service. So, I said adieu to Aeneas and the phone modems. It was advertised at 1.5Mbs, and I got that in the beginning. As time went on, and more subscribers got that, it got slower and slower. Finally I felt lucky to get 0.6 to 0.8 Mbs. I could watch YouTube, and Netflix at low resolution in the wee hours when traffic went down. I lived with it, but wished for more. Everytime I asked about speed increase, they said, "No way out there where you are!"

Round 4: This brings us to a year ago. The local electric cooperative, of which I am a member, advertised that fiber optic tech was coming my way. WHAT? I put my name on the list every single month when I paid my electric bill. The cooperative formed a partnership with guess who?...Aeneas. The cooperative wanted the power system data monitoring, and Aeneas wanted the infrastructure.

Round 5: I noted 3 months ago, trucks were stringing a small black cable from pole to pole, right in front of my house, and on down the road. I went to them and asked, is this the fiber optic? Affirmative. The next electric bill payment, and inquiry was met with an immediate "available to you now" offer. I started a new account, and got a drop installed right on the side of my house shortly after the New Year. Single fiber 9/125 to standard SC-AP connectors. Out here. In the sticks.

Round 6: Techs arrived yesterday, and I directed them to what I wanted. Fiber now runs clear up to my desktop here, and I have a fiber optic service going up to the fiber access point just a few feet away from my nose. Techs explained it was a duplex over single fiber system, via two frequencies of light pulses. I could now have up to 1 Gbs speed. I elected to start on the 500Mbs option to get familiar.The system includes wifi and a new landline telephone hookup, all over the same fiber. All installed for no charge. No contract or monthly equipment fees either. I have died and gone to heaven. This is all for less than I was paying for landline telephone, and DSL. Guess who will be shown the door in just a short while?

Speed tests indicate 0 seconds latency, as the main server is only 30 miles away via light speed. My first speed tests indicate about 560 Mbs down and 580 Mbs up. Netflix at full resolution, at the same time watching YouTube at full resolution, and downloading gigabyte sized files in 1/100th the time it used to take. Out here. In the deep woods sticks.

Just today, I was watching SpaceX videos in full HD resolution streaming, and for lower cost! Will wonders never cease?
 

Antares JS

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I hate you.

Not really, just very envious.

We moved into my current house believing we would get Verizon DSL. Not great, but "good enough" for most of our needs. However, when we went to sign up for the service, we were told they were "out of slots." Apparently when the previous owners of my house cancelled their service, the slot went to someone on their waiting list. (We've been on the waiting list for almost three years now with nothing to show for it.)

So naturally, after that particular bit of fecal turbine interaction that we couldn't get out of because we had already contractually bought the house, we scrambled for another solution, and thought we found by getting a wireless hotspot on our AT&T data plan. We had unlimited data but could be throttled after 22 GB of downloads, depending on traffic in our area. This was fine for about a year and a half. I'm not sure if there wasn't much traffic in our area or if AT&T forgot to throttle us for all that time, but about a year ago, the speed throttling became noticeable and downloading Witcher 2 took my poor PC two weeks.

Then, last fall, after becoming frustrated enough to find alternate solutions, we came across rural and travelling service providers, who resold data from the big telecom companies. There were data caps, but they were in the hundreds of GB, and best of all, no throttling of speeds. We signed up for a service and got a cell phone signal booster to increase the signal reliability, and all was well. We were happily downloading games from Steam in minutes and watching Amazon streaming and Hulu.

Then, disaster struck. On New Year's Day, (right after paying the bill for the month of January in advance) we completely lost our service. It turned out that AT&T (whose data our service was reselling) had screwed up the renewals for not only the accounts through our provider, but many other similar providers as well. It wasn't just slow, we were completely without internet until AT&T got this fixed. We decided to be patient, and on January 5th, our internet came back. All seemed well until I went to download a very large game. 22 GB into my downloading (which included a few updates), the speed throttled. AT&T had screwed up their fix and now we were being throttled as if we were on their standard unlimited data plan.

Over the next week, we were promised fixes for the throttling that never came. Finally we had had enough of AT&T's lying about fixing the lines, and ordered a T-Mobile SIM card from our provider, which they had just started offering the previous month. We got our new SIM card on the 14th and went on the website to fill out the form to activate the card, and then I just about had an aneurysm. Rather than the form, there was a notice that T-Mobile was heavily backed up on activating the new SIM cards and they were temporarily not accepting activation requests. Just two days ago, they finally said it would be at least two weeks before they would start accepting activation requests again. Meanwhile we are stuck with throttled internet and a game download that is only 1/3 done.

So that's my rural internet saga. They are laying fiber optic lines on the eastern shore, but nowhere near us at the moment and we can't count on them coming to us anytime soon. Last time we got an installation estimate for our house, it was $10,000 because of how much fiber they would have to run to reach us. All we can do is wait for them to lay a line closer to us.
 

BABAR

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I hate you.

Not really, just very envious.

We moved into my current house believing we would get Verizon DSL. Not great, but "good enough" for most of our needs. However, when we went to sign up for the service, we were told they were "out of slots." Apparently when the previous owners of my house cancelled their service, the slot went to someone on their waiting list. (We've been on the waiting list for almost three years now with nothing to show for it.)

So naturally, after that particular bit of fecal turbine interaction that we couldn't get out of because we had already contractually bought the house, we scrambled for another solution, and thought we found by getting a wireless hotspot on our AT&T data plan. We had unlimited data but could be throttled after 22 GB of downloads, depending on traffic in our area. This was fine for about a year and a half. I'm not sure if there wasn't much traffic in our area or if AT&T forgot to throttle us for all that time, but about a year ago, the speed throttling became noticeable and downloading Witcher 2 took my poor PC two weeks.

Then, last fall, after becoming frustrated enough to find alternate solutions, we came across rural and travelling service providers, who resold data from the big telecom companies. There were data caps, but they were in the hundreds of GB, and best of all, no throttling of speeds. We signed up for a service and got a cell phone signal booster to increase the signal reliability, and all was well. We were happily downloading games from Steam in minutes and watching Amazon streaming and Hulu.

Then, disaster struck. On New Year's Day, (right after paying the bill for the month of January in advance) we completely lost our service. It turned out that AT&T (whose data our service was reselling) had screwed up the renewals for not only the accounts through our provider, but many other similar providers as well. It wasn't just slow, we were completely without internet until AT&T got this fixed. We decided to be patient, and on January 5th, our internet came back. All seemed well until I went to download a very large game. 22 GB into my downloading (which included a few updates), the speed throttled. AT&T had screwed up their fix and now we were being throttled as if we were on their standard unlimited data plan.

Over the next week, we were promised fixes for the throttling that never came. Finally we had had enough of AT&T's lying about fixing the lines, and ordered a T-Mobile SIM card from our provider, which they had just started offering the previous month. We got our new SIM card on the 14th and went on the website to fill out the form to activate the card, and then I just about had an aneurysm. Rather than the form, there was a notice that T-Mobile was heavily backed up on activating the new SIM cards and they were temporarily not accepting activation requests. Just two days ago, they finally said it would be at least two weeks before they would start accepting activation requests again. Meanwhile we are stuck with throttled internet and a game download that is only 1/3 done.

So that's my rural internet saga. They are laying fiber optic lines on the eastern shore, but nowhere near us at the moment and we can't count on them coming to us anytime soon. Last time we got an installation estimate for our house, it was $10,000 because of how much fiber they would have to run to reach us. All we can do is wait for them to lay a line closer to us.
Any chance you can take your computer somewhere with a good wireless internet connection and download your major stuff there? Need to make sure you have good antivirus and malware protection, of course.
 

Antares JS

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Any chance you can take your computer somewhere with a good wireless internet connection and download your major stuff there? Need to make sure you have good antivirus and malware protection, of course.
Unfortunately, setting up my massive desktop computer in a Starbuck's is not a realistic possibility. Plus I'm sure downloading a 60 GB game (Kingdom Come: Deliverance with all the expansions) would annoy them and everyone else trying to use it.

No, we're just stuck waiting on T-mobile to accept activations again. Switching providers won't help either. All of the providers similar to ours are in the same boat after AT&T's monumental screwup.
 

BABAR

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Unfortunately, setting up my massive desktop computer in a Starbuck's is not a realistic possibility. Plus I'm sure downloading a 60 GB game (Kingdom Come: Deliverance with all the expansions) would annoy them and everyone else trying to use it.

No, we're just stuck waiting on T-mobile to accept activations again. Switching providers won't help either. All of the providers similar to ours are in the same boat after AT&T's monumental screwup.
Just buy a bunch of coffee while it downloads!

hope they get you connected soon!
 

neil_w

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Unfortunately, setting up my massive desktop computer in a Starbuck's is not a realistic possibility. Plus I'm sure downloading a 60 GB game (Kingdom Come: Deliverance with all the expansions) would annoy them and everyone else trying to use it.

No, we're just stuck waiting on T-mobile to accept activations again. Switching providers won't help either. All of the providers similar to ours are in the same boat after AT&T's monumental screwup.
Have you considered trying to get into the Starlink beta?
 

jqavins

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In our house in the sticks, we also have no fiber service and no cable service. We have DirecTV, and could get HughesNet, but with HughesNet, with their most expensive plan, we would hit the soft data limit and be throttled back to 2G phone data rates in about the first week of every month.

When we first moved in we were just totally SOL. About a year ago we switched cellular carriers from Sprint to AT&T. Now, if we put out phones in the kitchen window, we can get shaky service that oscillates between 4G, LTE, and NADA. Even when the phone says it's got LTE, you usually wouldn't know it from the performance (probably because the signal is so weak that it keeps cutting in and out more rapidly than the phone's status display is updated, but that's speculation). With the phones' hot spot capability turned on, we can get this shaky service all over the house.

We're also on Star Link's waiting list for beta. Beta service is currently available from 44 to 52 degrees north latitude. We live at about 42.3 degrees north, so about 118 miles too far south. (Come on, SpaceX, just a little further. You can do it. Come on. Who's a good boy?)
 

dhbarr

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I live too close to town to be eligible for the Rural Electric Cooperative fiber; but too far from town to be eligible for Cable, DSL, or even dialup.

AT&T has a fiber trunk running straight through my property. I can see four cell towers from my house.

Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink. And yes, I'm quite salty about it.
 

Antares JS

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In our house in the sticks, we also have no fiber service and no cable service. We have DirecTV, and could get HughesNet, but with HughesNet, with their most expensive plan, we would hit the soft data limit and be throttled back to 2G phone data rates in about the first week of every month.

When we first moved in we were just totally SOL. About a year ago we switched cellular carriers from Sprint to AT&T. Now, if we put out phones in the kitchen window, we can get shaky service that oscillates between 4G, LTE, and NADA. Even when the phone says it's got LTE, you usually wouldn't know it from the performance (probably because the signal is so weak that it keeps cutting in and out more rapidly than the phone's status display is updated, but that's speculation). With the phones' hot spot capability turned on, we can get this shaky service all over the house.

We're also on Star Link's waiting list for beta. Beta service is currently available from 44 to 52 degrees north latitude. We live at about 42.3 degrees north, so about 118 miles too far south. (Come on, SpaceX, just a little further. You can do it. Come on. Who's a good boy?)
I would suggest looking into a phone signal booster. Our phone's usability markedly improved since we got ours. It's a little work mounting the antenna on your roof but it's not too bad.
 

ecarson

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Update: Updating my Garmin vehicle GPS unit maps used to wipe out a whole day or longer of internet usage. Now, a couple of minutes and done.

However, today I discovered Google Earth all over again. It's night and day. A completely different program for me now. I sometimes get sucked in for hours on end exploring places that I've never been to at the ground level. Now it's instantaneous.

On my Linux number cruncher machine, updates were pretty quick before, but now it can be measured in milliseconds. I use the sudo command line in terminal on that to do 90% of software installs, and it scrolls by so fast there is no way to read.

I think I'm going to like this a lot.
 

tsmith1315

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We're also out of luck with DSL/cable/fiber service and dealt with terrible dial-up until 2009.

We used HughesNet for a few years after that, somewhere around $130/month for about 40GB. At least they offered some late night windows for higher data limits. I watched carefully and when Exede offered an "unlimited" plan in my area, we jumped quickly to get it. Their 150GB isn't really unlimited, but much more than HughesNet was giving us and about the same price.

A year or two ago, we switched to a cellular WiFi unit through PagePlus. $55 per month for the same 150GB without a contract. Unlike Hughes & Exede, if we go over 150, they just slow us down instead of shutting us off. Using Verizon towers, which are dependable enough around here. I planned to keep the Exede for a month to be sure this would work out, but it only took a weekend to confirm. About two months service at the reduced rate was enough savings to cover the cost of the router.

If any other rural folks having trouble have decent cell service, I'd encourage looking into this option. Unlike the satellite systems, ours isn't affected by weather. I could tell no speed difference from satellite, and we often have 9 devices running off the one router. A bonus with this unit is a wired phone connection that can be used as a home phone, we use it for an occasional fax.

If we really needed it, I could add a second unit for another $55/month. Double the data, and still be less than the satellite plans, with no commitments.
 

Antares JS

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Update: Updating my Garmin vehicle GPS unit maps used to wipe out a whole day or longer of internet usage. Now, a couple of minutes and done.

However, today I discovered Google Earth all over again. It's night and day. A completely different program for me now. I sometimes get sucked in for hours on end exploring places that I've never been to at the ground level. Now it's instantaneous.

On my Linux number cruncher machine, updates were pretty quick before, but now it can be measured in milliseconds. I use the sudo command line in terminal on that to do 90% of software installs, and it scrolls by so fast there is no way to read.

I think I'm going to like this a lot.
For an even more amazing Google Earth experience, look into getting a VR headset. It’s incredible.
 

Antares JS

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We're also out of luck with DSL/cable/fiber service and dealt with terrible dial-up until 2009.

We used HughesNet for a few years after that, somewhere around $130/month for about 40GB. At least they offered some late night windows for higher data limits. I watched carefully and when Exede offered an "unlimited" plan in my area, we jumped quickly to get it. Their 150GB isn't really unlimited, but much more than HughesNet was giving us and about the same price.

A year or two ago, we switched to a cellular WiFi unit through PagePlus. $55 per month for the same 150GB without a contract. Unlike Hughes & Exede, if we go over 150, they just slow us down instead of shutting us off. Using Verizon towers, which are dependable enough around here. I planned to keep the Exede for a month to be sure this would work out, but it only took a weekend to confirm. About two months service at the reduced rate was enough savings to cover the cost of the router.

If any other rural folks having trouble have decent cell service, I'd encourage looking into this option. Unlike the satellite systems, ours isn't affected by weather. I could tell no speed difference from satellite, and we often have 9 devices running off the one router. A bonus with this unit is a wired phone connection that can be used as a home phone, we use it for an occasional fax.

If we really needed it, I could add a second unit for another $55/month. Double the data, and still be less than the satellite plans, with no commitments.
Yeah, this is exactly what we have, except ours uses AT&T towers. AT&T screwed up all their rural lines though and T-Mobile is swamped with people switching to them and activations are delayed, and we don’t have Verizon here. Looks like Verizon is the only one not having problems. I envy you too.

What kills me the most right now is having to avoid the Expanse thread to avoid spoilers until we’re back up and I can watch it.
 

neil_w

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What kills me the most right now is having to avoid the Expanse thread to avoid spoilers until we’re back up and I can watch it.
There aren't really any spoilers there, thankfully. I started reading that thread when I was just starting out with it, and haven't had any issues. I haven't started season 5 yet.
 

jqavins

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One person's comment is another person's spoiler. Looking back, I wish I hadn't known even the title of The Wrath of Khan before the "Botany Bay? Oh No!" scene.
 
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