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rural internet  RSS feed

 
Posts: 35
Location: Kentucky
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we're in kentucky, currently we've got wild blue satellite internet. it's about as awful a product as i've ever dealt with. i just went through 3 hours of tech support trying to get an aircard from a local provider only for them to solemnly swear there's no way their card is compatible with a laptop that is six months old. rural internet is bad, rural tech support is worse.

wimax got close to being an option but due to being in a valley and having a metal roof it was a no go. we're also 5 miles from the nearest dsl line but it's sparsely populated between here and there.

clever ideas, words of encouragement, stories of triumph anything will ease the sting of continued frustration.
 
                              
Posts: 11
Location: NW Georgia
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Mule,
I operate a small wireless internet service in a fairly rural area in N GA.  I don't have much to offer you except that it is possible to get high speed internet where none is available.  We are working on developing a package that someone could use to start a similar service in a rural region elsewhere.  We have the advantage of a fiber optic connection which we rebroadcast from a mountain location to other 'repeaters' in our area and connect users to them.  But, a good satellite connection could work in place of the fiber.  I wish I could be more helpful.  I know your pain.  Good luck--K
 
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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Sorry to hear about your trouble, I have a friend in a similar situation.

They use ATT card and it can be spotty, but the real issue is the counting of the bandwidth usage so no video watching.

Time may bring you better options - I feel your pain, lots I can live without but not the internet.
 
Posts: 192
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Rumor has it wildblue has an 8mb service coming later this year near Q3. It apparently has a meter build in so it might be possible to for a consumer to adjust it in a pinch.

AFAIK any satellite service will always have latency. that's the nature of the beast. the  "delay"when you hit enter for your google search, signal has to go 22,300 miles up to the satellite, 22,300 miles down to the gateway, process your request, send it back up to the satellite 22,300 miles and back down to you, you guessed it, 22,300 miles.
 
                                
Posts: 49
Location: Elmira, ny
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Rural internet is terrible and is one of the reasons I moved to town. I was two miles outside of and there was no cable, dsl, or cell. Satellite was available but was not recommended for internet use because of the interference problems when it rained or snowed. So I had to subsist on dialup. People could make enough to live in a rural area with a small online business--the portability is one of the beauties of such a biz--but if you have to use dialup, it's a pain.
 
pollinator
Posts: 491
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Yeah, the only thing worse than satellite is dial-up! We have Hughes, and it is pretty annoying.

How's cell service where you live? Verizon has a gadget/service called MiFi by which you can get internet service over their cell towers. The user I talked to was very satisfied with it, and the price was competitive with our HughesNet.

For those of us living in the backwoods, I think internet over the cellular network is the coming thing. We'll never get fiber optic, etc., and satellite service limits data downloads where many cell planes don't.
 
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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the cell based internets prolly teh wave of the futre for everyone
once the towers are up they might as well get used a lot
 
Posts: 129
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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I had to have internet for my work (still partially in the grind but I have a job that let's me work from home).  Wildblue does indeed suck, and it doesn't handle the VPN that my company network requires very well.  We have a couple of Silicon Valley refugees who moved here (very rural Oklahoma) and started an ISP based on the frequencies that were freed up when TV went digital.  They put an antenna on the water co-op tanks which are always on the high points around the county, also on the town's police antenna tower.  Mine is on a local ham radio operator's tower, the duke him a couple of bucks a month for the privilege.  Now we have fairly fast internet (not quite as fast as DSL but a damn lot faster than Wildblue or Hughs Net) and 1/2 the price.  And it works great with the VPN.  If you can't find someone that's doing this then you might want to consider it as a commercial venture.  I think the Guv'ment is kicking in money to support this rural initiative and that's fine with me.
 
            
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
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We use Wildblue and while we have had a few troubles with them, a couple of short bitch sessions with them on the phone fixed the problem, and resulted in about 4 months free service for the trouble we had.  We generally get pretty good results from their people when we have troubles with their service, which is usually not any.
We don't use our connection for any business use, other than buying on line, and have the lowest bandwidth package available from them.  We occasionally get "exceeding bandwidth" messages from them, (mostly when grandkids are playing games online) but not often, and we do use the internet extensively. 
All in all we have had pretty good service from them, but we also do not push the envelope as far as "hotrod" hardware, our computers are pretty basic.  I guess that is most of the reason we haven't had much in the way of problems with them.
The company I work for switched from Wildblue to DSL when it became available.  They are a small rural construction company.  They say they do not see any difference between it and Wildblue.  As I understand it, there are also different speeds available in DSL? I wouldn't know since we never had it, and they are on a lower bandwidth program, they say.
There are not many options for rural internet, and really, I have to say that we are overall content with using Wildblue for our needs.
 
                                    
Posts: 59
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jacque g wrote:
Yeah, the only thing worse than satellite is dial-up! We have Hughes, and it is pretty annoying.

How's cell service where you live? Verizon has a gadget/service called MiFi by which you can get internet service over their cell towers. The user I talked to was very satisfied with it, and the price was competitive with our HughesNet.

For those of us living in the backwoods, I think internet over the cellular network is the coming thing. We'll never get fiber optic, etc., and satellite service limits data downloads where many cell planes don't.



Run, run, run away from Mifi internet as fast as you can.  I bought it last year.  My BIL got Verizon's Mifi, and I was going to do that, but then found out about no contract service from Virgin Mobile and did that instead.

It was great from last summer until February 10th.  Reasonably fast, not as fast as a broadband connection but much faster than dialup.

On February 10, Virgin Mobile "throttled" the speed of its customers due to overselling their product and not having the capacity to handle the volume.  My BIL told me Verizon has done the same in the past few weeks.

After they "throttled" me, I found it almost impossible to get online at all during peak hours, such as the evening, and it was much slower than dial up.  Pages wouldn't load properly or completely.  I spent a couple of frustrating calls with tech support, only to have them finally admit that it wasn't a problem with my equipment, but the "throttling." 

I ditched it and got DSL. 

I wouldn't advise anyone to try a Mifi device at this time.  IF the companies had the capacity to actually provide the service they advertised, it would be fine.  But at this time, they don't.  So, I basically wasted about $350 bucks between the device itself and a "dongle" I needed to send the system over my home wireless network -- got all of about 8 months of use out of this investment.

I guess if I was the only person who is having this issue, I'd say it was just me.  But, when I checked out reviews of the Mifi device on Amazon.com, all kinds of people are posting bad reviews because of this issue -- I posted about my experiences just to warn others not to waste their money on Mifi at this time.  Good concept, very bad execution.
 
Posts: 236
Location: Seattle, WA
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If you can recruit some local geeks (or have the aptitude yourself) you can get quite a bit done in this regard.  Back when WiFi (802.11b) first came out many of us started messing around with the technology and were able to use off-the-shelf hardware and get 5-11 megabit network links over 5-15 miles.

If you can get an open line of site view to another location that has a network connection, you can get it to your house too. The hardest thing to do is getting an antenna that is stationary enough so as to not move at all in the wind.

Check out http://metrix.net/ for hardware. These guys were an off shoot of SeattleWireless.net; an effort to create a freely available mesh network in the Seattle area.  Lots of cities had them and there is enough technical experience in many of these groups to get internet to just about anywhere.  As long as you are willing to learn enough to maintain the systems yourself, it can be done.
 
steward
Posts: 3416
Location: woodland, washington
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I'll commiserate on the WildBlue front.  just quit when we found we had access to a local outfit.  half the price for twice the bandwidth and no cap.  even having to pay $15/month for the time remaining in our two-year contract, it's still cheaper.  paying that all at once hurt, though.

I was going to suggest exactly what woodlandmonk beat me to.  since WildBlue won't want their dish back, you might be able to use it to connect to another network, so long as you've got line of sight.  it will involve some soldering, and maybe a Ubiquiti Bullet, but it can be done.  plenty of other ways to do it, too.  and finding a tech-savvy relative to coerce is a reasonable alternative to figuring it all out yourself.
 
            
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One of the issues I've worried about is internet in a rural setting. So far it seems the options are very limited on what you can use to access internet from a rural location. Right now I'm in the suburbs but someday wish to get some land and I want it far from cities, however I like my internet lol.

I'm also a very heavy internet user as I love to watch videos on how to do things. I wouldn't want to see how much bandwidth I use in a given month so using anything with a restriction would be a waste of my money.

Maybe someday rural broadband internet will be common?
 
Posts: 2
Location: USA
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I see this thread is kind of old, but I just want to say that I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. we had wildblue/exceed for a while and we got to a point where we couldn't take it anymore. we were recommended to it by friends who told us it was so much better than hughs WHAT WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT? we were thinking to ourselves. if you're looking for a good hughesnet gen4 satellite internet provider, we haven't found anything better (yet) than http://www.calera.biz . its not perfect but at least we're not going bald from frustration anymore! if you know a better one, please list it here because our contract is almost over and we might switch if we can get a better deal somewhere else!
 
Posts: 47
Location: The Netherlands
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Mina Price wrote:I see this thread is kind of old, but I just want to say that I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. we had wildblue/exceed for a while and we got to a point where we couldn't take it anymore. we were recommended to it by friends who told us it was so much better than hughs WHAT WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT? we were thinking to ourselves. if you're looking for a good hughesnet gen4 satellite internet provider, we haven't found anything better (yet) than http://www.calera.biz . its not perfect but at least we're not going bald from frustration anymore! if you know a better one, please list it here because our contract is almost over and we might switch if we can get a better deal somewhere else!

How rural are you? How far are your nearest neighbours or perhaps the closest place that has broadband an do you have a cell phone signal out there?
 
Posts: 75
Location: Montana
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Ars Technica just did a great article on a community powered internet service - http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/11/how-a-group-of-neighbors-created-their-own-internet-service/

Did anyone here end up with a good solution to their internet woes?
relay-point-640x346.png
[Thumbnail for relay-point-640x346.png]
treelay
 
Posts: 66
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I've been using Exede for almost 1.5 years now. It's been serviceable. They came out with a new package around the time I signed up that had data limits that aren't completely ridiculous, so I've got 150 GB of transfer per month at 99 bucks (which is still expensive, I know). I would go with another option immediately if it was available, but for now the Exede is working OK.
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 491
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Sharla Kew wrote:Ars Technica just did a great article on a community powered internet service - http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/11/how-a-group-of-neighbors-created-their-own-internet-service/

Did anyone here end up with a good solution to their internet woes?



Life changed, and I moved near a big city! Living so close in is a mixed bag, and it's comcast, but it's way better than satellite.
 
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Whitefish, Montana
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Hey Dave,

I've dealt a lot with bad internet options. When I'm mobile or in very low cell phone signal areas, I use my iPhone as mobile hotspot and supercharge it's reach with this booster: https://jet.com/product/pdp/3458553ce6e24dec9e408e14fc30d884
 
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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A Walton wrote:I've been using Exede for almost 1.5 years now. It's been serviceable. They came out with a new package around the time I signed up that had data limits that aren't completely ridiculous, so I've got 150 GB of transfer per month at 99 bucks (which is still expensive, I know). I would go with another option immediately if it was available, but for now the Exede is working OK.



I wish I had that. I've been with them for years and pay $90 for 15 GB. I just went on their website and for $99 bucks now you get 18 GB for $99 a month (there's a deal for $69 for the first three months).
 
pollinator
Posts: 1467
Location: Vancouver Island
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Sharla Kew wrote:Ars Technica just did a great article on a community powered internet service - http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/11/how-a-group-of-neighbors-created-their-own-internet-service/

Did anyone here end up with a good solution to their internet woes?



The main word in the article is "community". There are (for years) methods of networking between individuals but the costly part is hooking that small network up to the wire. It is that gateway that wants to charge lots. A community might have the monetary base to afford that part.

There are some things that can be done to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed too. Email without html, irc instead of skype... text based browsers. Read a book rather than watch a movie/video. read an article instead of listening to a podcast. (I find I can read an article with the same info as a podcast in about 1/4 to 1/3 the time.)

However, if one is doing any kind of work at home that relies on internet, everything changes. I personally do software development. The people I work with use IRC for communication (and customer service BTW), we use git for sharing code, so that only a diff needs to be moved to or from the main server, not the whole code pack every time. (300Mbyte 20 minutes to build from scratch) A movie is double that (at minimum quality) or more. Download a book in html is 1mbyte or so.

Splitting off line and on line work can be helpful too. Maybe we just need to think differently about how we use internet. 24/7 is nice (I have a server in the basement for our mail) but not a need. Communication between like minded people is healthy and some form of communication is needed. In a move from urban life to permaculture though one of the first things one should be doing is getting to know neighbors. Urban life tends to be self focused rather than community focused. Almost like monoculture where we only meet with those who think the same. Getting to know the folks close by if they think the same or not helps you to be a part of the the land you live on. It is a type of polyculture that can strengthen us. (the same is true in urban areas BTW)

Anyway, Doing email? Take laptop to local library download all new messages to drive. Browse a bit, but do not look at the email. Go home read and answer email. Next time you hook laptop up it will deliver all email and pick up new stuff.

I love the online life, but really? I probably go through at least 1000 times the band width I need.
 
Posts: 15
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In rural Britain some people got tired of waiting for BT to get a clue and built their own fiber optic network.
http://b4rn.co.uk/
It takes quite a few people to make this cost effective and you need to run cable to "civilization" but it's doable. In America I'd be more worried about bureaucrats getting in the way than anything else. 1Gbps symmetric to the home is entry level on this. Cities should have had this years ago but the telco monopolies are delaying the inevitable fiber rebuild as long as they possibly can. A mix of fiber and point-to-point wireless might work, depends on your situation. In Michigan I'd look into connection to Merit's fiber backbone which has expanded deep into rural areas.
http://merit.edu/services/internet_network/
 
Posts: 77
Location: Maryland, USA
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The problem is cost...

“We’re not making any money here, we’re just covering our costs,” Sutton said.

I have installed a statewide emergency communications network, and was able to reach hundreds of sites with a single exception, so the problem is rarely technical. The major hurdles are regulatory and financial. To do this, you need to be a federally licensed ISP. Which means a team of lawyers. And it may cost thousands of dollars in equipment, and thousands more in labor (if you don't have volunteers) to reach each customer. Then a tree grows and blocks the signal, you can't get permission to cut it, so you have the cost of a second install. All this costs money, and few customers are willing to pay hundreds per month for faster IInternet. Then Verizon sticks up a tower, half your customers switch and you go bankrupt. I have seen several rural ISPs start up around around here using federal grant money, and go bankrupt a few years later.

I think what made the network in the article possible, was the free legal services offered by members, and lots of free labor to design, implement, and maintain the network so the $25,000 they borrowed could be spent on equipment for their 50 customers. I think a Co-op with lots of volunteers is probably the best bet for rural area Internet at a reasonable cost.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1467
Location: Vancouver Island
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Len Ovens wrote:
I love the online life, but really? I probably go through at least 1000 times the band width I need.



Hmm, just tried "Links" a text browser (think browser in a terminal) which loaded this forum faster than I have ever seen. The only problem was that when I selected the "quote" link it just wants to give me the image that goes with the button rather than the link under it

Interesting things one can find out reading the help screen:

"Many servers deny caching even if their content is not changing
just to get more hits and more money from ads."

I installed "elinks" (extended links) and it seems to deal with with these forums just fine. It does take some getting used to...
 
Brian Stretch
Posts: 15
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You can disable automatic image loading in your browser instead of using a text mode browser. about:config permissions.default.image toggles this in Firefox. Back when dialup was popular this was an easier to find menu option. You'll be able to select which images you want to load.
 
Posts: 2
Location: roma, italia
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in italy we have ninux, but i don't know so much of them http://wiki.ninux.org/FrontPage
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1467
Location: Vancouver Island
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Brian Stretch wrote:You can disable automatic image loading in your browser instead of using a text mode browser. about:config permissions.default.image toggles this in Firefox. Back when dialup was popular this was an easier to find menu option. You'll be able to select which images you want to load.



For most people that is probably the better option. In my case I already use terminal based applications for email (alpine), irc (irssi) and system maintenance using screen as my session manager via ssh. So I was looking for a browser that could run alongside this mess.
 
A Walton
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Charles Kelm wrote:
I wish I had that. I've been with them for years and pay $90 for 15 GB. I just went on their website and for $99 bucks now you get 18 GB for $99 a month (there's a deal for $69 for the first three months).



Wow yeah I just looked at the site and it's as you say. I guess I got in at the right time! I'm hoping they aren't going to force me to change the terms.

Edit: I looked at Hughes Net and they have a 100GB plan for 79.99. Don't know how the service is though.
 
Posts: 90
Location: Minnesota
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I have beef think about ways to get better internet my self. We have a "6 mbs" plan that normally runs at <1 mbs . Being in IT this is really frustrating since I want to work from home some times.

I know we have fiber running down the highway right next to the house. I am just scared of finding out the price to hook into it. I am so tempted to find out what it would take to hook in and put up an antenna and sell some internet to the closest houses to me.

Now reading this thread it sounds like I might have to be registered to do this? Any idea what it takes to be registered?
 
Posts: 3
Location: Connecticut, USA
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I have some property in rural Missouri where the options are slim. One of the ideas I have considered is directly contacting a local ISP and shelling out some extra cash for them to put up a pair of Ubiquiti's AirFiber bridges.

They have a few different options, both unlicensed bands 5GHz and 24GHz with ranges spanning from 13-100km, and sub-millisecond latency (which means FaceTime/Skype/VoIP/gaming/remote desktop will actually work). The AF5 option only costs $999 and can span 100km (62 miles) at 1.2+Gbps. If you can find a willing ISP, I can't imagine a better option short of running physical fiber. That's enough internet to power a pretty substantial community.

Interesting note: One of the reasons Ubiquiti came up with the product was that ISPs in developing nations were having trouble with people digging up and cutting data wires with the intention of scrapping the copper only to find fiber. Entire cities were getting internet outages with massive repair costs, and repair crews were having trouble keeping up with it all.
 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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A Walton wrote:
Wow yeah I just looked at the site and it's as you say. I guess I got in at the right time! I'm hoping they aren't going to force me to change the terms.

Edit: I looked at Hughes Net and they have a 100GB plan for 79.99. Don't know how the service is though.



Can you link to that plan? All I see are 3 significantly worse plans at Hughes Net.

Thank you
 
Posts: 140
Location: Zone 7a
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I would strongly advise against Hughes Net unless it is the only option you have. Even then I would consider just not having internet. We had them for two years but their service was terrible. The last four months of it we had no internet - FOUR MONTHS! They sent people out to get our internet working and each time the person left without getting it fixed - a different person each time.

We switched to one of those plug in 3g cards and were very much more satisfied even though we barely had enough signal to make a phone call. If you can get a cell signal I would recommend them instead of satellite internet.
 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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Thomas Partridge wrote:I would strongly advise against Hughes Net unless it is the only option you have. Even then I would consider just not having internet. We had them for two years but their service was terrible. The last four months of it we had no internet - FOUR MONTHS! They sent people out to get our internet working and each time the person left without getting it fixed - a different person each time.

We switched to one of those plug in 3g cards and were very much more satisfied even though we barely had enough signal to make a phone call. If you can get a cell signal I would recommend them instead of satellite internet.



Thanks. I know how bad HughesNet is, although I've never had it. If the HughesNet offer the other poster spoke about is a valid offer (150 Gb for $80/mo), then I would like to use it as a bargaining chip to try to get a better deal with my current provider. I would never actually switch to HughesNet.
 
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Good luck.
We have to connect by tethering to our phones with AT&T. Have a ridge that partially blocks the nearest tower. Hoping another tower gets put up before too long. They have gotten to throttling us. Only other option is Hughes/Exede satellite.
 
A Walton
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I was able to find the 150GB Exede plan:

http://www.exede.com/freedom/
 
Cal Burns
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A Walton wrote:I was able to find the 150GB Exede plan:

http://www.exede.com/freedom/


30GB is the highest they offer for our area, about what AT&T provides after they play with the numbers.
 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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Cal Burns wrote:

A Walton wrote:I was able to find the 150GB Exede plan:

http://www.exede.com/freedom/


30GB is the highest they offer for our area, about what AT&T provides after they play with the numbers.



Maybe they like your zip code better than mine. When I follow your link, they ask for my zip code (98230), then the only plans I see are:
Essential 10 - 10 GB @ $40/mo
Liberty 12 - 12 GB @ $50/mo
Liberty 18 - 18 GB @ $70/mo
Liberty 30 - 30 GB @ $100/mo

What am I missing?
 
Posts: 944
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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For the price Essential 10 really isn't that bad. 12mb/second, 10 GB data allowance, unmeasured downloads from 3am to 8am [scheduled downloads are your friend here] for 40$ per month.

I'm actually considering jumping ship from Comcast/Xfinity for it.
 
Charles Kelm
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:For the price Essential 10 really isn't that bad. 12mb/second, 10 GB data allowance, unmeasured downloads from 3am to 8am [scheduled downloads are your friend here] for 40$ per month.

I'm actually considering jumping ship from Comcast/Xfinity for it.



I have been with them for several years and much prefer my unmeasured hours - Midnight to 5AM. I pay $80 (plus $10 equipment lease) for 15 Gb + the early morning unlimited.
 
A Walton
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Screenshot of the Exede Freedom page attached.

exede.png
[Thumbnail for exede.png]
 
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