Image via WikipediaAfter several more calls with AT&T and then a conversation with AP&T (Alaska Power & Telephone), the word was:
"Yes, we service Tok and you can get an Internet card from us to access the Internet. We even have a tower there." (AT&T rep)
"No, we don't service Tok at all, andyou won't even be able to get any cellphone signal in Tok." (AT&T rep)
"No, we definitely don't service Tok. It doesn't even show up on my map." (AT&T rep)
"Yes, of course AT&T services Tok, at least in town. They even sell AT&T cellphones at the General Store." (AP&T rep)
So I called AT&T once and for all, explained all the conflicting reports, and finally found out:
1. Yes, AT&T services Tok but possibly through an agreement with another telecom which is why it doesn't show up on their computers and looks like they don't service that area;
2. Yes, if they service Tok with cell service, then I can also use their Internet card on my MacBook (but I luckily told the guy that MacBooks don't have card slots and he confirmed their USB version would work for me).
So this is my "only for special occasions when I need higher bandwidth" Internet access. It is $60/month for 500-800K upload and 600k - 1.4 Meg download with a 5 Gig monthly bandwidth limit. And if it doesn't work, I have a 30-day trial period where I can return it and get a full refund ($99.99 for the USB device).
This will supplement my 512K upload/download DSL connection with a 10 Gig monthly bandwidth limit ($169.95/month) which might be good enough for basic email without causing me to pull out large chunks of hair from my head.*
Still no call back from Starband. Two weeks, two calls, and counting.
Also found out from AP&T that Hughes.net is another satellite option. Will see what they offer, too.
Basically, I'm cobbling together several Internet access options so I can continue to work from Tok.
*And a ray of hope: AP&T is converting to fiber optic and hopes to offer 3 Meg upload/download speeds sometime late Summer of 2009. I'll be waiting with bells on!