Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rural Internet: Stuck in the Slow Zone

U.S.Image via WikipediaA Twitter & SL friend, Becky McCray (@beckymcray), founder of Small Biz Survival, just pointed me to a post on the 37 Signals blog called Rural Internet: Stuck in the Slow Zone.

I still haven't had a chance to read all of the 159 comments, however, one person did mention Wild Blue as a satellite option. Well, I already checked into Wild Blue, and they don't service Tok, much less Alaska - according to the rep with whom I spoke.

Then I was struck with this suggestion, and I must admit, it made me want to cry as much as laugh:

Further alternatives:
- Messenger pigeons
- Smoke signals
- Pony Express

I've already looked into satellite with Starband, however, after being on hold for 1/2 an hour then leaving a voicemail message, their sales reps have yet to call me back (3 days and counting).

Right now, I have one cellphone with Verizon service so I should call them next although technically they do not service Alaska and run over ACS Alaska towers which don't work in Tok. I may have to transfer that number to another provider - that means, AP&T, the only local provider in the area as far as I can tell.

My other cellphone - my iPhone - is with AT&T - and one AT&T rep recently told me that yes, they not only service Tok Alaska but actually have a tower there so I could get connected to their Internet card package. More on that in another post.

In the meanwhile, I will scour the 159 messages on the 37 Signals blog post to see if I can find some obscure but effective way of accessing the Internet at a reasonable speed and for a reasonable price. I'm already resigned to the fact that I'm looking at about $200/month. But for only 10 Gigs allowance and 512k transfer speed, it still pains me.
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Gee Four said...

Check with Will Johnson in Fairbanks with Hughes. I think it's more expensive than Starband, but he might have some resources for you:

Also, ask Bronk Jorgenson over at All Alaska gifts there in Tok. I think they use Starband at their place in Chicken, but I'm not sure about the gift store.
"Fast Eddy's" is pretty fast. And free. That's what I like about that place. I think they're Starband.

Finally, check with my friends at Microcom.
They've worked w/Dish, w/DirecTV, w'Starband, w/Globalstar and w/all variety of ne'er-do-wells in the field.
OH, how I hate dial-up. I hate EVEN MORE fast wireless that is SLOWER than dial-up.

Becky McCray said...

Thanks for the shout out! A couple of those commenters mentioned dual setups, whether dual phone lines with dial up or other dual tech, to double speeds. And the guy with the sailboat talks about using 3G. So, keep investigating. And glad to see the local scoop being shared.

Good luck, and stay in touch!

Tania said...

I don't have any good suggestions, other than to tell you that you're not alone.

I was at the Tok Clinic for work back in September, and the slow connection is something that holds them back from offering/partnering on telemedicine services.

Good luck, and welcome to the Interior!