isp alternatives for very rural areas?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have an elderly friend who lives around 10 miles from me. He however has been reliant upon a 40 mile unlimited calling circle from his phone company for $20 per month to make 99% of his calls including isp service (he can only call maybe 300 people toll free without calling circle).
Well his local phone company is dropping this calling circle plan as they say people using it to connect to isps are making it unprofitable. They are now happy to sell you all time you want at 8cents per minute or you can buy blocks of time at 4-5cents per minute. How generous when onesuite.com is 2.9cents per minute.
Needless to say, this makes connecting to internet prohibitably expensive. I've been searching around and cheapest 1-800 isp service I found is 1.7 cents per minute prepaid which comes to $1.02 per hour. I wont even mention name as I know nothing of their reliability or potential hidden charges. Even at this price it would only be useful for quickly grabbing/sending email with an email client. Even a couple hours per day would push cost up to where the 2way satellite isp service would be price competitive. I also found whats called monthly flat rate long distance phone service. Its suppose to provide unlimited long distance service for a monthly fee. Companies offering it from $36 per month to over $100 per month. All seem to have disclaimer that its for voice calls only, not for data transmission/modem connections. Then most also add in fine print that service is capped at 5000 minutes. Didnt seem that great of a deal.
Anybody else out there with this problem where almost every call including isp service is a long distance call? Any unique solutions? Thankfully I have a different phone company and dont need a calling circle, but suppose that could change if my phone company decides to add to its profit and bribes(excuse me, I mean donates to) a few politicians.
-- Hermit John (hermit@hilltop_homestead.zzn.com), September 01, 2001
Hi John, I found this out too just moving to a very rural area where none of the big companies have a local access number. Check your phone book under internet providers or computers. I was surprised to find that in our tiny area there was a isp provider locally. I was also surprised to find that unlimited access was $19.95 a month ---The same I had been paying with MSN but the connection has turned out to be much faster and with fewer dropped connections that I had with MSN. If your town doesn't have one, check some of the other neighboring towns. Some of the calling areas of the isp provider is remarkably large and may service your area with a local access number but may not do a phone book listing because advertising is so expensive. Also, check your local newspapers. Best of luck!
-- Karen in Virginia (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 01, 2001.
Until recently just about every call we made was long distance, including to the nearest city. There is a company out here that we've been with for five years, Great Northern Remote Access Company. We've been very happy with the service. Not the cheapest, but reasonable. They specialize in providing local ISP service to our rural corner of the county. Perhaps you can find a similar provider in your area.
-- Skip in Western WA (email@example.com), September 01, 2001.
We had that same problem where we live. We made lots of calls including to the FCC complaining about rural areas with no cheap internet access. One ISP told us that GTE, now Verizon, which was our phone company, had made some commitment to provide a toll-free rollover number just to get to an ISP. The problem was getting GTE to make good on their agreement--forget it. The other possibility was a group of people getting together to form their own ISP (I think I have this right); it meant putting out some money initially which presumably would be earned back as the service spread. We finally just paid $20 more a month for an expanded area calling so we could get an ISP on a local number and then try to use free internet service, so we're still in the $19.95 a month ballpark. Our big gripe is being so far from the switching station that our service is unbelievably slow at times. I'm waiting for cheap satellite connections. Good luck in your search.
-- Katherine in KY (KyKatherine@Yahoo.com), September 01, 2001.
I think I may have gotten really lucky on my land. I'm exactly half a mile from a Verizon (formerly GTE) switching station. I'm hoping that'll give me good ISP connection speeds. The trade-off is that I'm that same half mile from a new subdivision. :-/ Oh, well... I guess life is full of trade offs. Amazingly, while servicing that subdivision, our local cable TV service provider expresses absolutely no interest whatsoever in running a line down to me from that same point. Gotta love those utilities, don't you?
-- Gary in Indiana (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 01, 2001.
Good news for my friend, maybe. Heard from another person in town that like Skip mentioned there is a small isp that specializes in adopting small rural towns without local isp dialup numbers. They are handing out cd's and application forms for it at local library. They already supposedly have couple local numbers set up for service. Seems lot of people in same boat without local isp service so this isp jumped in. Found their website but it didnt allow online signup and looked like it hadnt been updated in a while. Will see how it works out. Also signed my friend up for prepaid long distance with onesuite.com. Crunched the numbers and by just buying basic local phone service from greedy-tel(our nick-name for his local phone company), dropping ATT for out of state long distance, and assuming this new isp works out, my friend will actually pay less total bill. I hope greedy-tel loses money because of their selfish decision.
-- Hermit John (hermit@hilltop_homestead.zzn.com), September 03, 2001.