Before I moved to the country, I knew my internet and television options would be limited. There would be no cable or fiber service as there is in the city. In the city, I used to switch between Spectrum cable and AT&T, regularly switching from one to the other when they offered a good deal and switching back again when the 1 or 2 year deal expired and the company jacked up the price. I played that switching game for >10 years and always had reliable service, without data limits.
The options in the country are limited to satellite or line-of-sight wireless service. I don’t watch much television and have never paid the exorbitant cost for cable tv in which one has access to hundreds of channels and watches less than a dozen of them, but I need an internet connection. It’s sadly difficult to live without some form of internet connection these days, especially when one has become accustomed to it over the last 25+ years.
Before moving out here, I did the research and found few options. The only wireless provider I identified was refreshingly honest and said their service wouldn’t work because of the trees surrounding the property and dense woods between the house and their tower. So I decided on HughesNet, a satellite provider. It was expensive ($70/month) and required a 2 year contract (before I had even tried it out), but the options that I had found, using the internet, of course;-), were few.
The internet connection itself wasn’t awful, but HughesNet put a brake on the speed of service when my usage went over 10 GB per month. It doesn’t take long at all to use 10 GB of streaming data. That’s the equivalent of about 2 movies and I made the mistake of using my “Smart TV” to watch a movie and 2-3 episodes of a history series when I first got the service. Within a week, I had used up my 10 GB of data. I could pay extra for more “tokens” to increase the amount of data, but I didn’t do that. $70/month was already considerably more than I had been accustomed to paying for basic internet service and television is an idle luxury I don’t require and can’t afford if I did.
The wi-fi was terrible, too. The HughesNet router had built-in wi-fi that was wildly unreliable and inconsistent. I would try to look at news on my phone or basic internet over wi-fi on a computer and it would be painfully slow or regularly drop the connection altogether. I could pay HughesNet another $100 for a wi-fi booster, but I didn’t trust that and certainly wasn’t going to give a lousy company any more of my money than I already had.
So I adjusted. I didn’t bother trying to watch any movies or streaming video on the television and limited the streaming video I tried to watch on the computer. Still, I went over the 10 GB of data every month well before the month was over. One night, some friends of mine came over and wanted to watch a movie. That went over like a lead balloon until my friend used his unlimited data cell phone account to stream the movie to the television.
In time, while talking to one of my new neighbors, he told me he used LiteWire, a small, LOCAL wireless company out of Evansville, WI (about 40 miles from here) and it worked great for him. I called them, they sent a technician out to test whether or not I had a line of sight to their nearest tower, and, VOILA!, he found a clear line of sight through a gap in the trees. So I signed up and everything works great, without limits or brakes or a long-term contract, the way business should be done. LiteWire is also $20/month LESS than HughesNet for MUCH better service with no limits on service. In the month that I’ve had it, it works as well as my urban internet serives, without glitches, brakes on data or interruptions. I bought my own LinkSys wi-fi router, too, for about $70, which works great right out of the box, MUCH better than the dreaded HughesNet router. No problems at all. I now have civilized internet service — city-style. It just works.
When I called HughesNet to terminate my service (and pay a serious “penalty” for ending my 2 year contract after only 5 months), the representative kept me on the phone for 29 minutes. He kept saying how they have “improved” their service and “guaranteed” I would be happier with it if I stayed. He never directly addressed the issue of a brake on speed when I used 10 GB of data and, time and again, wouldn’t take NO for an answer. Finally, he accepted the fact that I wanted to dump this lousy service even if it cost me another $380 and I had to climb up on the 2nd story roof to remove and return the dish receiver. Very irritating.
Don’t make the same costly mistake I made. If you move to the country, don’t choose HughesNet. They are awful.