Saturday, September 8, 2012

INTERNET IN THE BOONIES

The Broadband Ray Gun from Viasat
Boonies is an interesting word. it is a derivation of the word “Boondock.” Boondock derives from the Tagalog (Philippines) word bundok, meaning “mountain.” American soldiers learned the word during the occupation of the Philippines in the early 20th century and skewed the meaning to mean any remote and wild place.

Those of you who live in the boonies have long been ignored by high speed internet providers. Up until recently, you had a choice of internet over cellular towers or slow and expensive satellite internet from companies like HughesNet and Wildblue. That is no longer the case.

First, a little background: Wildblue was purchased by Viasat back in 2009. In late 2011, Viasat launched the most advanced internet satellite in the world named Viasat 1. It is now located 22,230 miles above our heads and is aiming its ray gun directly at the boonies. Viasat is calling their service “Exede.”

In the old days (last year) speeds of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) were common with satellite providers. The new Viasat service delivers 12Mbps. How fast is that? Well, a typical song from iTunes is about 4 megabytes (MB-note the large “B” versus the small “b.” Megabytes [MB] are much larger than megabits[Mb]). At 1.5Mbps, that song would take about 20 seconds to download. At 12Mbps, it takes about 2.5 seconds.

Although the Exede service is fast, it’s only 1 satellite right now. In order to provide service to millions of people, Viasat has caps on the amount of data you can use before your speed is “throttled” (reduced). Internet packages start at $49.99 per month for 7.5 gigabytes (GB) per month, $80 for 15GB and $130 for 25GB.

How “generous” is that? That is difficult to nail down. The 7.5Gb plan would allow you to download over 1500 songs. A typical user doing basic surfing and checking email will never get even close to using the 7.5GB limit of the basic plan. However, if you subscribe to Netflix (high definition movies over the internet) you will consume 2GB per hour. That means you will blow through your data limit watching just one 2.5 hour movie. Once you reach your limit, Exede will throttle your speed 90%. That sounds like alot but even the “throttled” speed is 10 times faster than dialup speeds many of you in the boonies are still enduring.


The plans are still a little pricey compared to the service us cityfolk receive from phone company and cable providers. However, if you read my last article on MagicJack phone service, you folks in the boonies could switch to Exede for internet, purchase MagicJack for as little $20.00 per year then cancel your old phone service. That makes the plans much more affordable.

My company recently started offering this service so give us a shout if you have any questions.

2 comments:

Dipak das said...

Hello,
I use Hughes Net Gen4.This is the next generation of best high-speed satellite Internet that will let you do more of what you want online You may use it....

renee said...

I have hughes net and my 2 year contract is up and now the service has been slower than a snail I have never been able to get net flix because it wasn't fast enugh my new daughter-in-law said when they put the wireless router in they put it on the least amount of mgbites they could about 3 a min i guess and it is capable of 15 she was mad they did that to me because i was and are still computer challanged so i'm not happy with it at all thanks