Alternative Internet Options?

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By an edhat reader

This has been discussed before but does anyone know if there are alternative internet options available, or coming soon, other than Cox and Frontier?

I've seen a few articles about Starlink and a few others that might be available here soon. Any ideas?

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OpossumBoy Jun 18, 2021 06:05 PM
Alternative Internet Options?

Depends on the speed you need. I used to use a satellite dish from Wildblue, so did my neighbor. It had incredible throughput, but you pay $$$ for it. There’s another satellite service, but I forget who it is. I get good enough throughput just using my iphone as a “personal hotspot,” to connect a computer.

ParvoPup Jun 18, 2021 06:31 PM
Alternative Internet Options?

There are satellite based options but each has their own particular issues compared to land based cable or DSL.

Wildblue - good throughput but ownership changes every three to four years.

Hughesnet - don't, just don't. Data caps, overcharges and laggy as all get out. Support services are farmed out to contractors that rotate faster than a revolving door.

ViaSat - 25 meg is their current top end - handles a small family usage fairly well but support comes from one guy out of LA so if you have a problem - it will take while to get it fixed.

Not sure where you live, but there are local point-to-point wifi outfits like Kiza Wireless who offer decent 25 to 50 meg service. They lease a fiber backhaul pipe from a carrier and then use small dishes to bounce your feed from one hilltop customer to another to get to you. Mostly in the SY Valley where they have lines of sight.

Starlink - the Space X Elon Musk project - the one that launches 60 sats at a time - should be open for general use by year's end, you can try to sign up as a Beta tester though. 500 bucks for the dish, tripod and modem, 100 bucks a month for speeds up to 100 meg . It's DIY at the moment but expected to break out for general use later this year after final FCC sign-off.

FernaldPoint93108 Jun 18, 2021 07:01 PM
Alternative Internet Options?

T-Mobile is coming out with a box that connects your wifi to their 5G cellular network. This type of service from various cell providers will be the first real competition Cox has ever had locally.

SB Barbarian Jun 19, 2021 10:06 AM
Alternative Internet Options?

AT&T offers internet service, but not in SB. They have offered it for a couple of years or more. They offer 5G, and other wifeless plans, as well as streaming content, but not the juice to power it. That remains mostly Cox's monopoly to mismanage and overcharge us, as they have since they came to town in the 1970's. Cox just does not give a damn - never has.

ParvoPup Jun 19, 2021 03:29 PM
Alternative Internet Options?

Many moons ago when landline telephones were first coming to be, cities quickly realized that having multiple companies hanging cable, wires and lines on poles would end up with 50 foot poles with tens if not hundreds of competing wires strung between them - each belonging to a separate company.

What cities decided to do, and what led in a round-about way to the creation of PUCs - was to award exclusive rights contracts to individual companies so that only one set of cables, lines and drops would be on a phone pole. For our county, over the years it ended up being GTE - Verizon - Frontier that had the rights to phone poles. For San Luis county - Ma Bell as Pacific Bell got the rights. In Ventura county - half went to PacBell, the other went to GTE.

When DSL came out in 98, the same rules applied - you own the poles, the lines, the rights - you own the DSL.

With the advent of cable TV, the same rules were applied - companies would bid for an area and the winner got exclusive rights to service that community. Hence, Cox in SB, Comcast in North County, Charter in SLO.

You can bitch, moan and carry on all day about the "city council", but these formats and decisions predates everyone on the council and has for decades.

No new company is ever going to come into an established city and spend the billions of dollars obtaining easement rights, leases on the poles, the cables, the fiber, the drops to the houses - too costly and would never pass a regulatory approval process anyway. So no one tries.

The embedded companies have been upgrading their respective back-haul networks from copper wire to fiber optics to increase your speeds and bandwidth - people crow about "fiber to the home" - but most companies dropped that idea when the costs to do so penciled out to the unsustainable category.

What we can look forward to are the types of services that does not require a massive physical infrastructure - satellite based systems - Starlink being one with a lot of promise. The instillation of 5g mini-cells by the three major cellular companies has the most immediate potential. The term you will hear is "fixed wireless". A small antenna mounted on your house that talks to a cell tower to give your modem Internet access.

In the hinterlands of Santa Ynez, Verizon provides this service. AT&T has been deploying it in Northern SB County and SLO county for going on two years already. Not sure where T-Mobile is as yet.

Like I tell my clients - everybody and their dog works to create super cool things to do on the Internet - but few companies are willing to spend the billions it takes to build an Internet to run these apps over.

EastBeach Jun 21, 2021 10:40 AM
Alternative Internet Options?

PARVOPUP: Another piece of the puzzle is national legislation and regulatory policies which reach far beyond city councils. I doubt anyone on Edhat cares but ... the 1996 Telecommunications Act required the large carriers to lease their infrastructure to new players called "CLECs" to provide local loop services (Covad was a CLEC operating in Santa Barbara in the late 1990's and used to be my DSL provider using GTE/Verizon's phone lines). But over the years the big telecom companies have killed the Telecommunications Act and CLECs are no more. Broadband is now very much a national issue controlled by lobbyists and their GOP enablers. Republicans have sided with the large telecomm companies, controlled national policy via the FCC, and at the same time complain about similar large tech companies like Google and Amazon. They support big tech, until they don't.

EastBeach Jun 21, 2021 10:46 AM
Alternative Internet Options?

Forgot to add info on CLECs and related ILECs .....

pxn Jun 19, 2021 01:17 PM
Alternative Internet Options?

Press the city council candidates on this issue -- getting rid of the cox monopoly would do us all a lot of good.

ZeroHawk Jun 21, 2021 09:33 AM
Alternative Internet Options?

as much as i personally hate cox, there is no monopoly. the existing equipment in SB county is old and not standard. Cox's equipment fits and works with it whereas other providers can't use the existing equipment. That's their loophole. Frontier is awful. Satellite internet is good but expensive. i'm paying $140 a month for super fast service that i don't get. why? because cox doesn't update their own equipment to handle the speeds they are charging us for. The last contracted installer spelled it out for me and was about to change jobs so he really didn't care anymore. I hate cox, but we're stuck with them unless we can afford starlink.

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