Well, the real world has finally come to our own private Idaho.

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Over the last few years I have popped in here pretty regularly.   Mostly to find out why my service was hosed at any one time or another. 

Then I started to see how others were dealing with it and was still happy to have any service at all.  We had no cell service, sa landline that would have cost over a hundred bucks a month for something we never used, and a satellite isp that really and truly sucked at times.

Then a month or so ago I saw one post that had a quick mention of the new Verizon prepaid unlimited plan.  I did some research and figured we'd wait until we got a good deal on a decent Jetpack.

I think I mentioned recently that we finally got a Verizon tower that overlooks our place.  In all reality, we of all the homes in our area, have the best LOS to it from what I can tell.  Just having actual reliable cell service was a blessing, but then we also have unlimited tethering at 640 kbps.  That seems very slow, but invariably, we were able to stream with a much better and reliable picture with that, than we were with Viasat.  That is even without a slowdown.

Then the Holiday Slowdown happened this year.  Most years we just suffer through it, but this year was the worst we've had in the nearly 5 years we've been here.  It was down to 1.5 mbps and that was on a good moment.  We were under that for much of the time.  This is with the Freedom Plan with 150 Gigs at 25mbps.  Needless to say, that was the proverbial straw.

So I checked out Amazon and we were able to pick up the recently top of the line Jetpack the 7730L refurbished for 139 bucks.  Set up the bring your own device prepay service with Verizon for 70 bucks, add in 10 bucks for a new SIM card and off we went. 

So for 219, which we are paying 165 for Viasat, so it was a 54 dollar investment, since I didn't pay next months payment, we have speedy reliable internet.  And the best is it is truly unlimited, with a very rarely, if ever used in our area congestion adjustment.  However, our's is a new tower in a relatively speaking, sparsely populated area, so it shouldn't be an issue.

How well does it work?

Very well.  It clocks in between 25 and 35 mbps, and I've seen it at 45 mbps.  TV streams so well, I didn't realize what we were missing.  Web pages load instantly, Youtube is a whole new ballgame.  Like I said, I had forgotten what real internet was like.

In all fairness, I am honestly thankful for Viasat.  We would have had no internet and no phone service if it wasn't for them.  I also understand the unforeseen technical issues they ended up having with bird 2.  Overselling the bandwidth was a gamble they took, and it bit them, but it is just business, so I get it.  Win some, lose some.

That being said, I am very gratefull to have a real terrestrial service.

If you go this route, it needs to be the unlimited "prepaid" plan.  the regular post pay unlimited is a tiny 15-20 gigs of data, then you are throttled down to 640 kbps.  Which isn't actually so bad with no lag and steady speed.  Downloads suck, but streaming is passable.

Anyway, I have enjoyed my time here.  I'll probably pop in every once in a while, as most folks on here are some of the friendliest and most patient folks I've run into.

Oh, the one bad thing about a Jetpack, is that it is portable.  My kid decided they needed it this week on their trip, so I am stuck tethering for a few days.  Oh well, still better than satellite.  LOL.
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VinylHanger

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Posted 2 months ago

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fmj77

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I'd love to have a cell tower near me, but it'll likely never happen. So I'm stuck with satellite unless I decide to move to civilization one day. My only hope is that SpaceX or one of these other companies who are planning to launch low orbit satellites come through with their plans.

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VinylHanger

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I think the low orbit satellite companies will be game changers for sure.  If they get the much touted 60 to 100 mbps with no perceived lag they say they will, it will be awesome indeed.

I think that Viasat will be in trouble at that point, unless they keep the commercial work.

That being said, I'm not sure how that many satellites, plus the others they will spawn, will fit up there without damaging things, but I suppose that's their problem.

I'm also a bit leery of this 5g microwave satellite thing they are talking about.  but hey, if I can cook my egg with my phone, that might save time in the morning.

Either way, it looks like there are some amazing things going on.
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GabeU, Champion

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If I could get at least three bars all the time I might seriously contemplate something like this, but I can't.  Quite often I'm lucky if I get two.  The tower is only about 1.35 miles from here, but it's on the other side of a forested hill, so the signal is fairly degraded.   
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VinylHanger

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You may be able to get a better signal with an added antenna.  Some of the Jetpacks allow you to add one or two antennas.  From reviews, they have varying levels of reliability, but it may be an option, especially if you are getting one or two solid 4g bars. 

We didn't have any bars of even 3g before the tower unless we wandered around and found a miniscule spot on the property.
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In about '12, Verizon put the tower over 10 miles away, plus there's about 1/4 mile of dense trees. I left congested and poor Wildblue then, after seeing several installs of Exede 5 and how sporadic it was with failing page loading, failed downloads, and then the beam closing right away before that got any better. Millenicom 20GB on Verizon at the time. Roof antenna got me a usable signal, otherwise it was very picky, would not lock on well in the house, cell phone would show one bar. When the regional carrier offered something with a much higher cap, much slower but ok speed, I switched, and I upgraded to a cell booster so I could use multiple devices too, several people have them in my area. The regional cell carrier had 0 bars in my house, any device. On the roof, device only, wouldn't lock on, but around -130dBm. Worked okay with the booster for years.

Where I am, my closest neighbor is a mile away, houses are often multiple miles apart. Shopping is 30 miles away, Walmart or stores that people have actually heard of are 70. I have to drive 30 miles one way to get a pair of socks. But now, I have virtually unlimited, HD streaming capable, with 15 to 20 megs down any time of day, thanks to this new plan.

Antennas are relatively cheap, don't know your exact situation. Might try an omnidirectional antenna if I were you instead of a directional if the signal is going around and over a hill. Used equipment, or lte home routers new on eBay for less than $50 (t1114 has an antenna connector I believe). https://www.alternativewireless.com/r...

Edit:. That said I'm using a Verizon Smarthub because I didn't need an antenna connector with the booster. A new cell tower went up 13 miles away, but with line of sight. The hub in a facing window, booster off, shows 2 bars and gets about 9 Meg down.
(Edited)
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GabeU, Champion

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Thank you both for the information regarding the antennas.  
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Bev, Champion

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I'd jump on any ground based internet, if I could but, that isn't happening out here. Two families spread among five properties and, we have the whole road tied up. No one new can buy a place out here, 2 of the five are welfare people, 1 is retired. Not even worth it to maintain aluminum telephone wires to them out here. No way is it ever going to be worth running cables for internet. Only two houses would even subscribe, maybe 3 if that one has a couple of more kids to get more welfare.

As for 3 having satellite now, yes but, only two of us are paying for all three out here. 
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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For those of you that have seen the Netflix series Ozark, a good representation of Bev's area! :)
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Bev, Champion

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Yep, actually not far off, Think Hatfields and McCoys only the names have been changed to protect the guilty around here  LOL.
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GabeU, Champion

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Now THAT'S rural!  

We have seven houses on my 0.4 mile dead end road.  Four at the entrance, in which all of the people are from the same family, and three on my end, with mine, my folks', and a neighbor.  There's nothing in the middle but fields.  Two of the homes at the entrance are just little things, carted in in one piece, sort of like small, upscale trailers.  They're very nice, just small, but enough for retiree couples.  

Cable ends about 0.23 miles up the main drag from our road, so it would take a bit to get it to me.  About 3,330 feet, so it's not happening.  :(

And fiber?  Heck, I've got a better chance of getting cable!  

The Verizon guys were working on a pole across the street from me today.  The one my phone line is connected to.  For a fleeting moment I got excited.  It turns out that they were just re-hanging my neighbor's line, as they replaced the pole two years ago, but left their line connected to the old one, which was still leaning against the new one.  They were finally getting rid of the old pole altogether, so they had to move the line.  I was SOOO hoping that I was going to see a spool of fiber start unraveling for them to hang it.  Fat chance.  :(  
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VinylHanger

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Believe me, I know how you feel.  Every time the cable or phone company sends folks out to work in our area, I barrage them with questions.  Doesn't do any good.  We even have a muckity muck from the local cable office up the road from us and we still can't get anything digital on our road.

They have run fiber all over the area, but they just bypass the side roads.  My buddy lives two houses in from a main back road where they ran fiber.  He could throw a rock and hit it, but they won't run anything to his house.
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VinylHanger

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Funny thing about all this and my kid said the same thing.  We are feeling guilty for using so much data.  After years of being on a data cap, it feels a bit like we are scamming the system by using as much data as we want.  It's like if we don't use it, then someone else will have the opportunity to use it.  Or if we use too much, they will stop the plan.

Then we started to realize that for most folks, they don't even think about how much data they use because ti isn't even an issue.  I still can't imagine the data you would go through streaming all content at 4K, all day, day in and day out.  but then again, on a 100 mbps or a gig fiber line, it doesn't seem to be an issue.

I suppose it is like being on a well.  We don't worry about normal day to day use, but we also don't water the yard or pastures once it turns dry and the rains stop, especially in a prolonged dry spell.  Folks in town don't even think about it.
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fmj77

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A friend of mine in Charlotte has Spectrum cable as his internet provider. He has a seedbox that he keeps running 24/7 that uploads literally terabytes of data each month. I couldn't imagine being able to do that and not worry about going over my limit.
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Al Santayos

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My Verizon Jet Pack varies from 1-3 bars, speed does seem to vary quite a bit,from 1mbs-12mbs but it has never dropped out in 6 weeks of use even in poor weather. I am 3 miles from a tower, heavily wooded, but pretty flat. That is good enough for me. I wonder if a cell booster would help the speed?
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@Al Santayos
"I wonder if a cell booster would help the speed?"
Lots of variables with them, they don't help in every situation.  Of the several I've been around, including my own, "Very possibly".  Mine is a Wilson, they are called Weboost now, they aren't cheap (at the time, I got the cheapest home setup), but they have a 30 day money back guarantee.  You can do a quick check if you get one, just connect everything in the house, point the roof antenna out a window, and test.  They are handy if you want to have better cell service in general.  But, one device only, and closer to a tower, I'd look at a plain antenna setup first (longer range, they have some pretty fancy setups).  Some of the stores that sell this kind of stuff have good support (including Weboost itself), they could advise with "expert" opinions on what you need.  Also wireless forums of course.  I knew what to try for what I was doing, and it worked, but I did some tweaking of my own along the way.

@OldLabs
No congestion here, relatively same speed all day, 15 to 20, yes, primetime too.  This plan does say 720p on Jetpacks.  Initially a few places it said 1080p.  I was expecting a backtrack which is why I got it right away, 720p is enough for me anyway.  But, they are not enforcing that, yet at least.  Fast.com (Netflix speed test) shows about 10 meg down for me.  1080p on every video service I've tested (Prime, Hulu trial, free things).  Also, YouTube autodetects 1440p most of the time.  And a VPN gets around that anyway (for any service that doesn't block the VPN). 

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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Yes, in the spring when the forest canopy is filled in, I'm going to give one of the weBoost 4G LTE boosters with one of the outdoor directional antennas.

Before that I'm going to see if a friend who has a Verizon 4G LTE phone can even get what remotely resembles a 4G signal out here in hog hollar while the trees are bare and again when the leaves come in - boosting nothing by 2X or 3x still yields nothing ;)       
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Yes. You have to have a little signal for the booster to work.

I used a 3G booster for a few years to have cell service in the home (before a new cell tower went up). It worked, and served its purpose.
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Al Santayos

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I was managing my data on the first full monthly cycle on my Verizon Hotspot so I would get throttled down toward the end. I have now accomplished that a day before the billing cycle ends. They do mention up to speeds of .6MBS when you are cut down and right now my speed tests are between .5MBS and .58MBS strangely enough it still functions 1000% better than when my VIASAT was pulling those numbers. I can still watch YOUTUBE music videos and stream internet radio. Can one of the VIASAT homers explain why?
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Because throttling (which you've just described) is much different than deprioritization during peak usage periods. With deprioritization during peak usage periods and congestion, your pretty much stuck at the end of the line.

In your case, once throttled you aren't going to go over .6Mpbs and it's only going to go down from there dependent on congestion off your tower (everyone suffers) but you'll be serviced before those who may be deprioritized while they'll be stuck behind you in line as you keep cutting in front of them despite being throttled (they suffer more).

Try to understand the difference between throttling and deprioritization (i.e. it's technically a preemptive queuing technique) - Google is your friend on that. Then understand that Liberty plans suffer a double whammy - both throttling and deprioritization at the same time. Viasat further suffers from the inherent latency that affects all packets being sent/received.

Not defending it, not being a homer but you wanted an explanation - it is what it is but with limited capacity satellite internet really isn't a good fit for a preemptive queuing strategy imho.

The specific prepaid Verizon Unlimited plan I mentioned and screen captured above would appear to be deprioritization at all times during "times of congestion" with no throttling. Other Verizon unlimited plans throttle on exceeding data threshold and some appear to simply deprioritize along with it. Although categorized as "unlimited" they have different terms of service.
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VinylHanger

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I would expect it to. Mabe with the antenna on the roof to get a better LOS. It just depends on how much you want to spend.