CenturyLink; Getting the Job Done

CenturyLink is consistently providing above-average services to both residential and business customers. They've got a few awards to prove it too!

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CenturyLink, based out of Monroe, LA, has been consistently working hard to help both residential and business customers stay connected. The argument could be made that all internet service providers (ISPs) do this. That is, after all, their main job. Because an ISP who doesn’t keep their customers connected will not be around for long. Despite this, there are still the okay, the good, and the exceptional ISPs. The difference between the ISPs who are exceptional, and those who aren’t, is not defined by awards. Sure, awards are nice. And it’s easy to point to them and say “we won that because we did X really well.” In fact, CenturyLink earned Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Excellence Award for 2018. And earned their Top Hybrid Service Provider in the Asia-Pacific region for the fourth year in a row. And that’s just naming the awards won for this year. But it’s not about the awards. The mark of a good ISP is when they can deliver this service without anyone noticing. In the ISP industry, as with many others, customers are quick to point out when things go wrong. Even if it’s a minor detail, there is always that “one” customer who will make a fuss about it. This is where the bulk of customer complaints/reviews come from. While these are helpful in deducing quality, they’re to be taken with a grain of salt. Reviews are usually written by someone who’s upset and wants to vent about it. As the old saying goes “You only notice it when it goes wrong.”

When It’s Obvious

Think of a college football game. There’s the team you’re rooting for, most likely your alma mater. If not your alma mater, then you’re most likely rooting for the team that’s playing against your most hated rivals. Anyway, there are the offensive players, charging up and down the field as they work to score points. And then there are the defensive players. These guys are tasked with keeping the other team from scoring points as well. They battle each other on the field, scoring, intercepting, kicking, and this is where the main action is. Throughout all of this, what’s the one thing in the background you can count on? The marching band. Each team brings their band with them to play the school fight song, covers of current pop hits, and other tunes to get the crowd involved. These bands work hard to do this every week. And these efforts usually go unnoticed. That is until someone makes a mistake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFB7y5j8UWc

When It’s Not

CenturyLink is the band that’s not making mistakes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed_oZOiUwBM Go Warhawks! On a side note; I would have highlighted Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. Not because it’s my alma mater, but because many of my in-laws went there. To keep peace in the family, I root for them when it’s appropriate. In this instance, however, priorities are different.

Back to CenturyLink…

CenturyLink, just like the Warhawk Band, consistently helping the team out on the field. And during halftime, they get to show off their stuff. But the “marching band” metaphor can only go so far. CenturyLink is not only working and earning awards for it, but they’re also helping their local communities. Back in June, they held a campaign benefiting Fight Hunger. By the end of the campaign, they’d raised over $2.4 Million for Fight Hunger. Beyond that, they helped during Hurricane Florence. CenturyLink offered free Emergency Call Forward to its North Carolina customers during the event. This service allows customers to forward calls to their wireless number to an alternate number. It’s a “just-in-case” plan for when residents need to evacuate or can’t get service to let their families know what’s happening. They may never use it, but it’s nice to have it for peace of mind. And CenturyLink provided this service for free.

By the Numbers

CenturyLinkWith a presence in 39 states and 7,339 zip codes, CenturyLink is one of the top ten largest ISPs in the nation. They’re working to expand that presence, hence, the recent merger with Level 3. CenturyLink is also expanding overseas. They have a presence in other countries and are looking to reach out into more. But let’s focus on just the United States for now. CenturyLink provides internet, cable, and voice services through three technologies. What they’re best known for is their DSL service, which is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. When it comes to fiber, CenturyLink has fiber connections in fifteen states, offering Gigabit Download speeds. Lastly, CenturyLink also offers fixed wireless. This service is available to both rural and urban customers. It’s a good option for those who don’t want a DSL connection, fiber is unavailable, and don’t want to go with satellite. Check out the best internet deals to find out CenturyLink’s availability in your area. The common complaint with ISPs is their speeds “as fast as” marketing. This means that the speed they’re advertising is not always the speed you get. When it comes to CenturyLink, they’re ranked in the top 60 ISPs when it comes to speed during peak hours. Peak hours are generally between 5 pm and 10 pm. This is when Netflix notices higher than average downloads through their service. They monitor each provider to see how fast they’re downloading during these times and post the results online. For CenturyLink, from August 2017 to August 2018, they averaged 3.31 Mbps for both their fiber and DSL services. This is a good score.

Businesses

On top of earning awards from Frost & Sullivan, CenturyLink was also named the top ethernet carrier in the US for 2017 by Vertical Systems Group. It was the first year that a network provider other than AT&T won the award. Thanks to a merger with Level 3, CenturyLink was able to vault from fifth in 2016 to first in 2017. By working with Level 3’s established connections and adding their own grit to the equation, CenturyLink came first over all. To earn this award, Century Link offers a wide range of business solutions to customers. Services like Networking, Hybrid IT & Cloud, UCaaS, Managed & IT Services, as well as security. For those small to medium-sized businesses, CenturyLink is a smart option. With an established ISP like CenturyLink providing a wide range of services, newer companies are in good hands as they work to grow.

Connect with CenturyLink

Even if you’re not a marching band fanatic, the fact remains- CenturyLink is working hard to help both residential and business customers.CenturyLink It is impressive, however, how drum corps’ work to choreograph and orchestrate these halftime shows. To do so takes a lot of time and effort to perfect the routine. Marching bands showcase this skill with yearly competitions, giving them an opportunity to shine. It’s too bad they don’t get as much attention as football does. CenturyLink, while not a marching band, is working hard to make multiple pieces move and work together with little or no issues involved. It’s not easy, nor should it be. And to earn awards means that someone’s watching. So if you’re in the market for a new ISP, be it for your home or your business, check out CenturyLink. It’ll be worth your time.

WOW is Stepping Up Their Game

The ISP industry is full of tough competition. The bigger players assume they'll win. But they're ignorant of challenger brands, like WOW.

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The ISP (internet service provider) industry is full of tough competition. Much like the fabled game of golf, being an ISP requires companies to read the landscape and adjust as necessary. Larger, more established companies are seen as the favorites, easy winners. But they're ignorant of the challengers. Challengers like WOW (Wide Open West). Coming up this weekend, the PGA is hosting the Ryder Cup in Paris, France, at Le Golf National Golf Course. It’s one of the many tour championships the PGA hosts throughout the year. And much like internet service providers, there are the well-known names, and then there are the challengers.

Golf is Golf

Golf is a difficult game to play. Some would argue it’s a difficult game to watch too.WOW The golf enthusiast would argue differently though. Golf requires strategy and skill. It’s not an easy game to play. Anyone can pick up a golf club. But it takes training and commitment to play well. Talent will only get you so far. Professional golfers practice constantly to ensure they’re ready for the big games. If they don’t perform well, then they’re not going to get sponsored. Then they don’t have a job. To get an edge in the game, golfers need to know how to read the elements around them. This is why you usually see a golf player staring pensively at the horizon as they get ready to tee off. They’re calculating the slope of the ground, wind speed, and how much force they’ll need to put into their swing. If a professional golfer were writing this, they’d likely add a lot more detail, discuss the nuance, and explain the exact science behind evaluating a shot. To summarize- it’s a lot! Luckily for golfers, the only time they need worry about this is doing this during a game. Companies like WOW, on the other hand, have to worry about this constantly.

ISPs are Not Like a Game of Golf

While golf is a challenging game, it’s only during games that competition is stiff. ISPs are competing constantly. The larger brands, like AT&T and Verizon, are well-established and have huge budgets behind their marketing. It’s “easier” for them to expand and try out new technologies. Even though they are the fifth-largest ISP in the nation, WOW is a challenger brand. They have the skills to compete with the big brands, yet, they’re having to break into markets. WOW! isn’t small by any measure. It’s just that other companies are so huge. WOW! is using this to their advantage. As a challenger brand, they’re working harder to compete on price, service, and cutting-edge technology.

Whole-Home Wi-Fi

A common complaint with wi-fi is the loss of signal even when you’re inside your home. The router may be centrally located, but the signal is getting blocked by other materials and elements in the house. As the concept of mesh wi-fi gains in popularity, WOW! is taking part in the newest trend.WOW A mesh wi-fi uses extra devices to connect to your wi-fi router. These little devices, dubbed satellites, are plugged in throughout the home and create a miniature wi-fi network within your home. WOW is partnering with EERO to provide mesh wi-fi to its customers. As part of their Whole Home Wi-Fi package, customers not only get wi-fi, but the mesh satellites are included with the service. Whole Home will help eliminate dead zones within the home. They also help when friends and family come over as well. All those extra devices on the network can bog down your speed. With a mesh wi-fi network, you’ll be able to handle the extra load.

Mesh Wi-Fi

With a mesh wi-fi, you’ll get to enjoy consistent speeds within your home. This will give you the speed you’re paying for and deliver it most of the time. Another perk of mesh wi-fi is you can move the satellites from room to room. These little satellites will work so long as they’re plugged in and within range of the router. If you want to expand your network to your garage so you can play your music while you work on your car…you can. Or say you have friends coming over and they want to hang out outside. You can move one of your satellites to an outdoor plug so you don’t have to sacrifice wi-fi coverage.

WOW! as a Challenger

Beyond mesh wi-fi, WOW! is already a solid ISP. Just ask Netflix. Netflix has a speed index rating system. They constantly check the download speeds during peak hours. These hours are generally between 5 and 10 pm at night. It’s during this time that most families are home. And when they’re home, they listening to music, watching TV, or surfing the web. To do that, they use up the wi-fi. Then there’s the house next door that’s full of people using their wi-fi too. ISPs generally see a dip in performance during this time. As everyone gets online and uses their bandwidth, the ISP compensates. This usually means slowing down to handle moving all that data at once. From August of 2017 to August of 2018, WOW! averaged 4.03 Mbps. Considering the best ranking on the index is 4.19, that’s not bad at all. WOW! is able to consistently deliver even during peak hours. So if you’re a golf enthusiast who has WOW! as your ISP, you’re in luck!

Competing 24/7

Unlike golf, WOW! is competing 24 hours a day, seven days a week with companies that are bigger and more established. This hasn’t seemed to be a problem. Back in August 2018, WOW! partnered with Breland Companies to provide fiber internet to Town Madison. Town Madison is a new housing development in Huntsville, AL. As more and more home features are going digital, WOW! getting in on the development of the homes themselves and installing the necessary equipment to make them “digital ready” when they’re finished. Fiber optic internet, the fastest internet connection available, is going to be installed in Town Madison. Residents will get to enjoy above-average speeds. This will be especially helpful as the community grows and smart home devices become more prevalent.

Check out WOW!

For those who enjoy golf, or any sport for that matter, make sure to check out coverage of the Ryder Cup this weekend. Better yet, make sure to check out WOW! internet deals and packages. By combining your internet, cable, and voice through WOW! you’ll be able to cut back on bills and save time. All your services will come through one provider. And for those who are not golf enthusiasts or have never been on a golf course in your life, there are plenty of other sports to watch and enjoy. Or movies, or music! Make sure you take advantage of the mesh wi-fi. You’ll be able to move freely about your home without worrying about stumbling into a dead spot.

Get to Know Windstream

For those who haven’t heard of Windstream yet, consider this your first introduction. As they expand, and help more people, we'll hear a lot more.

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For those who haven’t heard of Windstream yet, consider this your first introduction. If this were a movie, there’d be this cool intro where the CEO of Windstream would walk in and start talking about…something important. Or, if the movie was created and produced for younger ages, there would be a song and dance number. As a comedy, Windstream would be portrayed as the hardworking company that was getting no love in the media. What’s important to understand is that Windstream is expanding and they’re doing so at a consistent rate. Whether they ever make their story into a movie is not the point. Would make for an interesting movie though.

By the Numbers

Windstream currently has a presence in all fifty states.Windstream Of the 42,000 zip codes in the United States, you can find Windstream in 14,854 of them. If my math is correct, that’s 35% of the country. That’s not bad. The 35% of the country that can get Windstream service, there’s a range of options available. Depending on the area, customers can choose DSL, cable, fiber, and fixed wireless. Check with the best Windstream deals to find out what’s available in your area. Their top download speeds, for fiber, is 1 gigabit. That’s their fastest. Unfortunately, their fiber coverage is only 20% of their total areas served. But it’s not all bad, there are other services that you can get to make it worth your while. Windstream is also one of the top providers when it comes to downloading times during peak hours. Netflix has this handy speed index that calculates every provider and how well they handle downloads during peak hours. These peak hours are usually 5-10 pm every night. The average for their DSL connections over the last year is 3.17 Mbps during peak hours. This makes them one of the more reliable ISPs out there. That reputation for reliability has also helped them as they seek to expand. Within the last two years, they’ve merged with Earthlink and acquired Broadview Networks. Through these expansions, they’ve been able to utilize and incorporate these networks into their unique branding.

What Have They Been Up To?

Like any good company, Windstream has been busy.

Veterans and Military

In August, they were named ranked among the best companies for veterans. US Veteran’s Magazine listed Windstream on their Best of the Best Top Veteran-Friendly Companies. Windstream stood out among the other 350 companies that participated. The Military Friendly Designation was also bestowed on Windstream by VIQTORY with help from the Military Friendly Advisory Council. They were ranked eighth for the 2019 fiscal year.

Fixed Wireless

Windstream has also been working to expand their fixed wireless capabilities. Unlike satellite, which can be affected by weather, fixed wireless uses line-of-sight. A receiver, installed on the home or structure, will connect with the transmitter on a tower or a tall structure. So long as the line-of-sight is unimpeded, customers can get reliable internet. This method is far more cost-effective for rural customers, and for ISP startups. Windstream utilized this technology to connect Poteau, OK. Located in Eastern Oklahoma, Poteau is like any other city; they need reliable internet to connect to the larger world. Given Poteau’s rural location, however, deploying fixed broadband to the area has been economically challenging. Windstream took on that challenge and rolled out fixed wireless technology to the area. So far, the first phase allows 900 residents to get fixed wireless installed. When the entire project is completed, about 8,800 residents will have access to fixed wireless. As fixed wireless technology expands, residents who once had their options severely limited, if any at all, now have the same opportunities as those in more urban areas. And Windstream is part of realizing that dream.

Their Biggest News

WindstreamWhile Windstream is helping to connect rural areas, as well as residential customers, they’re all helping small businesses. To do this, they created OfficeSuite UC. OfficeSuite provides a means for small to medium-sized businesses to run their operations through the cloud. Like most UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), OfficeSuite provides a means for small business to send messages, collaborate, and meet, among other things, all through cloud connectivity. What’s set OfficeSuite apart is the fact they’ve grown by 20% year-over-year. While this may not sound terribly exciting to most people, when you stop to think about it, it’s quite mind-boggling.

What this Means for Windstream

Winning awards, accolades, and exceeding sales goals are all signs of healthy company growth. But it’s nothing new. What really matters is what Windstream is doing. And more important than that, what is Windstream working towards? Let’s see... Windstream is on target to expand and help more and more customers connect to the internet. With this as their main goal, Windstream is working hard to make this a reality. The fact that they’re winning awards and hitting sales goals is just icing on the cake. These metrics are really pointing to how many new customers they’re helping, and how they’re running their business. And it’s working. Windstream, though considered “small” is doing more than what the bigger companies are; they’re utilizing different technology and targeting unique markets. They’re doing things differently. While the bigger companies are still around, they’re expanding into more and more markets. If AT&T’s purchase of Time-Warner isn’t contested, then AT&T’s focus will shift. They’ll begin to expand HBO and other entertainment properties held by Time-Warner. Providing more and more entertainment options seems to be their top priority, rather than reaching more and more customers. Windstream is moving up into the void created by such expansion. While it probably won’t hurt AT&T too much, Windstream stands to gain a lot from AT&T’s lack of focus in this area. If this were a movie with a good scriptwriter, there’d be some intriguing scenes written about this expansion. Instead of a boardroom, there’d likely be shots of exec’s walking around, talking with sharp wit about what to do now that AT&T is distracted. That is if this were a movie.

Try out Windstream

I know I keep bringing up the movie analogy, but what can I say? I watch a lot of movies. Out in the real-world Windstream is a solid company with more than just internet to offer. They have OfficeSuite. They’re also actively utilizing fixed wireless and working with veterans and the military. It wouldn’t be so surprising to see them overtake one of the “bigger” names soon.Windstream Even if that doesn’t happen, Windstream is one of the many ISPs available across the United States. To find if they have a presence in your area, input your zip code through Bundle Your Internet. This way you’ll see the deals, and who’s providing them, in your area. And then you can stream any movie, or show, written by Aaron Sorkin that involves lots of walking and dialogue. One can easily get the impression that all company executives talk this way. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The truth is that despite no snappy dialogue, Windstream is doing above-average work and is worth taking a lot into.

Energy Deregulation and The Big 3

Energy deregulation is picking up speed across multiple markets and providing a cheaper way for customers to get electricity.

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Energy deregulation is picking up speed across multiple markets. In truth, this has been going on for a while. While there are a few areas where it’s slow to catch on, the good news is that a lot of new energy providers have entered various markets. You’re still getting the same electricity, it’s just from a different provider. That provider may be cheaper, they may be more expensive. In a free market economy, you get to decide what’s right for you and your home. Or let’s look at it this way. The San Antonio Spurs had The Big 3 for quite some time; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Each one had their strengths and weaknesses. Each one, ultimately, contributed points to their overall wins. While the Big 3 have, sadly, been dissolved, there are still plenty of games to watch this upcoming season. Check out the best internet and cable deals so you can save some cash while watching your team win. Now, were those points any better if they came from Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili?Energy deregulation Not at all. So long as they were scoring, that was all that mattered.

Tim Duncan

The 6’11” power forward from Wake Forest University was drafted by the Spurs in 1997 as their first pick. He would remain a Spur for the entirety of his 19 seasons in the NBA. Every season while Duncan was on the roster—every season—the Spurs went to the playoffs. Playing 1392 games, he averaged 19 points per game, ten rebounds, and three assists. Fifteen times an all-star, Duncan helped lead the Spurs to five championships. Some nights Duncan was on fire, some nights he wasn’t. Every game, however, he was consistent in his playing and was always reliable. Duncan wasn’t a flashy player, he didn’t strut on the court or made a big display when he got the score. He stuck to the basics and it worked for him. This earned him the nickname “The Big Fundamental.” Tim Duncan retired in 2016.

Tony Parker

Still active in the NBA, Tony Parker got his start playing in France. In 2001 he was drafted by the Spurs. The 6’2” point guard would go on to dominate, averaging 15 points per game, two rebounds, and five assists. Despite playing for the Spurs for seventeen seasons, Parker was traded to the Charlotte Hornets recently.

Manu Ginobili

This one hurts a little as the great Manu retired on August, 27th, 2018. He’s the last of the big three to leave San Antonio. Yet, during his time for the Spurs, Ginobili played 1057 games, averaged 13 points per game, three rebounds, and three assists. His playing style was less fundamental and a little bit crazy. During one game around Halloween, a bat found its way into the AT&T Center. Gameplay was halted while the staff tried to figure out how to capture a flying bat. Ginobili solved the problem by swatting it out of the air. He’s also known for stuffing James Harden and holding the record for steals for the San Antonio Spurs. These three players had the opportunity to move to other teams. With the exception of Parker, they chose to stay with the San Antonio Spurs for their entire careers. Players move from team to team all the time. They’re offering their ability to put points on the board, much like energy deregulation. Energy companies are like players and teams, putting points on the board. Sometimes they can do it more efficiently than others. Sometimes they can do it cheaper than others.

The Big 3 and Energy Deregulation

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili created the nucleus around which other players could attach to and excel. This style is commonly seen among many dynastic teams. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman provided the same foundation for the Chicago Bulls in the late 90’s. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh took the Miami Heat to multiple championships from 2011 to 2014. Other players joined these triads to go on to win championships. It’s rare that a team goes all the way thanks to a single player. The point, pardon the pun, is that these teams consistently scored well in each game. It wasn’t who was playing so much as how well they played. Energy companies are acting in the same capacity. Through energy deregulation, they can provide the same services. A company may not do it with dramatic flair, but they get the job done. Much like the San Antonio Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs have long been looked down upon because they didn’t play with flash or drama. Thanks to their coach, Greg Popovich, the Spurs have stuck to a fundamental style. It’s not showy. But they’ve won five championships under Pop and gone to the playoffs every year. Coincidence? I think not.

How Does it Affect Cost?

Getting points on the board is ultimately what matters. Getting energy to your home is ultimately what matters.Energy deregulation As more and more energy companies enter the market, there are more and more chances for customers to get their energy at lower prices. Let’s look at it this way. In 2013, the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat met in the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat ended up winning that year due to some, ahem, questionable officiating. It also helped that Miami had James, Bosh, and Wade. They also had other players on their roster. Let’s keep with “The Big 3” metaphor for right now. The salaries of Miami’s big three were as follows;
  • James- $19,067,500
  • Bosh-$19,067,500
  • Wade-$18,673,000
That’s a grand total of $56,808,000. And that was just for the big three! The next year, 2014, the San Antonio Spurs met the Miami Heat again in the NBA Finals. This time the Spurs ended up winning. The salaries of San Antonio’s big three players were;
  • Duncan-$10,361,446
  • Parker-$12,500,000
  • Ginobili-$7,000,000
That’s a grand total of $29,861,446. The Miami Heat paid $56,808,000 for their points to be delivered. The San Antonio Spurs only paid $29,861,446 for theirs. If you were to find out that an energy company could deliver the same electricity to your house for less, wouldn’t that be something worth looking into? You may not save millions, but it could feel that way.

The Choice is Yours

Ultimately, the choice is yours. You’re picking the team members you want to play for your team. They’ll be delivering the same electricity to your home, but they could be doing it for cheaper. This may take some research on your part, or you can visit Texas Electricity Ratings to speed up the process. There may be another provider in your area you weren’t aware of. There may be only one. But that’s because deregulation is a much slower process than signing an NBA team. Much less an NBA Championship team. The good news is that more and more companies are entering the market. If they’re not in your area yet, they soon will be.

It’s Delivered the Same Way

Energy deregulationTo switch energy providers may take some time, but there’s no need to completely rewire the house for it. The cables will remain the same. Charging your laptop will not be any different. The only difference is it’ll be coming from a different source. Much like an NBA team, the points getting scored are the same points. It doesn’t matter if Tim Duncan scored them or Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili. What matters is they’re putting points on the board. Check out the options available for your home. Energy deregulation may have given you the edge for picking a winning team for the upcoming season!

City Lights Got Nothin’ on Country Nights

You’ve packed up your things and moved your family away from the BIG City out Rural Town, U.S.A. Then you realize, “What do we do for high-speed internet?”

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So you’ve packed up your things and moved your family away from the hustle and bustle of the BIG City out to the crisp, clean, country air of Rural Town, U.S.A… but then it hits you, “What do these country folks do out here for high-speed internet!?” Phone call after phone call you to make to every internet/cable company you’ve ever seen an advertisement for, but no one services your address. Frustration sets in. To many, this realization that fiber optic cables and high-speed broadband connections are things that you left behind along with the traffic lights and fire hydrants of the big city, can be a HUGE culture shock. But take a deep breath… There’s no need to stress, satellite internet has got you covered on all your Wi-Fi needs! It might not be the option you’re hoping for but it’s the best option you have.

Satellite, It’s Better Than You Thought

high-speed internetWith advances in technology, the two titans of satellite internet service, HughesNet and Viasat/Exede, both released their premier latest and greatest satellite dishes in 2017.

HughesNet

HughesNet launched their Gen5 series powered by EchoStar XIX that boasts a 25mbps speed across the board on all tiered data plan. That means just like a data plan on a smartphone, you’ll be choosing a plan for your Wi-Fi in the household. But no worries if you exceed your data allowance for the month, there are no overages, just throttled speeds 3-5mbps typically. You can still snoop on your ex-boyfriend from high school on Facebook with that. Additionally, the FCC ranked HughesNet #1 in the nation “among all internet providers for providing the speeds that they advertise.”

Viasat/Excede

Viasat/Exede with their Boeing built Viasat-2 dish offers speeds up to 200mbps in select areas complimented with unlimited data plans. That’s a never-before advertised speed for satellite internet but can end up burning a hole in your wallet. But some people won’t let dollar bills stand in their way of super high-speed internet. Basically, every satellite internet company is going to require a two-year commitment but in a way that’s a benefit rather than a downside. This keeps your rates the same. Viasat will guarantee you the rate for three years even though you are only in a contract for two. HughesNet typically only increases by $15 after two years. Both offer “vacation modes” perfect for second homes where you can suspend the service up to 6 months out of the year at minimal costs. Satellite is a more expensive technology than your familiar “cable lines run to the home” technology, so it will generally cost you about $60-$110 depending on plans available in your area. But with the cost of living being cheaper in the country, it evens out in a way. And can you really put a price on the peace and quiet that country life offers? But what about the weather? Will I lose my signal if it rains or snows? The new technology that arose in 2017 has alleviated some of the stress on weather affecting service. It’s not perfect but it’s also not horrible.

Can my kids play their video games?

high-speed internetThey can, and most games will work. Certain games that require an instant response in online multiplayer arenas will suffer due to lag or latency. Essentially, they’ll hit a button and it will take 1-3 seconds for the desired action to happen. Because the signal needs to travel from your home to outer space to hit the satellite dish in orbit and then back down to earth to the gaming servers and then back to your home – that’s added distance wired internet services do not have to travel to outer space -- causes the lag. It’s enough to make the most hardcore gamer rage and throw their controller through a television screen. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) suffer from the same issue. First person shooters and sports games will suffer the most from this. All other types of games will work like RPGs, Minecraft, casino games, and apps on tablets and phones. The kids should really be outside playing anyways like we all did growing up.

Can I Stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and all the others?

You most certainly can! There’s not one plan offered by both HughesNet or Viasat that isn’t capable of streaming video in HD. The only drawback is that if you’re on a tiered data plan, you can eat away your entire data allowance for the month in a single weekend by binge-watching “Breaking Bad.” A good rule of thumb is for every hour of streaming in the highest HD, 1 GB (gigabyte) is used. There are added tools with both companies that will pre-set the picture quality to lowered HD settings to alleviate the amount of data used to stream. Test it out on YouTube. Go ahead. I’ll wait… Open it up now and play a video. Click on the settings and lower the picture quality to 480p. It’s not that bad. Who needs to have the picture quality at its highest setting just to make out every pore on Walter White’s face? Many country living folks have accepted data tiered plans as a reality and use television services like DirecTV and Dish Network to remedy the need for video entertainment. HughesNet and DirecTV even offer a bundle discount with over 150 channels, a DVR, and 25mbps for under $100 for the first year. Second-year pricing currently goes up by $43.

What are the startup costs for satellite internet?

Startup costs are next to none. HughesNet will require you pay for the first month’s bill upfront. With a $50 discount often applied to the first month, the first bill is less than $20 in most instances. Viasat has no startup costs and usually offers its own discount for the first three months. Both will require a valid form of payment on file and promote automatic bill pay and paperless billing. You can request a paper bill if you’re old-fashioned like that for a small monthly fee. Equipment is leased at about $10 a month. They do offer lifetime lease options where you pay a one-time amount to erase all equipment fees off future bills. Should you ever cancel the service, you will need to return the modem/router even if you paid the one-time fee or else expect a hefty charge. As far as installation goes, it’s free and easy for those able to pass a credit check. Installation ranges from anywhere from two to three hours. The customer gets the final say on where the dish is installed. Most will put it on their roof to not only achieve the best line of sight to the southern sky but also to keep it out of the way in the yard when mowing the grass. So, all-in-all there is still light at the end of the internet tunnel for all your social media and streaming needs on all your fancy wireless devices. Giving you no reason to regret replacing the big city lights with the cool country nights. Guest Post by James Begley Edited by Kyle Weckerly