Thursday, September 11, 2008
The satellite connection
Encouraged by our success with the cell phone, we began exploring other options for internet connections. DSL was out, at least for the foreseeable future. Our friends had graciously been allowing us to use their computer to check e-mail. We didn't want to wear out our welcome at Dennis and Merlin's home and had no desire to go hunt up an internet cafe everyday. We needed a better solution.
We discovered HughesNet, a satellite internet provider, quite by chance. Their office in French Harbor is in the building next door to our insurance agent. We stopped in, asked questions, brought home some information. They offered a rental plan: $200. US installation and $99./per month, or purchase plan: $800. installation /purchase and $79./month with a 24 month contract. Two companies offer HughesNet, so the next day we checked with the other company. They had no rental plan and charged $1900. US for purchase, plus installation and $99./month with an 18 month contract. We decided to go with the first company, went in to sign the contract and make the payment. The office manager asked if we could take the equipment, including the dish and a ladder with us. We thought this was rather interesting. We understood why when the installer arrived the next day on a motorcycle with two tool cases and a large spool of cable. He said maybe in a year or two he could afford to buy a car. Very nice young man, worked for about 3 hours in the 95 degree heat, sweating buckets, setting up the satellite dish and connecting the modem and the wireless router. Don helped him. Julio was very impressed with Don's cordless drill, apparently those aren't available here. When he was nearly finished, he made a phone call and asked someone to come pick up the ladder. He left his business card and offered his help if we run into any problems. Don gave him a very nice tip (tips are standard practice here for virtually anything). He showed us how to access our account at HughesNet to check our download usage (limited to 200MB per day).
Yahoo! We were connected to the rest of the world. We took my laptop into our one air-conditioned room and sent off e-mails the the family.