off grid internet/phone service?

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by farmgal, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. farmgal

    farmgal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,639
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    north
    For those of you totally living off-grid, :nerd:

    what do you use for internet and phone service?

    can you give us a link to the provider?

    what about the costs?
     
  2. mustard

    mustard Active Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    I'll be using a cell phone, and getting my internet fix at a local public library...
     

  3. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,180
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    WI
    When we were totally off grid, we still had "regular" telephone lines, just like are the "normal" people.
     
  4. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Location:
    tn
    Off grid, but have regular phone lines with dsl
     
  5. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

    Messages:
    2,252
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Off the grid also. Regular phone lines with dial up.

    katlupe
     
  6. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    I bought a good directional antenna for the cell, I can still hit the tower.
    Satellite Internet is scheduled for the 19th, with www.wildblue.com
     
  7. farmgal

    farmgal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,639
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    north
    WyOman, I cant get the webpage to open currently but I'll check it out later.

    there are no land line phone poles where I am building. When I went online to view prices of some satelite services they seemed really high.

    bummer
     
  8. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,558
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Central S. C.
    Off grid but have phone line and dial up. 24 bps at best. DSL isnot available in theis area. Maybe one day. :shrug:
     
  9. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    16,275
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    We're off gris but have regular phone service. Internet is satellite.
     
  10. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Got www.wildblue.com today.
    So far, so good.
    Much faster than dialup. I bought the equipment ($200) free installation, it is mine, I can take it with me when the ranchette is done. (We're building a "little house on the prairie".) The monthly server fee is $50 more or less. We gave up the house phone & the slow-poke dialup to get it. Budgets out at about the same.
    We can actually load/watch vids & listen to background music on other peoples webpages now! This wasn't possible with dialup. We kept the cell phones since I purchased a directional antenna that can connect with the tower.
    Hope you find a solution that is right for you.
    Lex
     
  11. farmgal

    farmgal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,639
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    north
    The wild blue says they are not currenlty installing the systems in my area.

    50$ is pretty steap when I currently pay 8$ a month. I dont use the internet that much. but not having it, I would miss out on my homesteading today friends:))

    As it will be, my phone costs will go up about 30$ a month more when I switch to cell phone, with less services then I have now.

    If I were to add these 2 services together it would add 864$ a year to my bills. Thats more than my taxes..lol :dance:
     
  12. bbbuddy

    bbbuddy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    464
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2002
    We are off grid, no phone wires here either.
    We use Starband internet and Dish Netwok tv all of the same satellite dish. They work great.
    Phone is cell service, wether it works depends on where you are standing on the property, haha.

    Electric is by gen/batteries/inverter, plus wow! 40 watts solar...
     
  13. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    bbbuddy-

    You might want to try this. Its what I did.
    I purchased the one with the highest db gain, eighty something dollars if I recall, but I now have full scale reception; from IN THE HOUSE!

    http://www.cellphonesbooster.com/yagi-antenna.html

    Lex
     
  14. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    859
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    I have internet over my cell phone through sprint. but it's expensive. 29.99 for sprints cheapest cell phone plan plus 39.99 for unlimited internet. it hooks up to your computer with a usb cord.
     
  15. Ed_Stanton

    Ed_Stanton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    When I first moved here I got by quite well without a phone, and loved it. 2 years ago cell phone service came to the nearest town and I can usually reach it as even though I'm a long way from town, the tower is closer. But while I have a cell phone, it's normally off as I don't really have need to use it, other than for distant family's peace of mind.

    My distant neighbour still uses a mobile VHF phone service, which is like using a walkie talkie, but it is much more reliable than cell phone service, and there are likely more towers of this kind in rough terrain, at least there are in Canada. This system was and still is used by the railway, logging outfits, truckers, oil and gas, mining and other industries in rough terrain or over long distances on the prairies. However, satellite phone service, while still a bit expensive compared to home cell phone use, has really dropped in price and more industry is using that technology.

    For cell phone use, I use independant phone cards for actual calling as my provider's long distance charges are really expensive per minute. I have a free local calling plan on weekends and so many minutes per month, and the phone cards have a toll free number that is treated like a local call. So for .04 cents per minute long distance and a local call to connect and use the line, I can call anywhere in Canada on weekends for .04 cents/minute. If I go over my alloted 100 mins/mth, then the connection fee for any call is .25 c per min plus more if it's long distance, .04 cents/min via the phone card, .25 cents via the cell company. The only hassles with the phone cards is: 1-dialing the access number for each call which I can program in speed dial, 2-dialing the long PIN number (which I can't program in the cell phone) 3-it took a while to find a phone card that didn't expire in 30 days after the first use or activiation, (but I have one now President's Choice grocher chain, expires in 6 mths), 4-phone card with lots of lines during busy holiday (now rarely ever a problem other than once on Christmas day), 5-finding a phone card that lets you transfer the unused balance of a non-expired card to a new card (such as the remaining .56 cents or $1.23 or whatever is left on a card but not usually enough for a very long call). READ the fine print on the back of every card, as they are not all good deals.

    For internet service, I use a satellite dish from www.hughes.net . It used to be called Direcway. It is 2 way so no phone is required for transmission. Download times can b e as fast as DSL, and works very well most of the time but must have a clear line of sight to the satellite. Upload times have recently also GREATLY increased for the home user but can still be as slow as a 56K modem, but it's usually still about 1/4 or slower than the download speeds. Installation must be done by a "qualified" tech or reseller, but I had 2 poorly done and extremely expensive (due to tech's 2 way and long travel time) installations done and on my last move, I did the 3rd relocation myself (easy once you watch the others). I had tried VOIP before their recent speed upgrade for Transmission, but not recently. VOIP worked fine for receiving (hearing the other party) but did not work for transmitting my portion of the conversation. Hughes now say that they offer VOIP speeds, so it may in fact work, if the transmit speed is fast enough, however, I sometimes still notice a bit of a delay with web pages loading as the signal requesting a web page has to be sent to the satellite and maybe under ideal conditions it's good but the weather doesn't always co-operate. If the satellite is set up correctly, the weather should have only a small effect on performance, unless the conditions are severe like heavy rain or the dish and transmitter are covered in snow and ice, but even in heavy rain and snow, it can work just fine.

    Costs can vary but for me it's $89 / mth for internet (I use it for business so it's an expense). Not cheap but the best alternative if you don't have access to your own power or phone lines like me. $26 / mth for cell phone, plus taxes. Prices are in Canadian currency, so factor in a bit less for US.
     
  16. Panther

    Panther Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    145
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    Yep, we're going with sat internet and cellphone to start, but the word is that voip will be supported with the satellite system soon.

    Years ago, when we were far away from any cell tower, we bought a 'bag phone' and it worked great! If you are far away from a cell tower, you may want to look into that. And they are really CHEAP now becuse all the city folk want the smallest phones possible.
     
  17. logbuilder

    logbuilder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,525
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Location:
    Safe distance from Seattle, WA
    Using voip over satellite has a delay (.5 to 1 sec) so you have to get used to it. If you are talking to someone who is not 'trained', it can be confusing.
     
  18. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,787
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Location:
    IL, right smack dab in the middle
    Cingular offers internet over the cell system .What you have on your end is a pcmecard with a little anttena sticking out of it a couple of inches but you can bya external antenna(like from wilson) and an adapter and use itabout anywhere you can use a cell phone. costs 59 to 89 month depending on what else youhave with them