Friday, October 1, 2010

The New and Screwed up HughesNet

I just paid five bucks to have my internet service turned back on.  Why is that you might be wondering?  Well, because some dill hole came up with a new way in which our service works.  Living in the middle of nowhere you have pretty limited internet options.  Dial-up blows even in a city with good phones and out here with lines put in in 1962 it blows even harder.  Cable and DSL are not going to come this way.  There is just no way they are ever going to bother running lines just so the four of us who live on this particular dirt road can have service so pretty much your stuck with HughesNet Satellite service if you want your pages to load when your try to open them.  There use to be one competitor AgriStar which oddly enough had exactly the same pricing and services as HughesNet, but they were recently  purchased by HughesNet.

For a long time I was pretty happy with the service.  The dish is pretty tough and didn't even need to realigned after either hurricane Rita or Ike.  We pay the minimum of sixty bucks for their base level of service and the speed has always been sufficent. They have always had what they call a "fair access policy" which is a download limit of 200MB which doesn't sound like much, but  I am online quite a bit blogging, selling on Ebay, using Quirky, surfing around etc and my wife finished her college degree by taking classes online through Lamar University. Basicly we have always found that we could do anything online except watch videos. Which of course means that I have missed out on all the great joys YouTube has to offer. If you download software you can do it at two in the moring when they give you a free time. If all the years we have had this service we had maybe gone over this limit five times, about once a year. 

It used to be that when you went over they would slow your service down so much that you could maybe get your email to open, but that was it.  If you called they would sometimes let it go and reset it and other times you just had to wait twenty four hours.  Recently they came up with a new system where if you go over you could pay five bucks and bingo your speed has been restored or you can wait twenty four hours.  Since they started two months ago we have somehow gone over our limit around ten times. A few days ago I spent an hour on the phone trying to get the tech support guy to tell me what the hell they had changed so that I could avoid this. He of course assured my that nothing had changed and as a sign of good faith reset my service without charge, but I know they messed with something.  Somehow they changed the way they count the megabytes in order to get customers to pay  a little more.  Right now I have no options because they have a monoploy on the market.  I don't really miss living in the city, but I can't explain how much I miss my cable modem right now.


  1. Hi-just wandered over from My Maine Garden Blog-I saw the title of your post and had to see your opinion of Hughes. I've had them for 4 years (I live in the "sticks" too) and I've often wondered why my internet is soooooo slow sometimes. I didn't realize they had a limit on download. We don't have any other options besides dial-up either, but have noticed that the service just isn't up to par anymore. Sigh. I have an intense hate for big companies---they know they have a captive audience (what other choice do we have??) so they can pretty much do whatever they want. Hubby thinks they have been purposely slowing down the speed so we "upgrade" to the faster. Maybe so, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay even MORE than I already am. Have you SEEN the deals companies like ATT have going? I could NEVER live in town, but oh, the perks........

  2. For a long time its was an ok service, I had even written about how it worked well on this blog, but someone came up with this idea to raise revenue and messes it up. Sadly I probably will upgrade not for the speed, but for another ten bucks they up the download limit to 375mb which is still not very much and watching ten minutes of video will put you over. The only hope is for wireless to get better. My niece has a mini-notebook thing that runs off a cell network and it is a little faster than dial-up and they live down the road. Maybe in five years that will be a real option.

  3. That's the one thing that I miss about living in the big city, too. I was so spoiled with INSTANT access to anything I wanted to see on the internet. It was a big adjustment for me to move out to the country and not have that.

    We have Sprint Mobile Broadband. It works OK. We've had Sprint mobile phones since way back in the 80's when cell phones were the size of a brick and just as heavy, so we decided to stick with them instead of going with satelite. Anyway, we struggled for the first two years with very unreliable service and we had to sit in a certain spot or outside to get any signal.

    A few months ago my husband got a mobile broadband router and set it up in the best spot in the house. It was a huge improvement. Things still aren't as fast as I was used to, but at least I can do anything I want now and it doesn't take all day for videos to load.