Slim and Franke

Slim and Franke
Happy New Year

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Take a drive outside of our town's city limits and notice the moment you reach three miles out you will begin to see roofs bursting with Wildblue Satellite Dishes. Two years ago DSL and Broadband reached our town but if you live over three miles outside the town, your only providers of internet service are dial up providers or Wildblue Satellite. We live four miles outside of town.

At first I was delighted to switch from dial-up to satellite. We have had the Wildblue service almost a year. We have had some problems but overall we have been delighted. Then our weather changed with the blizzard of 2009 on Christmas Eve and we have basically been without internet at least 50% of the time. We pay for this time that service is not available because nothing can be done about the weather. If they send a repair person out to look at the position of the dish their charges start at $49.95. It as to be the most expensive internet provider to begin with and only becomes worse as they continue to charge even when their records can clearly show all the times you are out of service.

The other kicker in their great internet program is what they call their FAP (Fair Access Policy). This sounds to me like something straight out of ATLAS SHRUGGED. You have three tiers of programs to buy and each allows you more usage each month. If you go over the usage your program allows, they slow you down to dial-up speeds until you drop back your usage. We are now buying their largest program and just after we switched to it, we began to lose our service due to weather.

I only know that when the day comes and we have choices for internet service and competition arrives in rural areas there is going to be a mass exodus from Wildblue. They must not anticipate anything happening soon because they hold all the cards at this time and do not need to make any concessions. If we would attempt to leave them now we would have to buy out the remainder of our two year contract but that is a mute point because we have no place to go. A small business could not survive if it had to depend on rural satellite internet service.

Our television is provided on DISH Satellite and basically our internet is too, it is just installed and maintained by Wildblue. Our television service should be going out as often as the internet but it is not. Once we are able to leave satellite internet, we will probably leave DISH television also. Don't you think they would be working to insure retaining us when that day comes? Or, God forbid, do they know that day will never come? Oh woe is me:(


  1. Very interesting topic Annie, there are issues I have never even considered before. I have just taken "Dishes" for granted as I have travelled around.
    Thanks for sharing.


  2. My neighbor dropped using his dish because of the sporadic service and now it sits forlornly at the river's edge. We all use Comcast which has raised by at least 60% its rates since we started a few years ago. Good luck in finding help. The other choices (competition) charge as much or more!

  3. Boy do I have experience with all you say. We carry a $5/month equipment insurance and that has helped.
    We had a lot of trouble until a tech took our dish off of the roof and cemented it on a steel pole in the ground "where it should be" as he put it. That has eliminated most of our problems.
    We tried Carbonite (online backup service)for a while and still have an active account but I have had it disabled because it puts us over our usage threshold. Yes that was very aggravating but I refused to go up a level or two. To remedy this, I use a Maxtor auto backup system that uses a 500 gig external drive to make a copy of my hard drives. I guess that doesn't eleveate a loss due to fire though. I also have a 100 gig external back up drive that I copy my 'documents' file to.
    I used to lose service often due to weather on both DTV and Wild Blue but now that they have both been remounted to better, non vibrating locations, it takes a really bad (heavy, heavy overcast) day to stop performance. I would estimate maybe a couple of hours in a six month period.
    On your All State deal, it does sound like you need an attorney. I would tell them that unless it's settled by a deadline, you will hire one. My son does mostly all of his business with insurance companies and seems to be able to get along with all of them. Even ones that other body shops won't do business with anymore. (Like Progressive)
    I do know that the medical side of claims can be very testing to ones soul. I hope this all works out.
    Moving to town is the only answer it would seem but I'd rather take a beating.

  4. I am sad for you!!! It seems to me that your service should make adjustments for not delivering. I have AT&T DSL and it is really reliable and resonable.

  5. That really doesn't seem fair to make you pay when you can't receive the signal. You've raised a very interesting topic. We townies take all these things for granted!

    Some people where we live have internet and phone via satellite but we don't have satellite so we have ours via the phone system. The lines are underground so we rarely have problems. Well unless there is building work and some total plonker cuts through the wires!

    We live in a small town so we have lots of choice about our communication systems. In fact we are not supposed to have satellite dishes or TV aerials because they installed underground telephone and TV systems when the town was built. The council relented eventually but they should be no higher than eaves level. In their dreams!

    Best of luck.

  6. So many businesses treat their customers so badly that it just amazes me they last at all. Like my dad says, "There are a lot of stupid people making money." It always boggles my mind!

  7. Annie, I love your new header. I want that wall paper border to put in my kitchen.

    The same thing happened here, only with cable. For years Rogers held the monopoly and treated their customers badly. Today, most of those customers have satellite TV. It's just a matter of time before Wildblue has the same problem.


  8. Just responded to each and every one of you and blogger ate my responses. Thank you all for your comments!