Broadband

Will Starlink Be a Good Internet Company?

Starlink

Episode 1773

DW from Morrison, CO

DW has preordered Starlink satellite internet and is waiting for his turn to get installed. Leo says it won't be cheap, at $500 for the gear and $99 a month for internet access, but Leo says that it's supporting SpaceX, and that's a good thing. Eventually, as more people come online, it'll probably go down in price. It's going to have to. But nobody really knows how fast it will be. 

Alphabet (Google) Grounds Loon

Loon

Episode 1764

Alphabet launched Project Loon, where they would bring the world broadband internet with weather balloons. It launched in 2013, and this week Google announced it was ending the program. They did use it during natural disasters in Central America and Africa, bringing short term internet to the regions during the first few days. But problems cropped up immediately as people couldn't afford the equipment, or simply wasn't interested. Then there's the fact that you can't really control the wind pushing weather balloons all over.

What is a Good Option For Broadband in a Rural Area?

Starlink

Episode 1752

Stacy from Greenville, MI

Stacy lives in rural Michigan and she has really slow internet. Leo says that broadband companies don't want to install high-speed internet into rural areas because there aren't enough customers to justify the cost. Will satellite be a good alternative? Leo says that thanks to Elon Musk's Starlink network it will be. But it's $99 a month and costs $600 in equipment. And the more satellites they put up, the faster it will get. They've only put up 10% of the satellites they want to so far.

Another option is LTE and 5G if she's close to a tower. 

What Are My Broadband Options?

Cox

Episode 1735

Ed from Henderson, NV

Ed is looking to cut the cable and is looking for options for the internet. DSLReports.com is where he can go to see what's available in the area. Leo recommends checking out AT&T U-Verse. They use fiber and it's very fast. Avoid Satellite. The latency and bandwidth caps are too great. Sadly, cable has no competition due to being granted a regional monopoly. But he can go with fiber or even wireless. DSL may be an option, but it gets slower the farther he is away from the central office.

What's the Fastest Internet Option For Living in a Remote Area?

Starlink

Episode 1735

Tom from Riverside, CA

Tom's son is moving to a rural area and they use rather slow radio-based ISPs. Leo says that the benefit of living in a rural area is the beautiful area. The downside is, that if there isn't a lot of people per square mile, broadband companies simply won't provide connectivity. So they end up with satellite, cellular, and radio-based alternatives. Cellphone internet is getting faster thanks to LTE and 5G. And it'll get faster. And thanks to Elon Musk's Starlink program, Satellite wifi is coming.

Is a cable bundle a good deal?

Spectrum Lifestyle

Episode 1734

Alex from Long Beach, CA

Alex wants to get Spectrum but they are pushing a bundle. Leo says that sometimes it's cheaper to get it with Phone service. But the catch is, the deal is only for the first year, and then the price goes up. So you have to call them a week before the deal expires and threaten to cancel unless they give you a better deal. They will also give you a cable modem and router and there should be an ethernet out connection that you can plug into your own router to split off the data. You want to be sure you have at least 5 MB up for video streaming.

Should I keep FIOS for my internet?

Verizon FIOS

Episode 1718

Dan from New Jersey

Dan's phone contract and his FIOS contract have both expired. So he's thinking what's next. Leo says that if you get good fiber speed, there's nothing faster. It really comes down to how much they charge for the speed you want. And then how much they say it is, vs. how much you are actually getting. $49 for 200MB down is not bad. Gigabit would be even better because it's symmetric (same up/down) for about $60 a month.

The Internet Will Keep Us Connected During Social Distancing

Social Distancing

Episode 1678

With the Coronavirus outbreak prompting the government to encourage people to practice "social distancing," many companies are letting their employees work from home. Leo says we finally have the bandwidth speeds available to be able to do video conferencing and team applications that can work via telecommuting. Church's are encouraging parishioners to watch services online, and thanks to Google Hangouts, Apple's Facetime and other video chat apps, we can keep in touch with friends and family. So it couldn't be a better time to be facing this.

Will We Have Enough Broadband if Everyone is Quarantined?

comcast

Episode 1677

Tom from Los Angeles, CA

Tom is worried that the Internet will become overloaded if everyone is staying at home. Leo says that it'll work just fine. Networks are engineered with overcapacity now, and there won't be an issue. What about bandwidth caps? Leo says those were more about making money than anything having to do with capability for load. Leo also says one of the problems is people who don't have internet access and rely on work, schools or libraries, will be cut off.  And he thinks the next few months will show that.