What's the best internet provider for rural internet access?

Episode 976

Frankie from Victorville, CA

Frankie is moving to a rural area and would like to have an alternative that's similar to FIOS. Leo says that rural areas are hard because there's not enough in population to justify laying down broadband cable. So that leaves Satellite and 4G. Satellite has the downside of being expensive and that there's a lot of latency. It's also slow and subject to weather. The chatroom also recommends Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs). Exceed is the best satellite Internet provider.

What are alternatives for rural internet access?

Episode 956

Jennifer from Acton, CA

Jennifer lives out in the sticks and has no Internet access. Can she use her cellular internet with her computer? Her reception isn't that great for 3G. Leo says that's not going to work. Latency and lag will kill her internet service over 3G. And the bandwidth caps aren't really worth it either, especially if she's gaming. There are some solutions like Satellite - Dish offers 4G speeds for about $30 a month. Wild Blue Excede is another.

How can I watch DirecTV on the road?

Episode 955

Kevin from Oregon

Leo says that there's an app for that. The DirecTV app for iPhone and iPad would allow him to turn his iPhone and iPad into a mobile TV. He could log in and watch, record to his DVR, etc. It's limited right now on what people can watch, but it can be a solution.

Another solution is the SlingBox, which would enable him to watch anything from any internet connection, and they have an app as well ($29). He can watch content from his DVR, too.

Is satellite TV as good as cable?

Episode 931

Mike from New Jersey

It can be, but Leo thinks that cable is better in picture quality. Additionally, the dish needs to have an unobstructed view of the southern sky. If Mike has a tree that grows in front of it, or experiences heavy weather conditions, he may have issues. Then there's over the air high def, which he could get just with an antenna. He can get uncompressed HD signals that are gorgeous, if he's within line of site to the broadcast tower. So ideally, he could cut the cable entirely and then just stream shows off the internet that he doesn't get live.

Should I switch to DirecTV?

Episode 928

Walter from Huntington, WV

Walter has a DVR, and the frame advance doesn't work going forward. Dish says it's a software problem, so he's thinking of switching to DirecTV. Scott doesn't think the picture quality is as good as Dish, though, but he says that the difference is minor. Scott switched to it because he wanted to see the Olympics in 3D. Every once in awhile, the DirecTV image gets pixelated and Scott never saw that on Dish. Also on the Fox channels in LA, the commercials have a "zipper" effect, which is weird and only happens on Fox stations' commercials.

Should I get cable or satellite internet to replace my DSL?

Episode 913

Jay from Providence, NC

Jay has been having difficulty with his telephone provider and wants to switch to something else for internet. He also had a bad experience with Comcast years ago, and is wondering if he should go with satellite internet.

Leo says the best option really is cable. The experience Jay had years ago isn't necessarily indicative of what it would be today because cable internet has gotten a lot better over the years. The only satellite provider that would have decent speeds is Wild Blue, and it's very expensive.

Is there a decent satellite internet service I could get?

Episode 882

Gary from Birmingham, AL

Gary lives in a remote location and the T1 connection he has is so slow. Leo says that technology is rather old now, and still very expensive. Gary should first check and see what's available from a cable company or phone company because there may be something more modern he can upgrade to. There is new satellite technology that Leo's very impressed with called EXEDE (Wild Blue) from a company called Viasat.

Can DSL Extreme handle VOiP (Skype, Vonage, etc)?

Episode 882

Darryl from Palm Desert, CA

Darryl is trying to get his parents off of their bundled services, and is wondering if DSL is adequate enough for services like Skype or Vonage for phone service. DSL Extreme can certainly handle this, but Darryl would want to look into something faster than the basic $12.95/month service. One issue with all DSL is that you have to be within a couple of kilometers of the central office. In more rural, distant areas it may not even be possible to get DSL at all, but DSL Extreme would be able to tell him. (Disclaimer: DSL Extreme is a sponsor of the radio show).