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Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

stxdreaming
February 21, 2018 08:39PM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 4

Hi all,

After a couple of trips to St Croix, my wife and I are planning on making the move next couple of years. I have been doing various research and have some questions. I would be grateful if the good people of this forum could give some input. I also understand that by the time we actually move things might change but its still best to do our homework now.

Cellphone Service - Currently I'm with Project Fi. When I was in Fred'sted the service was great, however, when we stayed in Chrit'sted it never worked. I don't really want to move over to ATT and spend a silly amount of money per month. If however, we have to, is the general consensus that ATT is much better then Sprint?

Banking - Generally speaking I don't use cash so don't have any need to take money out of the ATM. However, how do people that live on the islands full time use a local bank or still a mainland bank? I'm assuming that banks such as Bank Of St Croix etc have online or app banking where these things can all be done online and with ease? I'm waiting to see what charges, if any, Revoult have when they actually launch here this year. If there is no need to move everything to a local bank then may as well keep what we have.

TV - We don't have cable and use services such as YouTube TV and Hulu. I was thinking of Dish as for the price it's not that bad of a deal, particularly for the multi-room offers. Does anyone have any thoughts on their quality?

Internet - Now this is a big one. My research has found that there are two main companies in St Croix; Broadband VI and for the life of me can't think of the other company. From reading the reviews online of Broadband VI I would rather stay away and the second company appears to be really expensive. For things like streaming TV and having internet are there any other alternatives? I was looking at satellite internet but I can only find one company who does that, called Huges. I contacted them and they said that they do not serve the USVI.

Food - I know from when we visited St Croix food was rather expensive in the stores. Has anyone had any experience of placing large orders from Wal-Mart in order to get free shipping? I understand that it may take a few weeks to arrive but with some planning that shouldn't be an issue. We can source fruit and vegetables locally, so am thinking more of the dry goods which could be shipped. I also looked at Google Express however they told me that currently, they do not serve the VI which is a shame. This then lead me to the idea of why don't a few people gather together, buy a shipping container and place an order once a week/month with a Wal-Mart in Miami and have their stuff shipped? Wouldnt that be a good cheaper option?

I think that pretty much covers what I have come up with so far.

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

Scubadoo
February 21, 2018 09:00PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,955

Unfortunately AT&T is the best option for cell phone.

BBVI is fine for Internet, works for us. Viya is the other main option. They are still in the process of getting most service restored as they use fiber. BBVI uses only towers and radios so were able to get a lot of their service restored more quickly after Maria. We used BBVI streaming after Maria while waiting for Viya TV to be restored.

Mainland banks may not let you keep an account with a VI address.

Walmart and Amazon are options for shipping in food items but last I checked Walmart now charges a shipping fee outside of the mainland regardless of order size. The amount varies. I've not ordered as much from Walmart since they started that. I've ordered a few things which for whatever reason they shipping surcharge was only a few bucks. Amazon can sometimes be convinced to waive shipping for orders fulfilled by Amazon. I posted on another thread that adding on some food items to an Amazon order your already going to place anyway often does not add any extra shipping charge. Trial and error.

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

Ca. Dreamers
February 22, 2018 08:28AM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 372

Cell service form AT&T is coming back very well most days we have 4-5 bars however something happens at night and I lose connection. Hope that will improve.

We bank @ Bank of STX. Bank of STX is actually owned by United Fidelity Bank and we do virtually all transactions electronically. Have written very few check since we moved here 6 years ago.

We have DISH, got up the morning after Maria and started the generator and had TV!

BBVI is really the only option IMO. We had BBVI all the way through Irma but lost it until October 17th after Maria. Very few interruptions.

You can get anything you want here either @ stores, via USPS or freight forwarder.

We wouldn't change a thing!

CD

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

caribstx
February 22, 2018 08:47AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 434

Cellphone Service: I use ATT and although they have had challenges after the Hurricane, they are IMO the best option at the moment.
Banking: We use Bank of St. Croix, Banco Popular, ScotiaBank and have off island bank accounts too. None seem to be a problem and all offer the usual internet banking options. I NEVER use a debit card as they don't offer the same level of fraud protection as a credit card.
TV: We have DISH Network and have been very happy with it. We also stream via Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Kodi via Broadband VI. Rarely ever a problem.
Internet: The only really reliable choice IMO is BroadbandVI. When the wires are down after a major hurricane, they just can't be beat. VIYA might sound nice with their slick marketing, but, I would never switch.
Food: The cost of food is just not an issue for my wife and I. We spend maybe $400/month on groceries and eat out at least once per week. I don't even think about the expense because its so insignificant.

I hope this helps!

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

Afriend
February 22, 2018 08:54AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 441

One thing you should consider when you contemplate shipping large amounts (bulk) food items is where and how you'll store the items. Unless you plan to use a temperature controlled store room (electricity and thus A/C is costly) you may find some bottled and packaged goods don't store well when exposed to the heat that can build up during the day. Foods can have a significantly shorter shelf life in the Caribbean

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

SkysTheLimit
February 22, 2018 08:57AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 1,856

Paradise Satellite chiming in...
ATT seems to perform the best on STX.
For Dish TV info see www.visatguy.com
For Hughes Gen5 Internet see www.virginislandsinternet.com
The Gen5 just became available.
Both work great.
BBVI is also a good choice for internet.

We use First Bank here and have a stateside account.
You'll get used to food prices.

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

vicanuck
February 22, 2018 12:56PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 2,254

Quote
SkysTheLimit
Paradise Satellite chiming in...
For Hughes Gen5 Internet see www.virginislandsinternet.com
The Gen5 just became available.

Sky, can you provide some insight on the user experience with the new Gen5 Hughes systems?

For example, most folks like me watch more TV (Netflix, Prime) via streaming devices (Roku, Fire TV, Kodi) than on the DISH. In fact, I was thinking of paring down my Dish package because I watch so little on it.

I wonder how many GB per month the average subscriber needs to successfully use the Gen5 service without running into throttling and/or additional GB charges.

I probably watch 3 - 4 hours of streaming TV per evening now on the small residential package from BBVI.

I've read a ton of Gen5 reviews on the net...some favorable, some brutal.

Your insights are always appreciated!

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

SkysTheLimit
February 22, 2018 02:25PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 1,856

Quote
vicanuck
Quote
SkysTheLimit
Paradise Satellite chiming in...
For Hughes Gen5 Internet see www.virginislandsinternet.com
The Gen5 just became available.

Sky, can you provide some insight on the user experience with the new Gen5 Hughes systems?

For example, most folks like me watch more TV (Netflix, Prime) via streaming devices (Roku, Fire TV, Kodi) than on the DISH. In fact, I was thinking of paring down my Dish package because I watch so little on it.

I wonder how many GB per month the average subscriber needs to successfully use the Gen5 service without running into throttling and/or additional GB charges.

I probably watch 3 - 4 hours of streaming TV per evening now on the small residential package from BBVI.

I've read a ton of Gen5 reviews on the net...some favorable, some brutal.

Your insights are always appreciated!

The reviews are likely from the Consumer side of Hughes. We are deploying BI systems. Business Internet. Plans up to 550GB.

The feedback that I am getting is that even after reaching the download threshold of 35GB for $89.99 per month people are still streaming. Some don't even know they've hit the threshold. Next level is 50GB for $119 per month. Many of our customers need internet to make their living and previously paid about $300 for their plan with other providers. The thing we're hearing most? "I can never be without internet for several months again!!" We show them how to easily take it down and get it back up and pointed. With their cell phone over built in WiFi.
Recent download speeds have been surpassing 55mbps down with about 3 up.
The only warnings I give are; don't get it for "real time gaming". Also a VPN will slow it down. Latency associated with Satellite distances travelled. About half a second round trip to Gilbert, Arizona.

If your current provider is meeting your needs and expectations that's all you can ask for.
If not, this is a great offering. This is Jupiter2. Jupiter3 due in 3 years will be 100mbps service.
Some of our customers are using redundant providers so they always have backup. I am. ;-)

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

stxdreaming
February 22, 2018 10:14PM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 4

Many thanks to everyone who replied. Please see my responses below:

@Scubadoo - I have heard that mainland banks wont allow you to have an account if your address is in the VI. This is why I am hoping that Revoult start operations soon. Will just make life easier with all the international travel we do.

@Ca.Dreamers - Thanks for the feedback. Grateful for taking the time to post.

@caribstx - If the wife and I could spend $400 a month on groceries that would be really good. I guess its down to your own lifestyle and how you live. My wife and I are actually vegetarian so hopefully that will help to keep costs down. That said, if I can order from the mainland and get it cheaper then I would like to explore that.

@Afriend - A really good point and something I had not even considered so thanks for that. Certainly some food for thought. My initial thoughts are, how do people deal with this in say North Carolina or Florida? Something I need to explore further so thanks.

@SkysTheLimit - I can see you work for these companies so can understand you promoting them. That said, it will be interesting to see how Space X plays out with their internet service provider ambitions. If it does happen, I suspect that companies such as Hughes wont be around for long. I don't get why the VI Government doesn't do a deal with Google and get Google Fiber to come in and service the islands. Could you imagine with their speeds and backing how that would benefit the island!!!

FYI - the other internet company I mentioned yesterday was called Innovative. I cant find the email but remember they were really expensive.

Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to post. Very helpful info!

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

Scubadoo
February 22, 2018 11:08PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,955

Quote
stxdreaming
I don't get why the VI Government doesn't do a deal with Google and get Google Fiber to come in and service the islands.

FYI - the other internet company I mentioned yesterday was called Innovative. I cant find the email but remember they were really expensive.

Innovative is now Viya.

The VI already has Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN), for business to business internet so the backbone is already there for ISPs to like BBVI and VIiya to provided high speed residential service. And we're still driving over the road patches from that installation.

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

islandjoan
February 23, 2018 07:05AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 1,488

Not to mention all the potholes from the crappy job VI Paving did to patch the trenches.

Quote
Scubadoo
And we're still driving over the road patches from that installation.

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

speee1dy
February 25, 2018 03:50PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 8,442

I have a bank of America account. They are not on island. So yes, it is allowed.
Eating vegetarian down here isn't all that cheap.

But serious question you didn't me tion health insurance. We don't have I policies for individuals. Keep that in mind

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

CaptainMalibu
March 01, 2018 05:53PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 90

I just quickly went through the responses and if someone mentioned it I missed it. In your original post you mentioned not using cash. My two cents on that subject is to make sure you have access to cash. After Maria, it was a cash only island and here 5+ months post Maria there are still several cash only businesses.

Just a thought.

Re: Another Post About Questions On STX Move!

rosesisland
March 02, 2018 07:56AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 643

I have both stateside, BanCorpSouth and local on island bank accounts both using my island address. So, yes, it's allowed at least by my bank in the states.

Realistically, I wish my husband could budget $400/per month on groceries. But, we eat no processed boxed ingredients. We only eat non-GMOs, organic, free range meats, etc. Just one dozen eggs I bought this week were $6.99. We go through 2+ dozen/weekly. Our monthly bill is around $800-900 per month. Then can add to that figure the running from grocery to grocery, farm to farm. It adds up. We rarely eat out.

We have an extra long growing season here, so, maybe you can grow your own vegetables.

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