high speed internet - cable internet -
Everything I do is done via internet connections. The higher speed the better. Thought I better assure that we can still work once we get there. In fact, wothout a good connection, it will be a deal breaker for the move.
What is available? How often is it down. Are T-1 lines available through local phone company? Etc. Etc. Not all that concerned about power failures as that can be cured via generator. Thanks. Hopefully it won't be all that long until I can return the favor for some other newbie who is as ignorant as I.
So far in the research, I have found no negatives. We live on a lake and the nearest gas station is about 8 miles away - about 3 miles before the nearest grocery store. Power outages are frequent here. We seldom go to town, have not been to a movie theater in 5 years. So for us - It would be much like here as far as supplies - city life - except we don't have the gorgeous water and perpetual summer etc. - squared.
I built a tv station there last year and we used dedicated dual T1 for the connection from the production point to the transmitter, and dsl for the office internet connectivity. During the uptime of the station, we had two complete interruptions of service due to high wind and water penetration of the lines caused during a regular, unremarkable storm. More importantly, the service guy that came to hook us up was five days late for his appointment, charged us nearly three times the original quote, took SIXTEEN weeks to connect us and charged us from the day we contracted for services. My point is that connectivity is there and usable, BUT, in startup time, repair time and cost be sure to at least double your quoted budget, and if you can manage it, triple, plus an emergency fund of at least the quoted price. Dunno if that's normal or just because we we're off-islanders, but it was what we went through.
I hope it took 16 weeks cause they had to run copper from production to transmitter and back to the switch? Also, not trying to be nosey, but we are paying around 400/mo for T-1's here (AZ & CO & MO) - is that in the ballpark in STX?
I tried to read your response regarding the amount of downtime you are having - but don't quite see it. What we have done in AZ and CO, is put our equipment inside of the phone companies building in a "CO-LO" co-location deal, so we have the same power source as the phone company - i.e. they have backup generators so are virtually never down. Obviously you do not have that luxury as you have needed physical locations off site from the phone company.
Anyway, My real question is -- how much downtime are you having once ya got everything up and running? -- and thanks for the help.
the trans to switch lines were already in place, the only line to be ran was from the switch to the prod. facility. I wasn't involved in the purchase so I don't know specific costs, only that the accountant issuing checks thought innovative had misbilled because it was so much more than the original quote. The two failures happened over a three month period and took several days and a week to get repaired. Unfortunately, the company who bought the station didn't pay any of its' bills and was disconnected after only three months. Downtime during that period was 11 days, so about 88% uptime. They are still dark so any improvements to the reliability are unknown, however, there is an article in the daily news that announces additional fiber connections to the trans-atlantic cable being completed by innovative so maybe they are better now. If you do this, we techies would like to know how you fare. On the upside, the dsl side seemed very good as far as bandwidth and we could run dual or even quad onsite. there are three levels of dsl bandwidth available, dunno the specs anymore, but with a dual line, you can get six times the bandwidth of a single standard account. T1 is not necessarily the most cost effective and regardless of the route you go, if you wish the most uptime available, you'll be wanting an indepndent source of bandwidth such as dialup or satellite as a backup.
I don't know anything about your specific needs. What I do know is, if you are planning a move to the VI and have specific, non-negotiable needs, you need to be even more careful about coming down and spending time doing research.
For example, if you or your family have special medical/educational needs or if you're intending to start a business/continue a business that has specific communication/shipping needs.
Those of us who live here have come to realize that the things we took for granted in our previous lives cannot be taken for granted here. Right or wrong, that is reality.
If you depend on a high speed internet connection you will need to check out your options before relocating.
Innovative the islands only wired provider of wire telephone, data and CATV provides marginal technical and customer service. Their outside plant is decrepit so getting a DSL connection to work reliably is hit and miss.
Your next best option is a wireless provider, assuming that you have line of sight to one of their towers. SurfVI offers T1 speed on a wireless connection for $995 per month plus $195 for the install.
Jim- thanks for passing along the info.
surfVI is Ackley Communications' dial-up offering. Ackley also offers broadband- guaranteed speeds and service from 256kbps (up and down) to multi-megabit. You're absolutely right that T1 equivalent (1.5mbps) is $995 a month. Install is $199.
We're in the middle of a power outage courtesy of WAPA right now, and Ackley hasn't had any downtime at all. Ackley offers Service Level Agreements which specify uptime guarantees.
You don't necessarily need line of site to a tower- Ackley and other wireless companies have servicing locations that are not actual towers (but rather buildings with antennae on the roof).
Ackley is 774-5780 or 715-7600. www.ackley.vi
Other wireless providers are CommTek (limited coverage area, no guaranteed speeds) and Choice (aka VIAccess)- no guaranteed speeds.
Dial-up is available of course, but I wouldn't consider it a viable backup for broadband. Local dial-up providers are PowerNet (Innovative again), surfVI (Ackley Communications), VIAccess (Choice Communications), Pennswoods. You can also get off-island providers.
You can get T1s from Tier 1 internet service providers (e.g., AT&T), but you should know that leadtime on these lines are substantial (upwards of 18 months in some cases), and they all do last mile through Innovative. So if you need reliable service, it's best to get an ISP here who can offer guarantees.
ASEMOVE, you want an ISP who owns their own equipment and sites and has "bunkers"- poured concrete walls, generator, battery banks for backup, etc. They will also need to have multiple providers giving them service, as well as multiple and diverse paths off the islands. Anything less, and they won't be able to offer you any guarantees. You'll also want to know if your speeds are guaranteed- or are they "up to" speeds? Anyone can say "up to"- but when your connection is as slow as molasses, you'll have no guarantees- they'll just tell you you can get "up to" 1mbps or whatever. How is your ISP built? What are their guarantees? These are good questions to ask a potential ISP.
Satellite is good for one-way distribution of content, but you'll find it painful, is my guess, if you use it for internet. Remember that every time you click on something, the request has to travel 25,000 miles up into space, then back down to earth, then out the internet and back, then back up into space, then back down to you. The speed of light simply isn't fast enough, and you'll notice it in Quality of Service (QoS)- latency and possibly packet loss.
When people talk about "wireless" providers here, it's referring to a terrestrial wireless product- wherein an antenna is installed on your building and pointed to a base station on a tower or servicing location. Space never enters the picture.
If you want more information, feel free to Private Message me.
I know nothing about the technical mumbo jumbo, but we use Ackley where we live for our internet and have had absolutely no problems. Elliot, who installed it for us was terrific and customer service is always efficient and friendly. Now, if I could just remember my password.....
I just had Broadband VI install a wireless connection for me today on the east end of STX.
Speed has been 1 mb.
I've always been impressed with satellite high speed internet. The speeds are comparable to broadband, the latest technology allows two-way communication via satellite (no uploads via dialup), and the pricing is finally coming down to rates that are comparable to cable. The benefit is you can be anywhere that has a south-facing exposure, and you're not subject to the vagaries of power outages, etc. Perfect for island living!
Starband is the one that has the best rates I've seen - $50/mo if you sign up for a 3 year contract. The setup is a bit steep ($300) but it's a one-time cost and I believe you get $100 back.
Finding a dealer on USVI might be tricky, but if you can find a dealer in Miami or PR they might work with a local SatTV installer.
They require special dishes that are slightly larger than standard DirecTV et al, but once you have a dish that can do internet you can get all sorts of things, including many free-to-air or FTA satellite. You can get most of what's included in a stateside basic cable TV package for free, as well as tons of other things. And last I checked, USVI local affilates are available on FTA as well.
Hope this helps.
Power outages most certainly affect internet service. The only way I can think of that you won't be interrupted when WAPA "waps" is to have a UPS for the interim while your generator kicks in.
Satellite is *not* ideal for two-way communications; it's ideal for one-way distribution of content (like TV, which it's great for. You don't notice delays. We have -and love- our satellite TV)
It's not tricky finding a dealer for satellite here. If you search this board, you can find a listing that another reader posted. We use Cal from Satellite Entertainment Services for our TV, and we couldn't be more pleased.
Setup for us was a little steeper than you mentioned- call Cal or other dealers for rates, but I believe the install of the dish (which is I believe 4' in diameter and mounted on its own pole anchored in the ground) was around 500-600.
I'm surprised that you've been impressed by satellite internet; guess it just depends on your traffic profile.
Dear Loyal Reader,
I'm glad to follow up with accolades to Cal Humrich at Satellite Entertainment Systems who, along with his wife Renee, is the DISHNETWORK network provider on STT and STJ.
The setup is initally expensive but what a lot of people don't realize is that several adjacent houses can share the same dish and thus can share the initial dish cost. Each individual would have to pay for their receivers and the monthly DISHNETWORK charge but the initial outlay can be parlayed between good neighbours.
The service I've received from SES as the local distributor and from DISHNETWORK itself has been exemplary and that counts for an awful lot here in the Virgin Islands where so much "service" is just lip service and affords one chapped lips from teeth-sucking,
I would love to have a better deal for internet access but have to stay with Earthlink dial-up right now because the alternatives are too expensive for my budget. From what I've heard, Innovative stinks, Choice needs to update its equipment, and Ackley has so far been great but is expensive. However, what's expensive for me might be a drop in the bucket for someone else and I guess one has to look into everything that's available.
Cheers, and Happy New Year!
You can attain almost any level of service you desire in STX, including DS3 services, if you have line of sight of one the wireless repeaters. Since connectivity is vital to you, I suggest you pick your office/abode with that in mind.
surfbest.net 12.50 per month is a good option STT Resident
How much is a DS3 in St. Croix? Where are the wireless repeaters?
I'm not sure you can get that kind of bandwidth on a wireless connection unless you use a dedicated microwave link
For comparison a wireless connection with T1 speed costs $995 per month. For the speed you are talking about think about many thousand a month.
If you really need that speed you better locate near Hamms Bay where Global Crossings fiber comes on shore.
Most people don't realize this but even with a high speed line like DSL, you do not have the same upload speed as download. Upload is always slower. For instance, my gearhead friend recently got my DSL speed doubled and upgraded to "fastpath" DSL. My DSL Connect Rate (Down/Up) is 1792 KBits/Sec by 448 KBits/Sec, meaning that my download rate is 4x faster than my upload rate. Verizon's cheapy cheap DSL package is 768kbps, for comparision. Starband's least expensive service is 500kbps x 100kbps
For general internet surfing, number of packets you need to send in order to receive a web page in response is so small, I doubt you'd even notice it. For residential users, upload only matters if you're sending large email file attachments, or doing thngs like sharing your desktop, setting up a small VPN in your home, or using P2P software. I think people would be very happy getting a fast, relatively inexpensive download connection even if it meant sacrificing some upload speed.
You're right in that the USVI does have some special requirements, such as a 1.2 meter dish. But as STT Resident mentioned you can share that amongst several people. Setting up dishes is also not difficult - I am installing a 1.2 meter dish at my house in order to get FTA satellite (Free to Air). There are tons of boards on how to do this - a tinkerer would be able to set up and orient the dish without much trouble. The dishes themselves are not that expensive, so I'm guessing a good chunk of that fee is labor and profit.