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Working Remote - Power/Internet

 
vp1330
(@vp1330)
New Member

Good Morning Everyone, 

I am moving to St Croix in about 2 months and will be working remotely on the island with my current employer. While I am very excited to be moving, I’ve been doing some research and I am getting slightly concerned with internet and power outages. It looks like I should definitely come prepared with a few back up plans and wanted to see what is working best for those currently living and working remotely in the USVI. 

For internet - it looks like other than one wifi subscription, either investing in both wifi providers or a AT&T hotspot for backup is the best method? Verizon seems to be a resounding no, t-mobile seems mixed and that AT&T is the best choice. I did sign up for Starling but that is a minimum of 8+ months away depending on if it actually comes in 2023.

For power - definitely having surge protectors, unplugging computers at the end of the work day to be safe and most likely a backup power source. Does anyone use a backup power source like a generator or battery for extended outages? I’ve seen solar options, but we currently do not have a solar set up. If you do have a backup power source, what do you prefer? 

Lastly, out of the year roughly how many outages do you experience/how long is the outage? Is it once or twice a month or once or twice every few months? Do you ever feel like it impacts your productivity with work? 

I appreciate all the help and advice anyone is willing to give. I’m definitely ready to move, just want to make sure I can continue working to the best of my ability too. 

Quote
Topic starter Posted : April 13, 2022 7:57 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

I'm an owner of a local digital business dependent on the internet, although not working "remotely" for now.

For internet we use Broadband VI, by far the most reliable provider on island. But, they do have their issues with bandwidth in certain areas but recently were acquired by Liberty Latin America who suggest service may improve. Its very expensive but works for us with very high uptime. We have a deposit in for Starlink as does almost everyone I know on island.

For power, our bricks and mortar business operation utilizes the dysfunctional public utility for power but we have a 100 KW diesel generator for back up. Our 32 TB server has a battery back up as do all mission critical work stations. The server backs up to off-island file storage several times a day. At home, we have solar power and solar hot water on the old 1:1 net metering program with a whole home diesel generator for back up. We have a whole home surge protector at the main panel and surge protectors on each AC unit. On St. Croix, expect short 20 - 30 minute power outages a few times a week with a long outage (60 to 90 minutes) at least once a month. A tropical storm or hurricane could knock services out for hours or days, you never know.

Its not hard to work from here remotely and many people are doing just that now. Lately there has been a big influx of continentals moving here with new found remote work freedom. For those who have been here for many years and are planning an exit, this has been great for the housing market as prices have increased significantly since covid. But, other macro economic issues are driving housing prices here similar to the mainland.

I hope this helps!

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Posted : April 13, 2022 9:21 am
daveb722 liked
rewired
(@rewired)
Advanced Member

Welcome to the forum @vp1330 !

Like many here on the island,  I have solar with battery and generator backups. All of my power runs through my solar system,  Sui I don't need to worry about utility level surges.

You mentioned that you won't have solar,  so I'd suggest a good quality UPS for your computer.  If you're working off a laptop and can function without additional monitors during an outage,  you should be able to find a reasonably priced unit from APC. They also make larger units and you can estimate the size you need by adding all of the wattages from your power supplies (I would use 2-4 hours for a run time estimate). Power outages at the utility level (WAPA) can happen weekly in many locations,  but most are now over in a couple hours. 

I also use BBVI for internet and I have a plan with AT&T that allows up to 40 GB of data per month.  When starlink finally arrives,  many people here will switch over (including me) and that may force the local providers to become more competitive in their offerings..

I would also check with your company to see if they need to 'whitelist' your IP address here,  as many companies restrict addresses outside the continental US. If they won't or can't do that,  you can use a VPN service that securely links your connection to a city near your office and then connect through it.  I've used NordVPN for a couple of years and have been happy with them,  but there are many VPN providers out there.  I also use an Asus router that has a 'VPN director' feature that allows me to direct specific devices to use the VPN (my laptop) while letting other devices use the local connection. There may also be other brands with a similar feature out there. 

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Posted : April 14, 2022 11:45 pm
Casper and daveb722 liked
rewired
(@rewired)
Advanced Member

I just received my email from StarLink and confirmed my order. Equipment should ship within 2 weeks.

ReplyQuote
Posted : April 15, 2022 7:53 pm
daveb722 liked
JCoates
(@jcoates)
New Member
Posted by: @vp1330

Good Morning Everyone, 

I am moving to St Croix in about 2 months and will be working remotely on the island with my current employer. While I am very excited to be moving, I’ve been doing some research and I am getting slightly concerned with internet and power outages. It looks like I should definitely come prepared with a few back up plans and wanted to see what is working best for those currently living and working remotely in the USVI. 

For internet - it looks like other than one wifi subscription, either investing in both wifi providers or a AT&T hotspot for backup is the best method? Verizon seems to be a resounding no, t-mobile seems mixed and that AT&T is the best choice. I did sign up for Starling but that is a minimum of 8+ months away depending on if it actually comes in 2023.

For power - definitely having surge protectors, unplugging computers at the end of the work day to be safe and most likely a backup power source. Does anyone use a backup power source like a generator or battery for extended outages? I’ve seen solar options, but we currently do not have a solar set up. If you do have a backup power source, what do you prefer? 

Lastly, out of the year roughly how many outages do you experience/how long is the outage? Is it once or twice a month or once or twice every few months? Do you ever feel like it impacts your productivity with work? 

I appreciate all the help and advice anyone is willing to give. I’m definitely ready to move, just want to make sure I can continue working to the best of my ability too. 

Good morning,

I moved down at the first of the year and I shared your concerns prior to the move as I work remote as well.  I've found that internet and power reliability varies wildly depending on where you are on island.  I have a good friend who lives in the rainforest, and while she has no issues with her internet, power outages are a daily occurrence so she has a generator at her house.  I live mid-island literally next door to the hospital, and I have experienced only one outage in almost 4 months and that was for about an hour at night.  I've had absolutely zero issues with my internet (I have Viya).  Speaking with people prior to moving it seemed that internet reliability was less about which provider used, and more about where you were located on island.  I certainly agree with all who recommend a back up plan like a generator or even a battery.  As I'm renting while house hunting, a generator wasn't really something I wanted to purchase until I settled on my permanent home.  What I did, was identified a couple of places that offered free wifi that had backup where I could work for a few hours if necessary.  Fortunately, I've haven't had to do that due to power interruptions.  However, I do set up shop at Brew STX at the boardwalk sometimes for a change of scenery....and a work time cocktail 🙂  Also, as far as phone service, I kept my Verizon phone when I moved because I never had an issue with it during previous visits to the island.  Coverage has been good on about 90% of the island.  There are spots in the rainforest and an odd spot along Northshore road where I lose coverage, however I haven't felt compelled to find another plan as of yet.  Maybe that changes depending on where I purchase.  Anywho, good luck on your move!

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Posted : April 17, 2022 11:23 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

@rewired 

That was the best email I've received all year so far!

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Posted : April 18, 2022 8:33 am
Casper
(@casper)
New Member

@jcoates Good morning! I am considering moving to St. Croix. I also work from home and was wondering what the internet speed is there? Thank you!

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Posted : May 5, 2022 1:59 pm
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Posted by: @rewired

I just received my email from StarLink and confirmed my order. Equipment should ship within 2 weeks.

I received my email as well, downloaded the app and it kept telling me too many obstructions.  I tried it a half dozen times all around our house with a consistent error message.  I also tried it at a friend’s place and the app said everything was excellent, no obstructions.  Bottomline, I’m going to hold off for now, after the numbers of satellites gets to the point where I get a good signal I’ll reapply.  The strange part is we live on top of a hill so the obstruction thing makes no sense.

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Posted : May 5, 2022 9:15 pm
rewired
(@rewired)
Advanced Member

@jaldeborgh 

You need a clear view to the north sky (from vertical to horizontal if possible) and as far east and west as you can manage.

I have mine mounted to the walk boards on the north side of my solar panels (until my wall mount arrives) so I had enough height for a good view of the sky. (I can post or send you a picture of it would be helpful)

My antenna is usually pointing within about 30 degrees of north and 30-60 degrees above horizontal.

Look for locations on the north side of your house where you have a good view of the sky from east to west. You may have to get close to roof level depending on hills or trees around the house.

My understanding is that you can also use a 1 1/2" fence pole, but I haven't tried it myself...

I did hear that if you get out of the list you go back to the bottom, so it might be worth a little more looking. If you want, PM me and I can help you look this weekend if you'd like some help.

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Posted : May 5, 2022 10:24 pm
daveb722
(@daveb722)
Trusted Member

@jaldeborgh Mine was showing obstructions as well, sometimes as much as 60% or higher, but my visual view is nothing.  I was concerned but after setting up my dish, the dish is reporting no obstructions at all.  For whatever reason the app isn't working correctly, not sure why, maybe our location?

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Posted : May 6, 2022 7:46 am
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Posted by: @rewired

@jaldeborgh 

You need a clear view to the north sky (from vertical to horizontal if possible) and as far east and west as you can manage.

I have mine mounted to the walk boards on the north side of my solar panels (until my wall mount arrives) so I had enough height for a good view of the sky. (I can post or send you a picture of it would be helpful)

My antenna is usually pointing within about 30 degrees of north and 30-60 degrees above horizontal.

Look for locations on the north side of your house where you have a good view of the sky from east to west. You may have to get close to roof level depending on hills or trees around the house.

My understanding is that you can also use a 1 1/2" fence pole, but I haven't tried it myself...

I did hear that if you get out of the list you go back to the bottom, so it might be worth a little more looking. If you want, PM me and I can help you look this weekend if you'd like some help.

Thanks, your comments help.  My friends that were showing no obstructions are a little up the hill from the east end dump/fire station so they have a good view of Buck Island and to the north east. Our place, while on top of a hill (with both north and south views) does have lots of mature mahogany trees as well as a good number of palms.  I just left the island for the summer and BBVI does work so I’m going to wait a little longer.  It’s only a matter of time before I make the switch.

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Posted : May 6, 2022 8:37 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

@jaldeborgh 

When I used the app to check on obstructions I did have some.

But, since I've installed dishy, it has worked flawlessly and I'm seeing consistent speeds of 250 to 300.

It seems to like to point to the north but it definitely moves around.

I'm so glad I went for it.

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Posted : May 6, 2022 9:03 am
daveb722 liked
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