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moving to rural area, want high speed internet

hey. I'm getting ready to move WAY out into the country. The internet service there sux. They only have dsl, and it isn't very fast dsl. In fact, it's v-e-r-y s--l--o--w dsl. What I'm wondering is, is it possible to somehow acquire one of those huge, old satellite dishes and get a signal, and then get some fiber optic cables to give myself super high speed internet? Or even somehow make the connection we have stronger? I would just go with a cable provider if one was out there. But they aren't. Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks bunches.


I should add, ANY suggestions as to how to get high(er) speed internet is appreciated. It is in Surrey Country North Carolina, right near the Virginia border. Thanks again.

Milford, NH
·FirstLight Fiber
·Hollis Hosting
·G4 Communications
reply to jazzycat
I'm confused by your question.

1) How do you plan to use an old satellite dish? What source are you connecting to?

2) You are asking "somehow make the connection we have stronger" What connection do you have now? What connection will you have at your new location? How are the two related?

If you are out in the boonies, unless money is no object, you are going to be stuck with WISP or Satellite. If available WISP would be the best bet. Satellite suffers from high latency do the the long travel distances to geosynchronous satellites.



I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I want to bypass the local companies, if possible, and create my own connection, but I don't know if it's even possible, or feasible. DSL is all that's available, and it's very slow and it goes out... a LOT. I just thought one of those huge dishes might work, because that's what the cable companies have, huge dishes.

Here's my dilemma, I've found a way to get past paying huge cable/satellite (tv) bills and also a monthly phone bill by using a roku box and an ooma telo hooked up to high speed internet. I'm afraid those things won't work with the slow dsl connection, and I'll have to start paying money again for phone service, etc. I don't mind paying for the internet service, but I really need faster service than what's currently available out there. If there's no way to make my own connection, is there a way to make a slow connection much faster than what they offer?

What is WISP? And can I get it anywhere?

Thanks bunches.

Southeast TN
said by jazzycat :

I just thought one of those huge dishes might work, because that's what the cable companies have, huge dishes.

Cable Companies use those dishes to acquire tv programming from satellites. They have nothing to do with how they receive their upstream internet service.


OK. So do you have any suggestions as to how I can increase the speed I'll be getting, so I can still use my roku box for streaming and my ooma telo? We *can* stream online on computers, but getting netflix on the smart tv doesn't work for some reason, and even streaming on the computers, it stops and buffers sometimes.. And the connection is spotty sometimes, especially when it rains, which is strange, since it's dsl. Anyway. I don't want to give up my roku or my ooma telo. So. Can you help me out with some suggestions? Is there *anything* I can do, or not? There must be *something* people in rural areas can do.


reply to Killa200
I'm also curious, if they don't use the dishes for internet, how exactly does that work? How DO they get their internet service? I realize they send it out through cables to their customers, but how do THEY acquire it in the first place?


Greenville, NH
reply to jazzycat
You've probably noticed the lack of responses so far. The trouble is, good answers are hard to come by in rural America. To paraphrase another situation: You can have high-speed. You can have it cheap. You can have it anywhere you want it. Pick any two.

It would help to answer two questions for us.

One, what do you mean by high speed? How fast?

Two, what is your budget? What do you want to spend? And what is the most you are willing to spend?

Just be prepared for the suggestion that you move to a city.

Warner Robins, GA
reply to jazzycat
"...I realize they send it out through cables to their customers, but how do THEY acquire it in the first place?"

The telephone wires serving an area may come together in a Central Office(CO). At that location the signals may be changed over to a fiber optic signal that connects to the larger fiber optic network of the telephone company. After that, the signals are sent on to the main national fiber optic network. In some cases the fiber optic cables are moved closer to the customer, using what is known as a remote DSLAM(Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer), »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_su ··· tiplexer. »DSL FAQ »Remote DSLAM?. The customer is still connected by twisted pair copper telephone wires, but the length of the copper lines is reduced. This reduces the attenuation of the signal.

In a few areas of the nation, microwave wireless towers with matched paired parabolic antennas, that are aligned to each other, may be used to get over difficult terrain, but eventually you have to tie back into the major national fiber optic circuits. This type of microwave set up is usually only used by a telephone company to bridge gaps after it has got the customer's wire line signal.


reply to Estragon
Estragon, thank you! Yes, I did notice the lack of responses. I thought maybe it was a stupid question (or maybe I'm in the wrong forum), but I *know* there are some genius solutions out there to these kinds of problems that people come up with all the time (e.g. making your own solar panels or wind machines for a few hundred dollars as opposed to spending tens of thousands of dollars to buy them made in a factory). So there has to be one *somewhere* for this as well. *I'm* not an engineer, and I don't know much about this kind of stuff, so I'm asking. IF there is an answer, I have a friend who can build it for me. I just need to know how much it will cost (if it's cost effective) and what I will need.

OK. So IF price is no object, how much would it cost to set up a system to service myself, and what would I need? Just so I know what kind of figures we're talking about. If it cost $10,000 to set it up, but I have no bill after that, I can live with that. Of course, if it can done for less money, that's even better. If it's more, then I would still like to know how much more. (Those big satellite dishes are everywhere in the country, so I know I can get one, cheap, if that would work to connect to the satellites in the sky that transmit signals. Or what about building a tower, to capture the signals, if it isn't transmitted with a dish?)

If that's not feasible or just too expensive, is there a way to boost the speed I get from satellite or dsl? (or wisp, whatever that is. Not even sure if they offer it where we are, but I would like all solutions possible, so I can decide for myself.) Could I use multiple routers or hot spots or something? Or upgrade the wiring or something? (Most of my equipment is wireless. I don't really use wired connections for anything.) How much does fiber optic cable cost anyway? And would it even help/work in a situation like this? (I remember seeing commercials on TV that show people in the most remote locations streaming movies on their computers. If they can do it Tibet, why not in the country here, in America?)

When I say high speed, I'm talking about the speed you get with cable providers, which is much faster than dsl. Right now I live in Savannah, I have comcast. I hate comcast, but they don't limit how much bandwidth I can use and it's pretty fast *most* of the time. So I would say, I would like at least 12-15mbps. (What slays me, is in Europe and Japan they get speeds closer to 100mbps, and it's cheaper and more reliable over there. Why is that? Their cell phone service is also WAY better, and cheaper, than over here. That is another reason why I would like to bypass these corporations and just do it myself.)

The reason WHY I want high speed, is because I stream a lot of stuff. That's how I get my entertainment and news, etc. I don't have TV anymore. I have a roku box and I use netflix, and pandora, and other streaming sites, as well as the internet, where I stream a lot as well. Plus my phone is an internet phone (ooma), and I don't want to give that up. I only pay the federal taxes. I have no phone bill. I like that. And for streaming, I only pay for my netflix subscription, and the internet bill. I like that as well.

I'm moving to the country to get AWAY from the city. I'm tired of living in the city, and I love the area where I'm moving. It's near the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we ride a motorcycle almost every day out on the curvy mountain roads. It's awesome. So no, moving to (or staying in) the city is not an option. I just want some kind of reasonably fast internet service so I can keep using my roku box and my ooma telo, without the service going out or stopping to buffer all the time. I hope this was all clear enough.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer me.


reply to davidhoffman
David, thank you. So it's ALL done through wires? There are no signals that can be captured through the air? How do satellite companies do it then? What about those commercials, showing people in remote locations, like Buddhist monks in the Himalayas, streaming movies on a computer, outside, on top of a mountain? Surely that is done through wireless technology? Or wireless hotspots? There must be SOME WAY to capture those signals. And I don't mind paying for them. I just want fast, RELIABLE service. I just figured there must be a way to do it myself, since there is very little in the way of internet service in rural areas, and that really sucks for the people who live out there. What about building a tower? I mean, if the corporations aren't willing to do it, why can't we do it ourselves? Just saying.

Southeast TN
reply to jazzycat
Those "wireless" signals are nothing you can obtain and use for free. They are going to be secured and encrypted, and your going to have to pay whoever is putting them out there in order to use them.

Satellite based internet isn't going to gain you anything "faster feeling" than low grade dsl. It is highly oversubscribed due to their limited capacity per satellite v.s. amount of users subscribed. With the distance involved in satellite signal, latency is also a major factor that won't impact your streaming services, but will kill any possibility of reliable service from anything jitter sensitive such as voip, multi-player gaming, and real time video conferencing.

reply to jazzycat
I'll just add some number's around fibre construction...

Since you're really rural, I'll assume all your infrastructure (power, phone, etc) is overhead on poles...

You're looking about 15 grand per mile to install fibre optic cables between you and your provider's point of presence. More if you have to go underground for any of it.

You need media converters to from Ethernet to fibre and back again - you can get those pretty cheap, say a grand a peice.

If it's over about 50 miles between you and your provider, then you'll need an amp - that's another 10 grand or more.

You need to pay the provider for the internet access - probably in the 750-1000/mth range, if you can find one to sell to you.

When I install into a new building for a customer, the average cost is between 60-100 grand up front, and usually between 1000-1500/mth.

Add's up fast, don't it...

As for how telco's and cableco's get their "internet" - they run over fibre optic circuits to "peering" points, where they connect to other internet providers... Kinda meshes together, which is the whole point OF the Internet.

If you've got decent cell coverage at your place, a celluar modem may be a decent option, or if there's a good WISP in your area... Satellite's a dog, for all the reasons mentioned above.


Well bummer. There is no cell phone coverage there, at least not on this property. *heavy sigh*

And yea, that's WAY more expensive than I thought it would be. But to be clear, what is the "point of presence?" I guess I would have to run the cables from our property to wherever that is? And it's $15k/mile? Is that correct? Geesh.

The nearest town that has cable service isn't THAT far away. But I have no idea how near we would have to run it to get to it. I guess I'll have to do some calling around when I go back up there. But even if it's 5 miles, that's way too much money.

This is a LOT more complicated than I expected. Thanks for all the input, everyone.

reply to jazzycat
Have you looked to see if there are any Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) in your area? These would not be cellular carriers.

You may actually have a couple options, neither are cheap. It may be possible to get a T1 line. It would cost a small fortune every month and only deliver ~1.5mbps. That may or may not be better than your DSL line.

Your second option it to buy more DSL connections and bond them together. There are several ways of doing this. One is to have your provider bond using MLPPP. Most providers do not allow for this, but you could check into it. A second way is to buy a hardware device that balances connections. These devices will probably cost anywhere from $300 to $3k and I have not heard many good things about them.

Out of curiosity, what speed are you getting on that DSL line? Can you do a speed test and post it here?


silbaco, I'm not there at the moment, I'm back in Savannah. But I will ask my fiance to check it next time I talk to him. All I know is, when we're watching netflix, it stops to buffer, a LOT sometimes. It never does that here. So I'm assuming it's because of the speed. The connection also goes out sometimes, usually when it rains. And there are other problems.

I know dsl isn't known for fast connections, and since this in a rural area, I imagine it's not much more than 1.5. (I actually thought T1s were faster than that.)

That second option sounds interesting, but if you haven't heard any good things about the equipment, I wonder if it would be worth the trouble.

Perhaps, since this is a rural area, the provider would allow us to buy more connections and bond them together. I believe the provider he's using is a coop, so they might actually be more open to the idea. I know there IS a coop provider, if it's not the one he's using, I will check with both of them. I would prefer using a coop anyway, over a big corporation.

I'll post that speed test later, after I've had a chance to ask him to do it. Thanks bunches for your suggestions. I feel like you've actually given us some choices that may work. So again, THANK YOU!!!


OK, so I am back in NC and did the speed test. Here are the results.

ping 76ms download 2.13 mbps upload .40 mbps

The download speed is faster than I thought it would be, but much slower than I would like. In Savannah, it was 35 mbps, and my upload was around 15 mbps. I did find out that my ooma phone would work with this kind of speed though, so that isn't a concern anymore, but the roku box is. It says they generally recommend a speed of at least 1.2, but for live events you need at least 3. And I'm sure that 1.2 speed (or the 2.13 that we have here) might not run the box as efficiently as a higher speed of around 7 or 12.

Thanks bunches!


united state
reply to jazzycat
Try Verizon Wireless or AT&T check your coverage.

»Review of Verizon BroadbandAccess by NYGiants