Cable co wants $3100 to run cable for internet! Other options?

JimS

Active Member
I live in a moderately sparse area on a new connecting road.  I have ATT Uverse but am far enough from the head end I can only get 6M internet.  Was thinking of going to Spectrum cable at 200M but they just informed me the cost to run about 1000 feet of cable (people down the street have service) was $6100 and Spectrum would only cover $3000 of that.  Seems ridiculous as the cable is on poles here so how much time could it take?  So looking at other options.  Of course there is satellite but that is expensive and has poor upload speed (maybe not worse than I have now).  The local wireless provider has horrible reviews.  Thinking I might try using my cell phone as a hot spot for the house - need to check how much data I can do that way.  I am on Cricket and have unlimited on the phone but think hot spot data may be throttled to unusably slow after some amount.
 
Anyone using cell as hot spot for home internet?
 

JimS

Active Member
Looks like this is what I would get from Cricket:
At $10 per month, enjoy 10GB of high-speed mobile hotspot with a reduced speed of 128kbps after its expiration.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
How about reaching out to your state and local representatives about rural wiring options?  There may well be options to help offset the cost.  Ones the cable company may already know about and be attempting to double-dip.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I think even if you pay for the cable connection you will still be unhappy because of the poor service you will get from Spectrum. I would hold out for Starlink. If you can use the $50 service from T-Mobile (what I am using now) that could hold you over until Starlink is available.
 

JimS

Active Member
I contacted Whisper Internet that does wireless internet in the area.  They said they don't cover my area although the maps of coverage I have found show they cover here and all around me - i.e. I am not on the edge of coverage.  Some friends in another area have a small local wireless provider that put a repeater on their roof in exchange for free internet.  I am in a high spot and could likely put up a small tower without issue so sent Whisper something - their web site says they are looking for high locations and towers/tall grain bins, etc but the person I talked to said they weren't currently doing that.  They talked like I didn't understand the technology and was just an average user.
 
T-Mobile doesn't have good coverage in my area.  I tried their cell plan and I had no reception at home.  Maybe with a higher antenna but I am hesitant to try it.  If they have a trial period where I could return it I might try it.
 
Bill,  How would I get started with that?  Not sure who I would contact.  Illinois has an interactive broadband map aimed at rural coverage that should I should have "100/20 Mbps or better" at my address.  I just sent them an email telling them that was wrong and asking about assistance for improvements.  It is here:
https://illinois.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5cc319448a284a6e9933c02bb9e01143
 
Found that through this site:
https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/ConnectIllinois/Pages/BroadbandGrants.aspx
 
I need to poke around on that web site some more as I just found it.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
There's often a lot your local reps can figure out for you.  Sometimes and in-person visit and talking to the staff is more useful than speaking to a representative directly.  State houses also usually have party majority/minority constituent services offices, where, again, in-person often gets good results.  Harder to do lately with pandemic issues, but not impossible. 
 
With a possible six grand price tag involved I'd say it's worth making time for phone calls and/or visits.

You're looking for PEOPLE to help you, e-mail would not be my favored choice for requesting that assistance.  Put on your best "nice guy that needs help" vibe and talk to them directly.  

That and get a handle on how the cabling in the area is laid out.  Find the nearby head-ends for whatever services are in the area. Simplest way to figure some of this is out is stop by a truck doing work and pester the guys with questions.

Might also be worth figuring out if there's traction among other neighbors along the way toward those head-ends to have improved service.  One house needed a better connection falls lower on the list than, say, a dozen along a route.
 

JimS

Active Member
I have a neighbor that apparently has Spectrum.  In talking to Spectrum initially they mentioned the address of the house nearest me with service and that seems to line up with their statement of needing to run about 1000 ft of cable.  The ATT line comes from the other direction.  Not sure where the end is for either of those. 
 
Thanks for the tips.
 

JimS

Active Member
Frunple said:
Did you consider a Mifi for the short term?
I'm pretty sure all carriers offer them.
Not familiar with that term but a bit of searching indicates it's just a name someone trademarked for an internet router that connects via cell.  As indicated previously I have considered using my phone as a hot spot although I really need connection when I may have the phone other places.  I also mentioned T-mobile but have poor signal at my location.  Cell connection is likely the short term solution.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
Peplink and Cradlepoint are two good vendors of performance cell routers.  Not inexpensive but pretty much rock solid.  MoFi is another, but less polished, firmware-wise.  The key to any of them is finding which carrier is available in your area, and on what frequencies.  Once you know that you can get an appropriate LTE radio card in the unit, and then a suitable external antenna.  You may or may not be able to get by with a stick antenna right on the unit, or you may have to use a directional antenna.  

Avoid trying to mash it all together into one box.  Use a cell router for a WAN link, don't get hung up on trying to also make it your on-site WiFi router.  Mainly because most of these don't have very good on-site WiFi features or performance.

There's been a lot of work in this area by the RV community.  Not for on-road use in motion, but for parked/campsite setups.  

This is one I follow: https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/news/
 

Frunple

Active Member
JimS said:
Not familiar with that term but a bit of searching indicates it's just a name someone trademarked for an internet router that connects via cell.  As indicated previously I have considered using my phone as a hot spot although I really need connection when I may have the phone other places.  I also mentioned T-mobile but have poor signal at my location.  Cell connection is likely the short term solution.
Correct, so you don't need to use your phone. It's a cellular router that stays at home and stays connected.
 

JimS

Active Member
wkearney99 said:
Peplink and Cradlepoint are two good vendors of performance cell routers.  Not inexpensive but pretty much rock solid.  MoFi is another, but less polished, firmware-wise.  The key to any of them is finding which carrier is available in your area, and on what frequencies.  Once you know that you can get an appropriate LTE radio card in the unit, and then a suitable external antenna.  You may or may not be able to get by with a stick antenna right on the unit, or you may have to use a directional antenna.  

Avoid trying to mash it all together into one box.  Use a cell router for a WAN link, don't get hung up on trying to also make it your on-site WiFi router.  Mainly because most of these don't have very good on-site WiFi features or performance.

There's been a lot of work in this area by the RV community.  Not for on-road use in motion, but for parked/campsite setups.  

This is one I follow: https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/news/
Bill,  Is this basically what I would get from a company if I sign up with them (ATT, Sprint, etc) or are they better than average cell to internet links?  Not at all familiar with the hardware for this.
 
I don't have good cell signal from Sprint at my house and know because I tried them for phones.  They had no issue signing me up for cell phone service and said my area should be covered for that.  I punched my address into their web site and they said cell internet wasn't available in my area yet.  Figured I might be able to use an attic or outside antenna.
 
BTW, did contact a local person we know about possible rural expansion funds.  They said they would check.  Seems odd since we aren't really very rural...
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
There is no "basically" when it comes to cell bridge hardware.  I'd expect the ISP to provide only the barest-of-bones equipment, with the least amount of configurability possible.  

What works on phones is sort of irrelevant, as you don't know what RF bands the phone might have been trying to use, versus what's available on the nearby towers.  The upside is with a fixed location you're going to be able to fine tune the configuration to get exactly what's best for that site.  Finding out what that is... is the challenge.  I've not had to do that, as all my cell needs are moving on a boat.  That's a whole other set of variables involving antennas and radios.

I'm guessing you've got some other research ahead of you on figuring out what's commonly provided in your area and how to get things sorted out for it.  Sorry I can't help further.
 

JimS

Active Member
Spectrum sent me another card to sign up and since it was to my address I was a bit put out and thought I will try to sign up again.  So they came this morning and I made sure I watched for them and made contact.  Last time they came and went without saying anything to anyone.  There is a cable on poles on the street in front of my house that is theirs.  It continues in both directions.  What I lack is a tap box.  For that and the run to the house of about 600 feet they wanted $3100.  Last time they automatically rolled it over to their construction department that gave me the cost.  This time they said I would need to contact them.  So that option seems out of the question. 
 
I did find that some providers have tablet plans that some are using for home internet by moving the sim card to a different device, sometimes spoofing the EIME number so the network still thinks it is talking to a cell phone or tablet.  Some people who live in RVs use them for mobile internet.  Some plans are marketed as unlimited but are throttled after a given about of data which won't work for us.  I use about 150 GB a month.
 
I am looking at youtube TV instead of sling.  I have the most trouble with buffering with sling and often have the movies restart after some time which is very frustrating.  Thinking I may have some control over resolution with Youtube TV where I don't with Sling.  I am willing to degrade the picture to avoid buffering.
 
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