When we moved to Castle Frostbite, the castle grounds were not connected to any sort of Intertubes infrastructure except for the phone line. Since then, we’ve had a succession of services:
- For the first two weeks, we had dial-up, which was almost entirely useless even back in 2007.
- Then we ordered the only thing available to us that was faster, which was HughesNet satellite internet. HughesNet was awful—expensive, bandwidth-limited (220MB per 24 hours), and unreliable. The connection would crap out every time there was a storm or more than just mild rain. Latency was insane—1000ms on a fast day. World of Warcraft was playable once you got used to the casting delay, but forget about first-person online shooters.The dish went out of alignment periodically, requiring a $125 service call every time for a tech to come out and re-adjust it. Speed fluctuated, but usually pegged around 64kB/s.
- As soon as the two-year contract with Hughesnet was up, we switched to a local provider I had discovered in the meantime. They offer WiLAN connectivity over the 900MHz band. That was better than Hughesnet—no data caps, low latency (60-ish ms), and a fairly consistent throughput of 64-96kB/s. They also charged half the monthly fee Hughesnet did. We kept them until January of last year, when I discovered…
- …that FairPoint had hooked our street up with DSL. Passed the “DSL Available Now!” sign at the end of our street on the way home from grocery shopping one day, ordered the service the second I got home, and have been enjoying low-latency megabit-and-a-half Internet for a year now.
Well, it seems like the bandwidth fairy has decided to do us one better, presumably to compensate us for all our suffering trying to do Internet banking over a flaky satellite link in bad weather, or trying to cast spells with a two-second casting delay. We got a letter from our town informing us that our neighborhood is currently being wired for fiber-optic cable. Faster than DSL or cable Internet by a factor of anywhere between ten and a hundred—the current state-of-the-art in residential bandwidth delivery. We have friends up in Orford whose house has been hooked up by the same project, and their download speeds are insane. It makes DSL look like dial-up. The letter says they’ll be finished running cable and connecting the infrastructure by June.
I’m quite happy with the DSL we finally got, and if it turns out that “gee, sorry, Mister, but your street is the only one in town that can’t be hooked up”, then I’ll be content—it works well for everything including Netflix streaming and such—but will I have them hook us up with fiber the second we can get it? Hell yes.