I live about 10 miles from the nearest cable internet connection and, at the moment, the only option we had was Satellite internet. Here’s my opinion, first hand:
You definitely need to know that it has serious latency issues. To ping, google.com let’s say, the average ping time (one way) is over 1000ms (1 second). You can use it for email, web browsing, even file transfers, but there is an overhead that is associated with it (even though the companies offer a “1.5mbps” connection. Once it gets going, it’s ~1.5mbps, but there’s that delay upfront. Also, you will not be gaming on this connection, the latency is just too bad. You get shot, and you don’t know it until the cutscene of you dying is already over… (FYI, it’s because your signal has to go 22,000 miles up to the satellite, and then 22,000 miles back down to the receiver, and then travel on the internet…)
They all have their “fair access policies” which really means they don’t give you the bandwidth they promised. For instance, on WildBlue, the cap is a 30-day rolling average that cannot top 17GB (on their best package). That means that you can’t push more than ~550MB per day without getting throttled, and then if you still push over that, they can just simply cut you off. Keep in mind that it is a rolling average… so if you are pushing 450MB every day (which is still in their acceptable use…), and then one day you setup a Windows XP machine and install all the updates (pushing over a gig), expect your speeds to be cut down to slower than dialup (as in, open internet browser, go take a pee, have a shower, make yourself a steak, and then maybe when you get back it will be loaded). We were going to go with hughesnet, but the guy that came over was a real nutcase and I ended up building the dish and electrical components myself (with their parts)… then we werent’ even getting the speeds we were told (he pointed the dish correctly, not me, it wasn’t my fault!): 1.5mbps down, 256kbps up (we were getting less than 800kbps down and about 10kbps up). So we ditched them.
Sounds like satellite is probably your only hope right now. It definitely beats dialup, but don’t do any big downloads or any other heavy internet usage otherwise you’ll get cut off (the system does it automatically… it’s not them like flipping a switch or anything).
It should also be mentioned that during storms, or cloudy days, your connection will be pretty flakey (ours is even during a clear day). It might go down for hours at a time, and there’s nothing you can do about it unfortunately…
Check and see if there are any WISP’s in your area. We are working on getting another local WISP to put up a repeater for our area so we can get their service, but that probably won’t happen for a while… (FYI: WISP = Wireless Internet Service Provider. I’m not talking about hooking your cell to your computer, but actually where you mount a radio onto your house…)