Remote web access?

We’re moving to a cabin in the hills of West Virginia, really isolated. Power is by way of solar panels and a standby generator. The phone (landline) will soon (2008) be upgraded to digital by the phone company (there’s only one phone company). There is no cable provider. Cell phone signal is non-existant, too remote. We have to drive about 40 miles to get a signal.

What are the possibile options for a hookup faster than a 56k modem?


Yes, i think so. A signal boster arial might do the trick, but i don’t know how cheap or expensive they are. They are often used to boost signals between walkietalkies but it can be used for many purposes. If you can get hold of one you’d might have enough signal for something like 3G, but its a bit of a long shot.
Either that or something like a mast head amplifier, attached to a mast you’d probably hace to buy and erect yourself, that would also work, they are pretty simial things really except that that really would be expensive.

Sorry if this is no use.

satellite probably. either through hughsnet or sprint or something.

Run the cable yourself from the nearest cable company (even if it is 100 miles away), and use that. Then set up a very powerful wireless connection. The cable company will actually pay you to do that.

You might want to check with the phone company to see how old your lines our., They may be capped at 28k. And expect lots of drop outs when it rains because the squirrels nibble on the lines and water gets in when it rains.

When we moved to Appalachian foothills our option was to wait 3 years for cable internet and connect our 56K modems to those 28K lines. Also, I never could get a cell phone or GPS to work locally because of the hills. If you’re in the big hills it’s going to be even worse. (BTW - they still don’t have anything better than 28K lines locally even though DSL is always “just a year away”.)

Sounds like you’re headed for a beautiful place to live - and a lousy place to connect to the internet. We spent a lot of time the first three years going out to have a cup of tea on the porch while a web page loaded. :slight_smile:


PS - I should probably point out that 28K was the max rate on our lines. It was not uncommon to have days where the best we could get was 12K. A 26K day was blazing high speed internet for us. Also, expect the electrical wiring to your house to be a tad bit unreliable as well and keep some candles and firewood ready to go. I can’t believe how flimsy the electrical grid is in this part of the country.


You might want to check with the phone company to see how old your lines our.,

Hehe… you obviously don’t know West Virginia. I asked here because the 5 ladies at the phone company (Verizon) are now too busy to talk to me anymore. They seem to have confused themselves more than they confused me.

Anyhow, talking to folks in Kentucky it seems we’ll need two Non-Line-Of-Sight towers with transponders, the second one close enough to the cabin to ‘see’ the Line-of-Sight reciever down in the hollow and still high enough on the hill to see the first tower. I just want an internet connection, not a space station. I’m going up tomorrow and will ask about laying a cable, maybe get some of the neighbors interested too.


You’ve got 5 people at the phone company? Must be nice…

I vaguely recall that we went through lots of phone calls to ISPs and phone company before we found out why our 56 K modems couldn’t get more than 26K connections. I’m sure your local folks will have a straight answer for you in a couple of years. Well, maybe.

Before you lay cable make sure what you’re getting into. When we moved in here we actually had digital cable lines all of the way to the house and were supposed to get high speed internet “any day”. Three years later we finally got it after they upgraded the local hub or whatever it was that was the bottleneck. I’m sure Mr. Adelphia going to jail didn’t speed things up much either. It might be tough getting a straight answer on whether your digital lines to the house will do the job or if your part of the holler needs other infrastructure support before they will be able to carry high speed signal.

BTW, we’re just across the river and every bit as backward as any remote corner of WV - which can be nice in a lot of ways. It’s not so nice when folks send you huge photo or sound files and your dial up is zooming away at 12K that day, though. Be sure to train your relatives to resize photos!

Wow - 5 people at the phone company. Next you’re going to tell me you have more than one window at the post office.

I wish I could move somewhere like that! Satellite looks like your best bet.

I found this link:

Satellite Internet Service
High Speed Satellite Internet Service is the answer for consumers and businesses that want a high speed Internet connection but live outside the area of local DSL and Cable providers.
Satellite Internet service provides you with a broadband connection that is much faster than dialup. Currently, most satellite ISPs offer their customers download speeds ranging from 512 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps, which is comparable to a standard DSL connection for the home.
The truth is, consumers only need to consider signing up for Satellite Internet when there is no broadband cable or DSL Internet available in their area. If you qualify for either cable or DSL, then one of those should always be your first choice for high speed Internet access. Cable and DSL Internet are much cheaper, easier to set up, and often won’t require the service commitment that’s typically involved in ordering Satellite service.
Of course, if you live in a remote region and there just isn’t cable or DSL access available to your home, then Satellite is going to be your best (any probably only) option for getting high speed Internet. You’ll need to be prepared for some upfront costs in terms of installation and satellite equipment. This can run from three to six hundred dollars in most cases. Once the service is up and running, monthly bandwidth costs will generally range from $50 to $120 per month.
While satellite access will usually be more expensive to get then either cable or DSL, the level of service is just as good. The speed of satelliteis comparable to other high speed Internet services, and just like DSL and cable, its always on.
If your geographical area has been overlooked by DSL and Cable providers, go outside and look to the south . . . if you have a clear view of the southern sky, then you can most likely get high speed satellite Internet service!

This might just be a law in Pennsylvania, but Verizon is legally obligated to run a DSL cable through your neighborhood if you get 25 percent of your road to sign a petition and a 2 year contract. This might not apply to you since you live in a remote, sparsely populated area.

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, 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…)

Good luck!

Well, here in NY there are cases where the internet company or a cell phone company pays a landlord to install a wireless antena on the roof of someones property to relay the signal (this has happened to one of our buildings where the supper got a knock on the door and Cingular offered money to put an antenna on the roof of our property and now we get paid to have a 50 foot antena to go on top of the building) this can work with internet companies, just call them up and see if this can be done in your area, im sure they will provide you with free internet access if they do decide to include a wireless relay on the near property

its just a thought

Hey Fligh -

You might want to look at this and keep an eye on the Walmart/Hughes broadband satellite deal over the next few months. Might be a cost effective way for you to get broadband if the surrounding hills cooperate.


Thanks for that. I’d forgotten about this thread. And thanks to tango too. A little realism kicked in after reading that. Wallmart’s gig seems to be cheaper but there’s no details and it seems to have been a paid article by Hughesnet.

I couldn’t get any joy out of the ladies when I was there last week (yes, there’s five of them, I’ve been shunted from Clarkesburg to Morganstown to Parkersburg), but I’ve decided to wait and see wht happens when the phones go digital. I can live with dialup for the time being.