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This is more or less a casual inquiry to see if anyone knows much about WiMax, but I currently have a very irritating dial up (peoplepc) that costs 8.95 and someone with a sign at the end of our road is promoting WiMax, with a receiver on top of a pole or tree or our house or something. This will cost close to $50 a month I believe, but with no cable in our area, and AT&T's 14.95 special "not available to us"(was transferred several times & they found something for over $60).
Well apparently its tricky out in the boonies.

anyone who recommends we move somewhere will be promptly ignored. I'm figuring with a cost of around $4 every time I want to drive to a library to use a real computer it might be worth it, besides I could actually try to sell things (books!) on half.com or some other site that might make the payments affordable. Besides, my husband says maybe I'll look things up for him instead of just grunting & forgetting what he asked.
So anyway... here's the poll
Keep the ol' dial up, you don't need more expenses.
Try it, what have you got to lose?
Try a satellite dish or something else
I have a modem in my pants
Who needs a computer in 2011 anyway, get a smart phone

Click here to see results so far.

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Can you afford a $50/mo thing?

I tried wimax here, and I can get it nearly everywhere in town. But, for me, it's about $30-45/mo that I don't really have, and decided not to do it. Also, when I tried it, I found it slow compared to my cable internet.

But I'm not way out in the boonies with only dialup.

Have you looked into other options? I think you should look into other options first, and compare the prices and availability.

Ishtar
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If your husband also wants internet access at home, this won't be the most cost-effective solution, but since the iPad 2 came out, I believe you can buy the original iPad from Apple for $99, and unlimited data with AT&T is $30/month (that's what I pay anyway, but I signed up 2 years ago).

I got my iPad mainly for internet/email access on long RV trips. I usually have some level of service even in the wilderness, small towns, remote campgrounds, along interstates.

One of the things I love about the iPad is that it doesn't support Flash, so navigating web sites like TMF is actually faster than it is on a laptop--no waiting for the animated advertising at the top of every page. And there are also lots of free and cheap apps and books to download.
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my husband does NOT want to look at computer screens due to vision problems, but I'd sort of like to get Youtube stuff on our Tv. I think we can figure out how to do that.
I think an Ipad is expensive.

joycets
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She doesn't have enough money to buy an iPad.

She and her husband are not making much at all.

Ishtar
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You can't get unlimited any more on iPad unless you are grandfathered in. If you stream video you will use $30 a month really fast.

I do like my iPad but it doesn't compare to a computer for really heavy duty web surfing, streaming, etc. Just not enough horsepower for that.

I think it depends on how much you use internet and whether the $50 can fit in the budget. For me, the internet is a cheap source of entertainment and has enabled me to get rid of a lot of things I used to pay for. For example, when we recently moved we got rid of cable TV. Most of the shows that I like are on Hulu already for free. We also got rid of our landline and use Skype instead. That kind of thing.

Assuming the OP doesn't have to sign a long contract I would try Wimax out.
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if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. $50/mo seems a bit high but I don't know. If you live in one of the remaining locations that does not have access to broadband, DSL or Satellite, or can't afford the high speed that is in your area, it's a good thing dial-up still exists.

Fuskie
Who recalls that Google is working to bring broadband internet service of some kind to a lot of rural communities but does not know where or on what schedule the service will be deployed...
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She doesn't have enough money to buy an iPad.
She and her husband are not making much at all.


I understand. My thinking was that $30/month is less than $50/month, and 5 months @$20 per mo pays for the iPad. And it uses less electricity than a regular computer.
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You can't get unlimited any more on iPad unless you are grandfathered in. If you stream video you will use $30 a month really fast.

bummer :-(
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Well, the iPad2 starts at $499. 5 months x $20/mo is only $100. So, I'm confused.

But, she doesn't have steady income, and coming up with a lump sum is often difficult.

Ishtar
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Ok everybody. I'm still thinking (of course). We shouldn't be considered all THAT rural, being in the same county as the state capital, for cat's sake. Every now & then I'm tempted to cancel the cell phone
(we will NOT cancel the Land Line. It will NOT happen.) but I really really like my number, and of course there are all those calls from DH asking me to pick up such and such from the grocery store.

come to think of it, maybe then I could afford the wimax, if I didn't buy him any of this stuff at the grocery store!
(partly tongue in cheek).

joycets
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What is $20 a month you are all discussing here?

(my sucky dial up is 8.95)

jts
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She was talking about the difference between the wimax ($50) and the stuff she thought you could get from the iPad ($30).

Ishtar
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Reading in "get organized" about making own laundry soap. Surely this could help pay for the other things!


joycets (thinking creatively at 1 am)
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Well, the iPad2 starts at $499. 5 months x $20/mo is only $100. So, I'm confused.

AFAIK they're still selling the original iPad for $99 (my BFF got one a couple of months ago).
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we will NOT cancel the Land Line. It will NOT happen

Are you sure? Everyone I know who doesn't have it, doesn't miss it. Some use Skype in addition to cell phones. DH & I share the second lowest package of shared minutes offered by AT&T for our cell phones. It reminds me of the olden days when you had to pay attention to long-distance minutes because they were expensive, but it's not a big deal.

We're living on 1/4 of what we used to make in our heyday, so I know what it's like to cut expenses. Periodically I cut something down or out...usually takes a while to adjust.

My most recent goal was reducing our grocery bills. Previous time I did this, I went for less meat & dairy, this time we're eliminating large portions/second helpings. Instead of 2 eggs apiece for breakfast, we have 1, instead of 3-4 pancakes and 2 slices of bacon, we each have 2 small pancakes and 1 slice of bacon--so we now buy 1/2 pound of bacon a month and 1 dozen eggs instead of a whole pound and 2 dozen eggs. And that's just one example.
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hmmm, refurbs are running $350+. http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/ipad?mco=...

I don't see any on the clearance page. Maybe used off ebay? I see some with small starting bids there, but they look kinda scammy.

Anyway, even $100 is hard for joyce to come up with.

Ishtar
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We also got rid of our landline and use Skype instead.

I had forgotten all about Skype, and think it's the answer to an issue I've been having:

I work from home and only have an iphone. Before I took my current job, I maybe used around 150 of my 450 monthly minutes. With this current job, there can be lots of conference calls some months, and this month I used all 450 minutes, plus another 400 or so of my accumulated 1,700 monthly rollover minutes, so I could see how I could quickly run out of minutes, and needed another option. My first thought was to look into upping my cellphone plan - but I think Skype will be a cheaper option.

Thanks for mentioning it!
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My first thought was to look into upping my cellphone plan - but I think Skype will be a cheaper option.

Skype is way cheaper. You can buy the ability to call phones for $2.99 a month with a 15% discount if you sign up for a year.

That lets you call people with phones but you don't a number they can call (they can only call you computer to computer).

You can get an online number which is $60 for year.

However, if you get the online number after you sign up for a subscription to make calls then the online number is $30. You must sign up for the subscription first to get the discount for the online number.

You can also make and receive skype calls on your iphone which is also nice.

We got rid of Vonage for Skype and it has worked just fine.
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I work from home and only have an iphone. Before I took my current job, I maybe used around 150 of my 450 monthly minutes. With this current job, there can be lots of conference calls some months, and this month I used all 450 minutes, plus another 400 or so of my accumulated 1,700 monthly rollover minutes, so I could see how I could quickly run out of minutes, and needed another option. My first thought was to look into upping my cellphone plan - but I think Skype will be a cheaper option.


If you're working at home, why isn't your employer providing you with a cell phone? I have an iphone for work that is provided by my employer, and so I don't use my personal cell phone or my own minutes for work.

Why isn't your phone provided by your employer?
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Why isn't your phone provided by your employer?

It's a small company, so they don't provide phones, but I should be able to deduct the percentage of work-related calls from my taxes. If one absolutely didn't want to use their own phone for work, than you could go into the office-space - which is one big room with tables, no assigned workstations - and hope no one else is using the one phone there. IMO, using my own phone is a small price to pay to have the work-from-home option.

Thanks for the info Determinedmom. I don't think I'll need a skype number at this point - the greatest thing eating up my minutes right now is when I call into conference call numbers for company meetings or software webinars. I think I'm going to first try the "Skype Credit - Pay as you go" for a week or 2, and if that works out I'll go for the subscription.
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, but I should be able to deduct the percentage of work-related calls from my taxes.

Provided that you itemize and that you have work-related expenses that are more than the 2% of your AGI.
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joycets,

Have you checked with Verizon to see if you can get their high-speed DSL? I had it for a brief time and it was wonderful; ~$25 per month and speed like cable.

Unfortunately, I moved and can't get it here. :-(

Minxie
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I don't like Clearwire's throttling. That being said, Wimax on a bad day is easily ten times better than PeoplePC on the best day.

IIRC there is a Wimax only plan if you don;t travel. They also have a 3g/4g plan if you need to travel with it - as Wimax isn't "everywhere"

May I suggest www.millenicom.com they might be cheaper.

And satellite would be pretty much as bad as dialup and not portable like a Mifi or USB adapter would be.
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unlimited data with AT&T is $30/month

*Except IIRC the "new" unlimited is 2GB a month. We just got slammed with our company Iphone I would imagine the same for Ipad. You might be on the old grandfathered plan.
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When (I am not saying if, I am saying When) the power goes out (we are referring to Electricity) due to a storm or other goofball reason, a dial up phone Will Work (to call the power company!). All these other options require power, batteries (that eventually require power), etc etc etc.

Anyway my husband isn't getting a cell phone, and cell phones don't work well under metal roofs and never in my house. (why do most people not know this about metal roofs?)

joycets
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Anyway my husband isn't getting a cell phone, and cell phones don't work well under metal roofs and never in my house. (why do most people not know this about metal roofs?)

I don't think that's the case, with modern digital cell-phones. Signal quality varies from phone to phone, provider to provider. I work in a modular blast proof building half the time (think Faraday Cage with carpets) and would rarely get a signal on my old phone/network. I replaced the phone and moved my number to a different network a month ago and now don't have signal problems.

Incidentally, I tested out the new network six months ago when I accidentally left my old phone at home and bought a pay-as-you-go temporary one from the supermarket for £10. Since I'm up here for a week at a time, having a phone to call home with in the evenings is important, so I bought the cheapest piece of kit I could find to do the job. Was shocked at the clarity of the signal.

- Pam
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PipneyJane,

You wrote, I don't think that's the case, with modern digital cell-phones. ...

Well ... I've worked for a cell phone manufacturer ... and I've worked on other wireless technologies.

Metal roofs, do attenuate signals and they do it almost perfectly across all frequencies if they're properly grounded. However, a signal can get outside a building with a metal roof if there are opportunities for reflection that can reach a nearby cell tower. Of course each reflection attenuates the signal further, so signal strength and range will be more limited.

Also, Signal quality varies from phone to phone, provider to provider.

The variables for signal quality involve phone antenna quality, proximity to cell tower and noise / obstacles in the path to the tower. Ironically none of this is a function of the phone network providers per se. It is a function of the cell phone manufacturer and whoever sited the tower(s) (the cell towers are often leased and may not be owned by the network they are servicing).

And, I work in a modular blast proof building half the time (think Faraday Cage with carpets) and would rarely get a signal on my old phone/network.

Carpet isn't much of an obstacle. The problem with structures like you describe are that the spacing of the steel beams and/or re-bar determines what frequency bands get attenuated. Most steel structures do not consist of solid steel cages. Concrete makes a pretty good attenuator, but it's not perfect - in fact, it's probably no better than sheet rock of the same thickness. Ironically wood makes a fairly good attenuator because of it's moisture content.

Also, I replaced the phone and moved my number to a different network a month ago and now don't have signal problems.

This probably had more to do with the placement of the nearest cell tower for that network and/or a better quality phone or at least a phone with a better quality antenna. Antenna quality has definitely improved over the years. Of course it could also have to do with better penetration through your building walls if the new provider is using a different frequency band in your area.

Finally, Incidentally, I tested out the new network six months ago when I accidentally left my old phone at home and bought a pay-as-you-go temporary one from the supermarket for £10. Since I'm up here for a week at a time, having a phone to call home with in the evenings is important, so I bought the cheapest piece of kit I could find to do the job. Was shocked at the clarity of the signal.

Sounds like you were really shocked at the quality of voice call. Voice calls are more often impacted by the quality and placement of the speaker and mic on the handset.

As long as your phone isn't falling back to a 1st gen connection, the signal should be digitized and compressed at the handset. This means voice quality only degrades either at the handset or through the loss of packets. Packet loss is pretty obvious in that it results in stuttering, dead air, missed phonemes, etc.

Unfortunately there have been a lot of phones sold in recent years that have poor mics and speakers. But you could be right about signal quality as well - depends on the placement of the tower, etc. It can be hard for anyone without a trained ear to distinguish the difference, so half the time people place the blame on the wrong thing...

BTW, a metal roof will likely cause problems receiving a strong WiMax signal unless there is an antenna mounted on the roof. The result might not be a complete failure - just inferior data rates.

- Joel
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MetroChick,
I also use cell phone for work and the conference calls eat up the minutes. I switched from AT&T to Verizon. AT&T had the rollover. Verizon has the friends and family. I made the 2 conference numbers part of friends numbers so the calls to these are free! Just something else to think about. AT&T may have something similar. Call them to ask.
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