What Really Works

Tabasco, apparently, doesn’t. The horses decided that they didn’t mind some chile marinade and started in on the fencing again. We tried some commercial products and they didn’t fare much better. The Neighbor, then, had a brilliant idea of using deer repellent. Hey, an herbivore is an herbivore, right?

It worked perfectly. It has to be reapplied after it rains, but it sure keeps the horses away from the fencing. Lovely!

Today, I had a nice chat with a delightful representative at Frontier, which is the small company that bought all the rural telephone land lines from Verizon. Their idea has been to bring broadband into the areas that were underserved by Verizon. So far, they’ve added close to 200,000 new DSL customers just by updating the wiring. They are within a mile and a half and I have all my fingers crossed, hoping they get here soon.

I know that there are more rural geeks out there, those who believe in the benefits of high tech and yet love the country life. I’d like to hear from you. What are your rural aspirations? Do you believe online gaming and agriculture can exist together? (Farmville, anyone?) I’d really like to know what you think.

It’s a Race!

A number of communications companies are working to provide true broadband service to more rural places. Here’s what I’m hearing:

Wild Blue, using a ViaSat satellite, is currently available. However, it doesn’t support VoIP, according to their website, and it has a 17,000 Mb limit per month, which is still better than Hughesnet’s 300 Mb per day limit. Both companies are now touting their new satellites to be launched by the end of the year, saying that they will have VoIP. Both are priced around $70 per month.

There is some cellphone, and wireless aircard, service that actually reaches here, but again, there are speed and download limits. None provide VoIP capabilities, which are crucial to my job. Their prices run between $60 to $120 per month.

Frontier Communications just bought all of Verizon’s rural communications land lines, hoping to provide DSL service to the countryside. They are saying that DSL should be here by Christmas. Their price is around $20 and there is no daily or monthly limit.

So, we’re still waiting to see what will happen. I’m tired of holding my breath.