PENASCO, N.M. -- So far in this five-part series on my five-year attempt to bring decent broadband to my remote mountain home, I've struck out with cable and DSL and struggled with overpriced, under-performing satellite access.
Technology has, of course, advanced in the last half-decade, including here in the tiny Penasco valley, but it seems to keep passing me by. In the last installment, I explained how the DSL access available at my house isn't worth much, thanks to a lack of investment by our regional telecom. About the same time it was making its "upgrades," another broadband technology was making its debut here.
Fixed wireless service went up on Picuris Peak and another nearby rise in the valley, promising to bring speeds "at least five times faster than dial-up." That doesn't exactly qualify as an offer you can't refuse, but the top-tier package does amount to a baby step upward from the brutal satellite Internet setup I described in part 1 of this series.
Currently, the rural co-op offering the service provides speeds up to 3Mbps, but it will cost you $95 a month. That still looks pretty attractive when you're living with a 1.5Mbps connection with a harsh data cap for about the same price.
So I scheduled a site survey. In fact, I scheduled two after the first one didn't go too well without the senior installer on hand. The second one didn't go well either. The line of sight to both nearby fixed wireless towers -- the service requires an unobstructed path between an antenna installed on the roof and a tower as much as 15 miles away -- is blocked from my property.… Read more