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Why Did you Make the Switch. . .and What Took you So Long?

April 5, 2013

I changed my personal Internet Service Provider today. It made me think of two questions:

1. What motivated me to switch
2. Why switch now

They sound like the same question, but for me, anyway, they aren’t. The first question is the easiest for me.

What Motivated Me to Switch?

With Comcast, I was paying $67 a month for 7 Mbit down and 1.5 Mbit upload speeds. This new service, Miles Wireless is $49 per month for 10 Mbit down and 3 Mbit up. That seems pretty simple, higher speeds and a lower cost. Who WOULDN’T switch?

But, I’ve known about Miles Wireless for months. My neighbor Jonathan Shaw (him of the Smack It With a Hammer fame) has been after me to switch since last winter. Another neighbor has a Miles Wireless sign in his front yard.

And Miles Wireless is exactly the kind of company I like to support. It’s a local ISP. In fact, it is only available in my town of Pleasant Grove, UT. Kevin Miles, the guy behind it has less than 150 customers and runs it part time. I LOVE small local businesses.

Unlike cable, his system uses line-of-sight relays on the mountains. Not sure why this made me happy, but it was kind of cool.


Why Switch Now?

But, none of that was enough to get me to switch. For me, there’s has to be a Tipping Point to get me to change. It took me longer than it should have to get my home internet set up. I didn’t really want to touch it.

We moved into our house in March of 2012. Our Wireless setup wasn’t particular complex, but it took me longer than I felt it should have to get it fully set up. When we moved we also switched from DSL to Comcast cable modem. The price was slightly more, but we increased our bandwidth as well. I think we were at 4 Mbit on DSL.

The initial price for Comcast was about $50 per month. After a few months the price inched up to $55. We grumbled, but the speed was mostly good. . .It wasn’t 7 Mbit, but it was faster than DSL. A few months later the price inched up again to about $60. And then a couple months later to $67. Each time, it wasn’t really enough to make a difference. Really, are you going to rip out your home internet connection and replace it with something new for $5 a month? I’m not.

I looked at the final price increase and compared it to what we had started at. I tried to remind myself that it wasn’t a five dollar increase, it was seventeen dollars per month more. Add to that the fact that we could get better speeds, better service, cheaper prices, and support a local small business, and it was finally enough to push me over the tipping point.

It’s probably also the fact that spring has sprung in Utah. The weather is absolutely perfect. Spring time in the Rockies always inspires me to tackle those nagging projects that I’ve fretted over all winter.

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  1. Michael permalink

    I’m just wondering, how does weather like snowstorms affect the line-of-sight system? Do you get service disruptions during snowstorms?

    Or is a case where if the snow is so bad that you loose internet, you were going to loose internet anyway?

    • Honestly, it’s never been a problem. It’s snowing right now and I’ve noticed no impact on my internet service. I think part of the reason is that it’s a small dish, probably only about 9 inches. And it’s pointed only slightly above horizontal.

      I’ve had satellite TV in the past and it was impacted by snow, but the snow would pile up in the dish and the dish was pointed at the sky.

      We’ve had some pretty heavy snowstorms, but not really what I’d call a blizzard since we set it up. Our biggest issue was lightening. The relay tower is made of metal and sits up on the mountainside. I think we’ve lost connections twice because the tower got hit and fried the electronics.

      But, never anything from snow or rain.

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