As we all know, most log homes are built in secluded and rural locations. As more people become connected and others telecommute, internet access is becoming more of an issue and is something to be considered in your log home research. Some remote areas do have DSL and some even have fiber ran for access. I’ve been surprised at some of the areas that have broadband access through DSL, cable or fiber. However, the norm for Minnesota log home locations is spotty DSL at best. Keep reading for a quick run down on some internet access options for rural areas.
Satellite Internet The two providers of satellite internet are Hughesnet and Wildblue. You are going to be starting at around $50.00/month for their basic services with a contract. Even with the improved satellites there is still a lag time (latency) in the transmission of data between the satellite and your computer. That latency makes using Skype and Facetime somewhat difficult. On top of that, the satellite providers have a Fair Access Policy which restricts your usage daily or monthly depending on which provider you use. They will throttle you back or charge you more if you go over. Rain, snow and tree cover can slow down your speeds or completely stop it depending on the situation. During high volume times you may also see reduced download speeds.
Mobile Broadband Mobile broadband is gaining in popularity. Quite a few areas are currently covered by 3G service right now with 4G LTE coverage being expanded quite rapidly. Quite a few smartphones can be used as hotspots to tether to your laptop or device. Another option is using a separate hotspot. Most can be switched between 4G and 3G and if you have strong 4G signal you will see great download speeds. Personally, I’ve seen some reduced speeds due to weather and high web traffic times but overall have been impressed with the performance of the device. Data plans come into play. The Verizon hotspots are usually a 5 gig per month plan and can get expensive if you go over the allowance. The advantage of mobile broadband is its portability and you can take it home with you when you aren’t at your cabin whereas satellite is going to be left behind when you head home but the monthly cost is still there.
Regardless of satellite or mobile broadband you need to be aware of the limitations of data allowance and coverage limitations. Streaming music and videos are going to burn through your data plan in a hurry so either of these options are really suited for regular web surfing and day to day usage. If you do use a lot of data it is best to research an upgraded monthly plan.
The price to pay for having your log home in that secluded location is lack of internet. For some, it is great to be unplugged but for others that depend on being connected for work or live in their log home all year, internet access is an important thing to consider.