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Old 09-28-2010, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Homer Alaska
1,055 posts, read 1,480,544 times
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The highspeed in Homer is laughable and expensive.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:59 PM
 
7 posts, read 20,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigre79 View Post
Can you take a vacation for a couple weeks or more to check it out? Might give you some ideas about what things are like, how far apart things are (sure you can look at maps, but actually driving the roads is a lot better), what different areas look like, the different attitudes in different towns, etc.

Also, what do you like to do for fun? Do you need an urban area nearby or would you rather live several hours away?
Believe me, I'd visit before I sell my entire apartment worth of junk (Emphasis on junk) and move there. I can't afford to visit every town in Alaska though. I wish I could though.
I believe I mentioned I like to ski. Just in case I didn't: I like to ski. (Sorry, I'm also a smartass at times, pay me no mind, or call me a jackass.) I also enjoy writing, and various other uninteresting things that wouldn't affect location. Apparently I'll need an urban area as well, for this internet thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
Yeah, check into it, it can be a problem in some areas. Don't know what they've got up around Anchorage these days. So called high speed internet through the usual carriers here in SE is pretty much a joke though.
Thanks for the info, I'm looking into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
If your Internet use includes games, the latency anywhere in Alaska will kill you. There is some possibility that Juneau could have an ISP that connects directly to Seattle via fiber, but every other location goes through Anchorage and even via fiber you're at a disadvantage.

Otherwise, the urban areas of Alaska that are connected via fiber have sufficient bandwidth available for streaming audio or video. That is as opposed to locations connected via satellite, where that is possible but expensive in the larger towns (Barrow, Bethel, Nome etc.) and simply impossible in the small villages.

if video is not important to your business, almost any place you are likely to want to live will have sufficient Internet bandwidth. The normal residential network feed does not allow operation of a server, but you probably would not want to anyway.

Now, in the relatively near future some of this is likely to change. One company is supposedly (lots of great noise early last winter, but no action this summer) working on three submarine fiber cables. One would ring Alaska, then they would connect to Europe across the Arctic Ocean and the third would go to Asia.

If that ever does happen, the North Slope will become the most ideal place in the entire world for a massive data center. In addition to having the lowest latency to just about anywhere, the massive cost of cooling and powering such an operation are very low here (electricity in Barrow is generated with natural gas from local wells, and we have the lowest average ambient temperature of any location in the US).
My focus would be on reliability, not really too concerned about streaming video. If I lose internet for a day, that could mean money lost. I have to communicate with clients and partners every day, etc etc etc insert more boring stuff.

I'm reading about the Rural Alaska Broadband Internet Access Program right now. I honestly didn't realize so many Alaskans were without internet access.

Do you guys lose the net often during the winters?

A bit annoying that my business may become a hindrance to living in Alaska.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:02 PM
 
20,437 posts, read 26,568,031 times
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Look into HughsNet or Starband satellite systems. They aren't as expensive as you might think and worth it if you need to stay connected.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:12 PM
 
7 posts, read 20,102 times
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I may look into satellite. Anyone have an average up-time for it during the winter? i.e. Will I lose it during bad storms, etc?
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,762 posts, read 4,200,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdjrkns View Post
Believe me, I'd visit before I sell my entire apartment worth of junk (Emphasis on junk) and move there. I can't afford to visit every town in Alaska though. I wish I could though.
You can do some research in advance and then rent a car and hit several areas you're interested in. It's a big state of course, but what's on the road system is a relatively small part (though you haven't said you wanted to be on the road system).

Quote:
I believe I mentioned I like to ski. Just in case I didn't: I like to ski. (Sorry, I'm also a smartass at times, pay me no mind, or call me a jackass.) I also enjoy writing, and various other uninteresting things that wouldn't affect location. Apparently I'll need an urban area as well, for this internet thing.
You didn't elaborate, and I assumed you had other interests. If by skiing you mean downhill on groomed slopes, know that there aren't many ski resorts here. There's Alyeska in Girdwood, and a handful of smaller ones amongst Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Cordova. This ain't Colorado. There's more to skiing than just that resort stuff though. Out this way it's all about cross-country and backcountry.

I've known other developers who moved to places with limited internet and did just fine with satellite. Don't count it out. That said, we just have regular DSL and it's fast enough for our needs and as reliable as I've seen anywhere else.

Last edited by tigre79; 09-28-2010 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 6,415,838 times
Reputation: 1828
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdjrkns View Post
My focus would be on reliability, not really too concerned about streaming video. If I lose internet for a day, that could mean money lost. I have to communicate with clients and partners every day, etc etc etc insert more boring stuff.
You'll do okay in any location with more than 2000 people then.

GCI is the largest telecommunications provider in Alaska, and they use C-Band satellite systems with mid-route earth stations (10 meter dish antennas) in all towns like Bethel and Barrow and Nome. They have 30 meter dish antennas and fiber connectivity in virtually all of the urban areas of Alaska and the locations connected via highway.

Ku-Band satellite systems like Starband and Hughsnet are a viable alternative for people who live on the fringes or outside the service areas mentioned above. Ku-Band systems are do not have as much bandwidth and are not as reliable (reliability depends on the installation, so it varies considerably ).

Typically if your Ku-Band equipment fails it may take days to recover. Typically outages with GCI and other similar major providers (several telecom companies operate as regional ISP's and AT&T also operates statewide) will only last for hours at most, and even major problems will be repaired in 24 hours. I can only recall one interruption over the past decade here in Barrow lasting more than 24 hours. (These companies are sitting on multi-million dollar contracts for connectivity, so an extended outage would cost them thousands per day.)

Quote:
I'm reading about the Rural Alaska Broadband Internet Access Program right now. I honestly didn't realize so many Alaskans were without internet access.
In fact Alaska has the highest per capita Internet usage in the country. We are one of the top five or ten in terms of Internet access in the home.

Quote:
Do you guys lose the net often during the winters?
Weather might affect a poorly installed home Ku-Band system, but not likely anything else. A poorly secured antenna can be unstable in high winds, and a dish full of snow is not good. But for at least the northern half of the state the look angle is low that the dish is nearly vertical, and snow either doesn't accumulate or is blow away naturally.
Quote:
A bit annoying that my business may become a hindrance to living in Alaska.
Actually, it sounds as if it is an advantage! If Internet connectivity is all you need, you can live almost anywhere. Kinda like being a school teacher.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Alaska
5,352 posts, read 15,864,977 times
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Check GCI.com to see what's offered and available at various locations. I recently upgraded my service and was able to see a Netflix HD movie at two steps below the top level.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:18 AM
 
Location: Fairbanks, AK
1,745 posts, read 2,275,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
Look into HughsNet or Starband satellite systems. They aren't as expensive as you might think and worth it if you need to stay connected.
My girlfriend had Hughsnet and it sucked. It was always going out. Plus, they have ridiculous limits set on it. Go over the limit and you get knocked down to dial up speed for the next 24 hours.

I use AlasConnect here in Fairbanks. It's fairly reliable. Only been out for about 30 minutes in the last 8 months I've had it. I had ACS before that for 5 years. They are very reliable but not available everywhere.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:50 PM
 
7 posts, read 20,102 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigre79 View Post
You can do some research in advance and then rent a car and hit several areas you're interested in. It's a big state of course, but what's on the road system is a relatively small part (though you haven't said you wanted to be on the road system).

You didn't elaborate, and I assumed you had other interests. If by skiing you mean downhill on groomed slopes, know that there aren't many ski resorts here. There's Alyeska in Girdwood, and a handful of smaller ones amongst Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Cordova. This ain't Colorado. There's more to skiing than just that resort stuff though. Out this way it's all about cross-country and backcountry.

I've known other developers who moved to places with limited internet and did just fine with satellite. Don't count it out. That said, we just have regular DSL and it's fast enough for our needs and as reliable as I've seen anywhere else.
I suppose I want to be on the road system, and at least have a few stores within 1-20 miles. I do plan to drive up there. I love road trips, and this one would be one of the longest I've driven. Too bad I'll be doing it alone, don't know of anyone crazy enough I can drag with me for weeks on the road.
I don't care for the pricey ski resorts, too many people there. I prefer the snow over the people, sorry. I just like playing in the snow. I'm a big kid. Cross-country is fine too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
You'll do okay in any location with more than 2000 people then.

GCI is the largest telecommunications provider in Alaska, and they use C-Band satellite systems with mid-route earth stations (10 meter dish antennas) in all towns like Bethel and Barrow and Nome. They have 30 meter dish antennas and fiber connectivity in virtually all of the urban areas of Alaska and the locations connected via highway.

Ku-Band satellite systems like Starband and Hughsnet are a viable alternative for people who live on the fringes or outside the service areas mentioned above. Ku-Band systems are do not have as much bandwidth and are not as reliable (reliability depends on the installation, so it varies considerably ).

Typically if your Ku-Band equipment fails it may take days to recover. Typically outages with GCI and other similar major providers (several telecom companies operate as regional ISP's and AT&T also operates statewide) will only last for hours at most, and even major problems will be repaired in 24 hours. I can only recall one interruption over the past decade here in Barrow lasting more than 24 hours. (These companies are sitting on multi-million dollar contracts for connectivity, so an extended outage would cost them thousands per day.)


In fact Alaska has the highest per capita Internet usage in the country. We are one of the top five or ten in terms of Internet access in the home.


Weather might affect a poorly installed home Ku-Band system, but not likely anything else. A poorly secured antenna can be unstable in high winds, and a dish full of snow is not good. But for at least the northern half of the state the look angle is low that the dish is nearly vertical, and snow either doesn't accumulate or is blow away naturally.


Actually, it sounds as if it is an advantage! If Internet connectivity is all you need, you can live almost anywhere. Kinda like being a school teacher.
Thanks, it does seem better than the gloom and doom I was reading into other's posts about how bad the net is.

looks like I'll be fine on the net issue, I can go pretty much anywhere still. I might just drive to Anchorage and then Fairbanks, not really sure where else to go. No one is giving me any stellar ideas yet, but then I am being rather vague.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Homer Alaska
1,055 posts, read 1,480,544 times
Reputation: 846
Check out the Kenai Penninsula. It sounds like Soldatna, Kenai, Sterling area might suit you. They have a web site that has quite a bit of good information on it.
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