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WildBlue continues to befuddle me

As I've said before, my ISP is WildBlue, a satellite broadband provider. Normally I'm complaining about it. This post is no exception. (grin)

My connectivity was down for almost an entire day, about 20 hours or so. Yesterday when the connectivity went out, there was some very light rainfall outside which then turned to a very light snowfall with barely a half inch of accumulation.

Yes, rain and snow do cut satellite signals from time to time, but bear the following in mind:

I also have DirecTV. The dishes are nearly identical. Same size. On the same roof about fifteen feet apart, both pointing in the same direction (I believe it's 101 degrees if I'm not mistaken).

DirecTV keep a steady solid signal strength of 96% with no interruptions whatsoever.

WildBlue on the other hand dropped like a brick.

I'll edit this post later with more info, but right now I have to head to the hospital to visit Pop. More on this later.


Okay, some more info...

By the way Pop is okay. He will be having surgery tomorrow once again on his foot.

Back to the WildBlue thing:

I am on Beam 19. You can see the beams at the FAQ. Beams are the way satellite broadband works. Compared to traditional old-school satellite internet that required a phone line, modern providers like WildBlue and DirecWay (now known as HughesNet) use a "spot-beam" technology to deliver data connectivity and does not require a phone line. To get even more specific, the spot-beam uses Ka-Band for those interested.

So anyway, Beam 19 didn't work at all yesterday and I was ticked off about it. Any other broadband provider would happily discount you for the time lost when you weren't connected if using DSL or Cablemodem automatically (most of the time you don't even have to report it). With satellite internet there is no such thing. You are charged the same regardless if it's working or not. Satellite broadband providers act the same way wireless phone companies do. "Service not working? Tough crap. We're still gonna charge you anyway."

If I call WildBlue and complain they will instantly just say "it was probably the weather" and not bother refunding you for connectivity time lost. They could also blame just about anything else except themselves and get away with it. How could you prove otherwise? In other words, it's useless to call them if your service goes out because they have an arsenal of "your fault" excuses at the ready, so it's not even worth it.

I can easily say Beam 19 was down because my DirecTV was working perfectly with a 96% signal strength with no outage whatsoever. Yes I understand the bands are different, but the direction in which the dishes are pointing is the same, meaning if there truly was a complication caused by weather, both dishes wouldn't work, not just one.

I've said this before and I'll say it again - it won't be soon enough when I can ditch this crappy satellite broadband and go back to true-blue cablemodem. Cablemodem is still the fastest and most reliable - no doubt about it. It is the most expensive, but I guess you get what you pay for.


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