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Still Surfing the Information Highway

The very first article I wrote for this column was in August of 2012, and was entitled, ‘Surfing the Information Dirt Road’. Here we are, nearly nine years later, and I am still surfing the information dirt road, but alas, a light is at the end of the technology tunnel.

The article referred to my internet connection back then, which was coming in around two or three MBS (Megabytes per Second). Since then, a great deal has happened with reference to the internet.

First of all, people are sending bigger files to each other. I get a number of video clips that are at least 10MB each. Secondly, we now have streaming services such as Netflix, Prime, Britbox and Acorn (and a bunch of other ones). Thirdly, I have several Nest cams constantly checking my house, as well as a thermostat, a couple of phones, a few iPads and probably stuff I don’t know about.

I saw an ad in the newspaper from a local cable company, offering 400 MBS download. To me these ads are very depressing, as my service, offers 25MBS. I should mention; 25MBS is the best I can possibly get. I have had people on my roof and climbing trees, but the location of my house does not offer a line of sight to anything other than a satellite in the sky.

Ordinarily, 25MBS would be OK. It would allow me to run Netflix and a couple of my cameras, however, my latest speed test this morning, showed 7 MBS, which is more what I am used to. If we want to watch Netflix (which I have already set to the lowest quality streaming), I have to turn my Nest cams off.

It may sound like I am somewhat negative, but I am not, at least not anymore. My new best friend, Elon Musk, has come to my rescue. Starting in May I will be able to hook up to one of his new 10,000 or so satellites, for an internet speed of up to 100MBS. My monthly cost will be about two thirds to half of what I am now paying, although there is a start up fee for equipment.

Am I excited? You have no idea. I will miss such things as grabbing a coffee while I upload a file to the cloud, having four or five seconds lag in my zoom calls and the small spinning circle, during my movie watching. Thanks to Elon and Starlink, I may soon be able to live in an internet world, which I have only dreamed about since the internet first started in this area, in 1991.

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