I took a phone call some time ago from someone in Oneonta who was building a new house out in the country.
He had already bought land, the house was designed and construction was starting. The question the caller had pertained to what kind of Internet connection he could get at the new house.
In Oneonta, he had Internet provided by the TV cable company, as do 67 percent of people in the Northeast. He never thought much about what any other options may be. Getting Internet access was simple, just call Time-Warner and ask for it. Then pay the bill.
When he called about getting TV and Internet at his new house, he found out what many country-dwellers already knew: the cable doesn't go there.
The reason? The cable company only runs cable to areas with enough population density to make it worth its while. If you're not in a place like that, and you really want cable, you'll have to pay for the company to run it, and that proposition starts out in the thousands of dollars if you can talk it into it at all.
The upshot: it's very easy to go from several Internet choices to near-nothing in a half mile.
Now what? That's what he was asking me.
So, let's sort out some of the options for residential Internet service.
First, way back in time, there was dial-up Internet. There still is, for most places. Most people don't think about that any more. Maybe they just don't want to think about it any more, especially after using something faster.
Dial-up is slow, and it can be less than dependable. Some say that trying to surf the Web on dial-up just isn't worth it. But it is, after all, still an option. There are a number of dial-up access providers.
Many people in rural areas have satellite TV. You can also get Internet service via satellite, although probably not from your satellite TV company. Satellite Internet is similar to satellite TV, but quite a bit more involved.
Satellite Internet is advertised as being faster than dial-up, and technically it is, but in actual use I would not say it's terrific. If you're used to, say, cable Internet, you will probably be disappointed with satellite. It's also significantly more expensive than most other kinds of Internet connections and suffers from latency, which means there is more lag time between asking for and actually getting data.
There are two satellite providers that I know of, HughesNet and Wild Blue.
Next, I would suggest trying to see if you can get DSL service from your land-line telephone provider. In these parts, both Verizon and Frontier offer it, but in both cases your actual location will determine if you can get it, and how fast it will be.
Successful DSL service only works for a certain distance over the copper wires that the phone companies use. Typically, if you're within a couple miles of a central office, you have a good chance. If you live too far down the road, well, you can't get there from here.
If you can get it, DSL usually works pretty well, if not as fast as cable Internet.
Another possibility, if you have good cell phone service where you live, is to get the Internet via a cell phone connection. You can get a small device that will plug into one of your computer's USB ports, and connect your computer to the Internet over the cell phone signal.
Again, location matters. Good cell signal, you have hope. No cell signal, it's not an option.
There is one more option that may be available _ wireless Internet. The way this works is an Internet provider puts up a radio tower, and you get a radio that attaches to your house. Then you get Internet connectivity over the radio signal between your house and the tower.
Although this kind of connection isn't quite as fast as cable Internet, it does work pretty well. I have had some experience using connections of this type, and I would say it's comparable, speed-wise, to a good DSL service.
The catch is, again, this kind of service isn't available everywhere. But take heart, it is becoming more available in certain locations around here.
A company from Ithaca, Clarity Connect, provides this kind of service, and has been quietly gaining ground.
It currently has service in the Oneonta and Cooperstown areas, and has small operations beginning in certain parts of the Laurens, Sidney, Stamford and Delhi areas.
Its wireless Internet service is a little less costly than what you'd typically pay for cable or DSL service, and it doesn't require contracts, but it does have an upfront installation charge.
You can check them out (if you currently have Internet service, of course) at the company's website,
If you're interested in that wireless service, and it doesn't cover your area, there is an information form you can fill out on the website. I talked to the owner, and he said that when the company gets enough interested people an area, it considers beginning operations there.
In a couple weeks it will be lighting up the Milford area, in an extremely interesting collaboration with the Milford School District.
I'll fill you in on that in my next installment.
Bruce Endries is former systems manager at The Daily Star. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/techgp.
I took a phone call some time ago from someone in Oneonta who was building a new house out in the country.
Keep pets safe in cold, snowy season
Keeping your pets warm and safe is an important part of your winter weather routine. Take a look at these 10 points to help make your pets' snowy season happy and healthy.Continued ...
Carving a new Thankgiving tradition: Readers share holiday recipes
The menu of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 is much different than that of the traditional meal today.Continued ...
It takes a village
Amid the rural setting snuggled in scenic beauty bustles the Hobart Book Village.Continued ...
Stories to be told: Experts offer tips to capture veterans' tales
Veterans Day is a time to honor all those who have served our nation. Take time on Monday to honor them by learning from their experiences.Continued ...
Get creative with costumes
Halloween is right around the corner. As the leaves dry to a crunch and spooky decorations spring up around the neighborhoods, many people begin to imagine what they can become for that one night.Continued ...
- Keep pets safe in cold, snowy season
- Around The Arts
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
Art found in the foods at local road stands, markets
Artisanal foods have become quite popular in recent years, with some abuse of the term by mass-retailers and fast food restaurants.Continued ...
'Record Breaker' exhibit to be at Orphic Gallery
"Record Breaker," featuring the work of Greg Frederick, will open Saturday at the Orphic Gallery in Roxubry.Continued ...
- Opportunities abound for career in the arts
- Music Beat
Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
Catch 22 is a successful American ska/punk band that has released several albums and has a record deal with the Chicago-based label, Victory Records. Although the band has its roots in New Jersey, founding member Ryan Eldred has friends with whom he produces recordings in Walton During one of Eldred's visits to Walton, he met Ann Jones, a home-schooled native of Walton, an enthusiastic cellist and successful professional hairstylist.Continued ...
Music Industry Tips
Here are some of Ann Jones' guiding principles:Continued ...
Do everything you can to show your support of all arts
Last week, a small woman of modest demeanor and appearance walked quietly on stage at the Glimmerglass Festival Theatre and seemed pleased but genuinely surprised when the standing room only audience rose spontaneously to its feet, expressing their respect with thunderous applause.Continued ...
Many things go into choosing, protecting a band's name
Musicians who are trying to build the popularity of their band have an almost unending list of responsibilities. They need to keep their musical skills strong, take care of musical equipment, and if they are really thinking about a future career, they should also write their own music.Continued ...
Music Industry Tips About Professional Musicians
Musicians know that every performance they play is an audition for their next engagement.Continued ...
- Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
- Parenting Imperfect
Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.Continued ...
A Halloween message to my future self
I'm writing this column a few days before Halloween. And I'm writing this mostly for my future self, as a reminder of the lessons learned this particular last week in October.Continued ...
My brain is losing its connection to eyes, teeth
I'm beginning to have grave doubts about my brain's ability to remember things.Continued ...
Celebrate small accomplishments of best laid plans
My summer plans always seem so reasonable when I make them in May. Come late-August, I wonder what the heck past-me was thinking.Continued ...
Vacation was great ... until today
Up until today, our family vacation has gone much better than expected. Today, however, was a high entropy day.Continued ...
- Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
- Senior scene
From the Office: Guardianship can be a complicated legal issue
Sometimes individuals cannot care for themselves. In New York, guardianship laws exist to empower others to take care of children and adults who need help to care for their persons and/or their property. This is the first of a two-part column that explores the issues and the law of guardianship in New York state.Continued ...
Looking Back: Pinch your pennies, especially by reading the fine print
Penny pinching is just that -- pinching pennies. The worsening economy is something that is reflected on so many, many faces: Unhappiness, irritability and just plain "I don't know what to do … what's next? All is so unbelievable!!Continued ...
Social Security: Start an online holiday tradition at www.socialsecurity.gov
As we approach this holiday season, I want to share an informative article written by a fellow Social Security employee. I hope you enjoy it.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Fuggedabout 'tempus fugit' in not-so-fun times
Someone recently asked me if I had one wish, what it would be?Continued ...
From the Office: Don't put off getting ready for winter any longer
We've had a beautiful fall and I, for one, have been tempted to put off thinking about winter.Continued ...
- From the Office: Guardianship can be a complicated legal issue
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
A Word of Advice: Digital speak doesn't translate
In an earlier article, I wrote about the importance of conversation as a lost art, however, after holding a few conversations with some fellow youths, I felt older than I should have.Continued ...
On the Go: We need to rethink holidays' meaning
The end of November smells like comfort. Our bellies are full and our wallets are empty.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'My So-Called Life' mirrors real teen life
I think that everybody has that one thing, whether itâ€™s a book or a movie or a band or anything else, that they are so deeply infatuated with they simply canâ€™t contain themselves.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: We can take message of 'The Wizard of Oz' to heart
As I'm writing this, I'm about to get ready for opening night of our school's production of "The Wizard of Oz." By the time you read this, the play will have been over for about two weeks. So it will be ancient history. But for the time being, it's a pretty big part of my life. I am, or was, Dorothy.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: Used properly, the power of persuasion is strong
Persuasion is often viewed as a dirty thing in our modern-day society, like you’re being unhonorably sly by trying to get someone to do something or think a certain way. However, in the modern, world it’s typically the best and most efficient way of getting what you want. There are do’s and don’ts to persuasion and coercion just like anything; lines you can’t cross and whatnot.Continued ...
- A Word of Advice: Digital speak doesn't translate