Xplornet High Speed Satellite Service - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-18, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Nova Scotia
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HiSpeed Internet by 2-way ka-band satellite

There are many people that are outside the range of DSL and Cable. They have had little choice for Internet access other than good old fashioned dial-up. But now, with the launch of Anik F2 and the recent availability of High Speed Internet by 2-way satellite (doesn't touch your phone line at all), anyone in North America has access to high speed (but high latency, not very good for gaming or VOIP) Internet.

Telesat Canada has annointed Barrett XplorNet as the main Canada-wide ISP. Up in northern Canada, they've annointed NetKaster. In the USA, it is WildBlue.

Here are the links:
Southern Canada: http://www.lincsat.com/e/index_e.asp
Northern Canada: http://www.netkaster.ca/
USA: http://www.wildblue.com/

Cost to start-up:

Xplorer is as much as Cdn$975 to start. Cdn$699 just for the equipment plus a $75 start-up fee. Installation about Cdn$200.

NetKaster is only Cdn$399 to start. Cdn$250 for the equipment, but (basically) you have to pay an extra $5 per month for rental of the interior modem. Installation about Cdn$150.

WildBlue is about US$480 (~Cdn$584) to start. US$299 for the equipment and US$180 for the installation.

Monthly charges:

The monthly charges are all in the same range - about Cdn$60 per month at the low end for 512kbps service.

As far as I know, the equipment is exactly the same from all the various ISPs.

These numbers might change at any time so recheck if you care.

<RANT ON>

So, why do people in most of Canada (southern Canada) have to pay about THREE times more for the equipment - $700 (or even $770 w. fee) vs. $250 - than the people living way up north. Even the USA is cheaper.

THREE TIMES MORE !!!!! This sucks.

Honestly, I don't know what the real price should be, but when a supplier in one area is about three times the price of a supplier in another area (an area with generally a much higher cost of living), then it makes one wary. I don't care what the price is, but I don't like being hosed.

Even their special "$275" discount is smoke and mirrors once you read the fine print. For most people (the normal $60 per month folks, as opposed to the $199 per month folks), it wouldn't be $275; it would be $125 and that consists of waiving a $75 fee that they had never previously mentioned, and a $50 discount off of one month's service <twirling finger in air mouthing the words 'whippity doo duh'>.

The purpose of this posting is to alert the public to the price differential in the hope that shedding light on the difference might assist Barrett Xplornet with reevaluating their pricing strategy. If they can find a way to offer a better start-up price, then maybe I will be able to finally have access to High Speed Internet.

As it stands now, I'm repelled by their approach. And thus, I'm still stuck with dial-up.

Shame on Telesat Canada for setting up what appears to be a series of monopolies.

<RANT OFF>

Last edited by Jeffy; 2005-08-18 at 11:36 AM.
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post #2 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-18, 02:45 PM
 
Join Date: May 2005
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I believe that http://www.netkaster.ca/ are only renting/leasing their equipment and their customers don't own any of it, thats why their pricing "appears" to be cheaper. But in the long run it'll end up costing more. Wildblue, of course, in only available in the the USA and prices are almost always cheaper there.

The only "real" price difference is between Anikast and Telesat. They're basically the same company but Anikast is for the folks who have/had DirecPC(like me). The reason that ex-DirecPC customers get a better deal than Telesat customers is that Bell didn't want to lose their customers to D-Way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffy
Honestly, I don't know what the real price should be, but when a supplier in one area is about three times the price of a supplier in another area (an area with generally a much higher cost of living), then it makes one wary. I don't care what the price is, but I don't like being hosed.
They will charge what ever the market will bare....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffy
As it stands now, I'm repelled by their approach. And thus, I'm still stuck with dial-up.

Shame on Telesat Canada for setting up what appears to be a series of monopolies.
There are really only 2 monopolies, thats Anikast/Telesat and D-Way. Within a year or so I believe Anikast/Telesat will dominate the Canadian satellite
internet industry. However in 2 years Wi-max will be widely available in rural areas like yours and mine so you can wait till then if you're still "repelled by their approach". For me I think that its a good price (I know its different for everyone) and like you its either 56k dial-up or a 2mbit connection for me. Plus, I rather pay the piper now than later, considering they are not even close to running 100% capacity and wont be for a while so the speeds are really good. By the time they start over booking the sat, Wi-Max should be here.

Last edited by hugh; 2005-08-28 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Remove Unecessary Quoting: Please don't quote the entire previous post. It wastes bandwidth and makes reading more difficult.
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post #3 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-18, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Barrett Xplornet pricing:

Most of the equipment cost is the probably-very-expensive Ka-band transceiver mounted on the dish. The inside modem is basically an off-the-shelf Cable Modem and it can't be worth much more than $100 or so (if that).

NetKaster sells the outside gear (dish + ka-band transceiver) for $250 and they rent you the cheap Cable Modem for what seems to be a $5 delta per month. Their prices seem quite reasonable and I would jump on board with them in an instant if were allowed.

Thanks for the lead on Anikast - they have what seems to be a very reasonable offer. I wish they would make it available to anyone. I'd jump on board with them if I were allowed.

The monopoly that I really don't like is that I'm only 'allowed' to purchase from Barrett Xplornet (basically they have been given an exlusive monopoly) and they're charging hundred of dollars more than anyone else for the equipment.

I don't like being hosed.

Choose one:
1) Stick with dial-up for now.
2) Get hosed to the tune of several hundred bucks.
3) Move to Resolute (waaay up north).

Sucks to be me, eh?

So I think it is important to let everyone know that Barrett Xplornet is charging way more than anyone else. Perhaps if other people are as upset as I am, then within a few months they'll be forced to get their prices in line with other providers (in spite of having an exclusive monopoly).

PS: Cable TV is only one mile away from my front door. I'm going to lobby them as well to 'go the extra mile' for me and my dozen neighbours. And like you said, WiMax is coming soon (but there are always delays and delays and more delays...)
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post #4 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-25, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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I got to see and try out the Xplornet system today.

The 'cable modem' isn't just a cheap cable modem. It is a special box that is much like a cable modem, but not exactly the same.

The Ka-band hardware looks less expensive than I thought. The contraption is not large at all.

It needs two coaxial cables (reportedly one for transmit and one for receive).

Very interesting that they can power the transmitter via the RG-6 coaxial cable, a transmitter that can reach all the way out to a geostationary satellite. Probably be done before, but first time I've seen one. Hard up against 10 on the kool scale.

Installation wouldn't be that complicated. Much simpler than a Bell 9200 for example. $200 for installation seems very generous (which may be a good thing in the larger picture). Shouldn't take more than a couple of hours for an experienced pro.

I tried the system (512kbps version). Typed in www.cnn.com and waited. And waited. Oh, here it comes. Slowly. A bit more. A bit more. Probably took ten seconds. Hmmm, not THAT impressive. Faster than dial-up, yes. But hardly screaming fast.
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post #5 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-27, 12:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffy
I tried the system (512kbps version). Typed in www.cnn.com and waited. And waited. Oh, here it comes. Slowly. A bit more. A bit more. Probably took ten seconds. Hmmm, not THAT impressive. Faster than dial-up, yes. But hardly screaming fast.
Yep.... thats why I have the 1000/256kbps package....
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post #6 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-27, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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But the math is that Xplornet (with my cnn.com test) was only 'several' times faster than my present 37kbps dial-up connection. It wasn't even ten times faster let only being anywhere near 512kbps.

With your "1000" (1Mbps) service, how many minutes does it take to download a 3MB file?

The ideal answer would be "one-half minute, or 30 seconds". An acceptable answer would be "under a minute". Are you getting your 3MB MP3 files in less than a minute?

Curiously yours.
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post #7 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-28, 03:43 AM
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Smile

Hello! I have the 1000/256kbps package with Anikast. I download a 3MB file in 28 seconds...

RBO
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post #8 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-28, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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I wonder if the differnet ISPs (WildBlue, Anikast, NetKaster, XplodeNet) all provide their own connection to the Internet, or they all share some huge fat pipe at Telesat headquarters?

If they're all unique, then different ISPs might provide different performance.

Also, one big file should have only one or two latency delays. Some webpages on the other hand might go back and forth many times and experience multiple latencies.

Thanks for the data.
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post #9 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-28, 07:24 PM
 
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Well I think I am going to bite the bullet and order before Sept 1st to take advantage of the so called startup special.

I will get the 512/128 package.

There is nothing in my area as far as DSl or cable and won't be for awhile.


As soon as I get it installed I'll report back with my results.

Cheers
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post #10 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-29, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffy
PS: Cable TV is only one mile away from my front door. I'm going to lobby them as well to 'go the extra mile' for me and my dozen neighbours. And like you said, WiMax is coming soon (but there are always delays and delays and more delays...)
Get someone a mile away who is within line of site to share the cost of cable internet and a wireless router and make a soup can or other antenna. Voila - cable high speed from one mile. If you have an old satellite dish you can get much farther - these guys got 125 miles http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000970052590/
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post #11 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-29, 10:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffy
But the math is that Xplornet (with my cnn.com test) was only 'several' times faster than my present 37kbps dial-up connection. It wasn't even ten times faster let only being anywhere near 512kbps.

With your "1000" (1Mbps) service, how many minutes does it take to download a 3MB file?

The ideal answer would be "one-half minute, or 30 seconds". An acceptable answer would be "under a minute". Are you getting your 3MB MP3 files in less than a minute?

Curiously yours.
:::.. Download Stats ..:::
Connection is:: 927 Kbps about 0.9 Mbps (tested with 2992 kB)
Download Speed is:: 113 kB/s
Tested From:: http://testmy.net/ (server2)
Test Time:: Mon Aug 29 2005 22:46:07 GMT-0400 (Eastern Standard Time)
Bottom Line:: 17X faster than 56K 1MB download in 9.06 sec
Diagnosis: May need help : running at only 84.81 % of your hosts average (anikast.net)
Validation Link:: http://testmy.net/stats/id-P7MZY9L46

I guess I would say 3MB in under 30 seconds too.... 17 times faster than dialup also.... There's lots of info over at www.wildblue.cc forums on this system if you're interested, I'm known as The Matrix there.

Last edited by speedadmin; 2005-08-29 at 10:58 PM.
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post #12 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-08-29, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Good idea, and the Swat Team will bust down their door instead of mine.

(Joking!!)

It's not quite Line-Of-Site between A and B, but it is a good idea just the same. It's only about 3,000 feet the other way (across the lake) and it is LOS. And I'm pretty good with antennas... ....hmmmm...
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post #13 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-09-14, 10:27 AM
 
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My install is scheduled for this Saturday morning....

I'll post my comments sometime over the weekend.


Cheers
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post #14 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-09-20, 08:17 AM
 
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Well .... I had my Xplornet system installed this past Saturday.

The installer did a very nice job!

The whole process took about 3 hours.


Compared to Dialup, the speed is great. I have the basic 512/128 package and average about 450-470 Kps down and 60-90 Kps up.

Latency is noticable - Google.com ping times around 650-800 ms. When loading a web page, you notice the delay but once the page starts loading it's fast.

Also tested with Google Talk -Free VOIP to a friend on DSL...works fine with a small talk delay - very usable!


Total cost was $1016. Cnd. and $59.99 per month going forward.

Any questions? Please ask.

Cheers
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post #15 of 322 (permalink) Old 2005-09-27, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Who sticky-pinned me tread ?

Anyway, looks like there might be some competition in the lower ten territories (southern Kanada) after all:

http://digitalhomecanada.com/index.p...=662&Itemid=51

<quote>

Infosat Communications announced today the availability of a satellite-based high speed internet service that can reach web surfers anywhere in Canada.

Called High Speed Enterprise (HSe), the service uses Telesat's new Anik F2 satellite to offer customers, anywhere in Canada, speeds much higher than dial-up and comparable to the cable and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) "high speed lite" services available from your local cable or telephone company. Businesses and residences in non-networked areas can expect download speeds of up to 1Mbps.

Because HSe is satellite-based, even areas that lack traditional phone service can have access to the Internet. Infosat's HSe provides an "always on" connection, using only a small 67 cm satellite mini-dish and a satellite modem that connects to a PC over an Ethernet connection. Monthly data transmission with HSe is unlimited.

The service is available now and costs $89.95 per month plus the cost of equipment.

<end quote>

I went looking for the information on their webpage and I couldn't find it. Maybe the meaning of the phrase 'available now' has changed since I was in skool.

Where are they (Telesat) finding these companies ? Well, at least the monopoly appears to be broken - perhaps there's hope.

Last edited by Jeffy; 2005-09-27 at 06:22 PM.
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