Another shoot-out of wireless internet providers available in rural southwestern Wisconsin
There is super limited access to internet providers in the rural area we are moving to (we live in town Dodgeville, WI and are moving out of town to a farm where I currently grown hops and have assisted at a CSA [in its last season this month-short of winter CSA shares]).
Turns out the only internet that is available at this rural Wisconsin farm property (located across WI-23 from Governor Dodge State Park) comes from the wireless carriers including: AT&T; Verizon; US Cellular and; just one or two other wireless internet providers.
My Wireless Internet Requirements
I have a number of requirements for the wireless internet service provider (turns out I will be going with US Cellular for now):
- I will only be signing up for a pre-paid or post-paid (billed) month-to-month plan.
- This is because a new wireless internet provider north of Dodgeville has let me know they will be moving into the area next year – and they offer unlimited wireless data usage and at that point I will want to switch wireless Internet service providers without incurring a huge cancelation fee.
- I will require a shared data plan which I will use for a standard or smart phone plus a USB modem for Internet access on the farm.
- The USB modem will be plugged into a Cradlepoint wireless router which broadcasts a 600 foot radius wireless signal on the farm for use at the market building, house and down in the bowl or at the tool shed.
- We require at least 8 Gigs of data usage per month and I don’t want to pay a lot.
- My big-ass family sucks the life out the bandwidth so I will have to constantly monitor data usage through each month and continually remind the kids to not use YouTube.com, no NetFlix, stop playing online games and no Pandora.com – it’s time to revisit getting DVD movies from the Dodgeville Library and listening to CDs.
A word of caution, you will get different offers, different phones and different plans depending on if you choose to: shop online using these wireless internet providers’ websites; call the wireless carriers’ customer service department or visit the providers retail locations.
First off, AT&T scares me: many, many consumer complaints exist about AT&T wireless; I have no experience with using an AT&T phone on the farm so I can’t verify their signal will be any good (no bars) and; the AT&T website is so frustrating to use which forces one to have to place a call to an AT&T customer service rep. AT&T is the second largest wireless carrier in the USA.
- A 6 gig per month data plan with AT&T is $90/month.
- These Mobile Share pans require you to use a smart phone.
- Each smart phone at the 6 gig / mo is $35
- Adding a second basic phone is $30 per month for unlimited talk/text.
Their pre-paid plans are great, customer service has been decent and I know that the Verizon signal works well on the farm as I had a phone with Verizon for 3 years from ex-employer in Illinois. This would be my second choice if I did not already have the US Cellular wireless USB modem in my possession. Verizon Wireless is the nations largest wireless carrier.
- Pre-paid unlimited voice/text plans for basic phones are $50 with Verizon.
- Prepaid mobile broadband plans for a USB modem are $90 for 10 gigs per month.
I already have a US Cellular PCD UM185 USB wireless modem. This gives me a huge advantage as this USB wireless modem retails at the US Cellular store and online for ~$150.
- The cost for a 10 Gig/mo data plan with US Cellular is $90/month.
- 5 gigs per month is $50
- A single cell phone plan added to this with unlimited minutes is $70 per month.
Currently I am paying $65 for my cell phone and $80 for my internet = $145. At $90/ month for the 10 gig data plan and $70 per month with my basic cell phone plan that’s $165.
Once I set this all up, I will be creating a super-awesome wireless reception booster to enhance the reception of my wireless USB modem using this idea: