It’s exactly three-weeks to the day since my last post. After moving house and starting a new job though, I’m finally settling in to my new home and, most importantly today, I’m back online with an internet connection! You see, without a landline (it’s a very rural area!), good old ADSL just isn’t an option and, although I have had a satellite dish installed (only for Freesat and for the local news, instead of Welsh!), those broadband packages start at £25 per month, plus the cost of a special modem, which isn’t cheap! Also, there’s a great divide of opinion on the ‘net as to how reliable satellite broadband actually ease (a quick Google search reveals many negative comments). So, while I know mobile broadband is going to have its own issues, it remains to be the most affordable option I have available.
Now, the first dongle package I tried came from O2, which was being advertised in one of the ‘papers (mum spotted it – I don’t read those things!! :-P) at only £10pcm for the first three-months. There was only a 1GB data/download allowance, which I’m sure would’ve been tricky but, the biggest problem of all was the reception in my area… Rubbish! It did say on their website that they did not recommend their service for my area and, after a few minutes browsing using my mum’s ADSL line through the powers of Wi-Fi (no such luxury in my new place), I got the same message from several other providers, apart from one… Well, Three, actually! 😉
Yes, O2’s mobile broadband really was that bad. Occasionally, it would pick up a very weak signal from elsewhere but, I was mostly restricted to connecting with an old dial-up modem. Now, I know these connections aren’t renown for their speed but, when a single page takes more than two-minutes to load, well, it would be quicker if they printed each page out and then posted them all to me!! We had a 56k connection with our PC years ago, in the days before broadband, and it was never that bad!
My new dongle with Three (it’s a Huawei E367 HSPA+, whatever that means!) also connect via. a dial-up line but, while some pages like Twitter and Yahoo take a little longer than most, this connection is generally not much slower than what my mum has in her house. I used a comparison website to search for the best deals and, considering the fact that I regularly watch short woodworking videos on YouTube, a went for an £18-a-month package that offers 5GB of downloads and their ‘Premium’ dongle. For an extra few pounds each month, I felt it was worth overlooking the ‘Everyday’ model. I did briefly consider a Pay-as-you-Go deal. But, you’re looking at £69-79 for the dongle, plus three-months-worth of browsing… That’s considerably more expensive than three-months on the other package (considering the dongle is free and there are no setup costs) and I wasn’t sure (and I’m still not!!) of how much data allowance I actually need on a monthly basis! Also, I have read somewhere that any unused credit on a PAYG deal is lost with the end of each month. So far, I have found that it occasionally loses the signal and disconnects (particularly annoying when you’re watching a video!) but, they do supply a USB lead to help you find a better signal and I don’t think I’ve helped matters by placing my desk right next to a tall fridge-freezer unit! 😀
It is a joy to finally be back online and I amazed at how bored I’ve been recently, without an internet connection or a workshop outside my back door (…not that I have a back door – that would translate to climbing out the bedroom window!). I just have to be careful with what I watch. Too many episodes of Norm and The Wood Whisperer and I reckon I could easily exceed my monthly allowance! 😀
Thanks for reading. Normal service will resume, shortly!