Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bye, bye NWTel...

It's not exactly a secret how much people in Iqaluit have, oh, let's say contempt to be kind, for Northwest Tel. I'm not exactly exempt from that kind of thinking as this blog as been used more than once as a pulpit from which I could expound upon the many sins of Northwest Tel, in particular their internet service.

There are three main sins.

1. The Sin of Reliability. While they have gotten better over the past year, with much fewer signal drops, it still happens too much. Plus, the speeds fluctuates wildly. When I was testing this evening signal speed varied from 0.8 mbs to 1.5 mbs, all in the space of a minute or two.

2. The Sin of Cost. For their Ultra High Speed (if you're in Iqaluit, try not to choke too hard), you're paying $100 a month for that service. It's not cheap. I understand it's the north and there is a cost to these things. However, given the quality of service, it's borderline if it's worth the cost. Which leads us to our third sin.

3. The Sin of Gouging. Right now there are 10 gig caps on your usage per month. If you go over it, things get very, very expensive. I didn't pay attention to my usage last fall and went $200 over the cap. I know a guy in town who blew his 10 gig cap on May 14 and said he'd have to hide his computer for the rest of the month if he didn't want to have to pay Northwest Tel a small mortgage payment next month.

This would be bad enough, except Northwest Tel has been crying poverty lately so its entirely expected that at some point this summer they are going to either A. Cut internet speeds B. Cut the cap back down to 5 gigs per month or C. Raise the price again, probably to around to $120-$130 a month.

So we decided to hell with it. We've been threatening to switch over to XploreNet satellite internet ever since we bought the house. We held off until my job situation became more stable, which it now appears to be. So today we finally got it installed. So, what are the pros and cons, as we are one hour into using it?

1. I have another dish on the front of my house, but at least it's smaller than that bloody Bell Death Star dish.
2. There is a $600 installation/equipment cost.
3. It's $119/month, however I fully expect NWTel to be charging that much by the end of the summer.

1. You do have to sign a contract. Not a big deal for us as we plan to be here for the next three years anyway.
2. Download speed has been a constant 1.44 mps, upload at .20 mps. That's comparable to NWTel speeds...when it's working right. At least XploreNet has been giving me constant speed so far.

1. No. Bloody. Cap.

Seriously, for the first time in five years I can do software updates without checking my usage for the month. I can go to iTunes and buy TV shows and movies without worrying about breaking the bank. I can watch YouTube videos and movie trailers without worrying if that 45 mb of video is going to haunt me in a few weeks time when the bill shows up.

So I like this. We'll see how it plays out over the next few weeks and months, but right now, I am a fan. And if NWTel goes ahead with their plans for reducing services or increasing prices, I suspect XploreNet might have a lot more fans in short order.

Last Five
1. Make it rain (live) - Tom Waits
2. El Manana - Gorillaz
3. The sound is fading - Robbie Robertson
4. Patriarch on a Vespa - Metric
5. Elanor Rigby (live) - Paul McCartney


Way Way Up said...

We have ExploreNet here and I certainly have no complaints.

Lindsay Niedzielski said...

We have Qiniq (through SSI Micro) as it is our only option, and we pay $120 a month for a 5G cap...although fortunately when you reach that cap they just downgrade you to dail-up and then you have the choice to purchases extra gigs (at a ridiculous price) but at least there are no surprises on your bill. We have looked at getting something like your installed, but we would have to pay the flight to get the installer into the community, so it definitely wouldn't work here!