When this whole “cloud” thing started to “come of age” — maybe ten years ago give or take a few years? — I said “How much do YOU trust your ISP?” Everyone laughed at me. I was so old-fashioned. The thing is, I knew we have a crappy ISP — Charter/Spectrum — and we can’t use any other service because someone made “a deal ” with Charter so they would install fiber-optic cables.

We aren’t a hot property for ISPs. Not enough people and too much room between homes except in the middle of the village. There isn’t a whole lot of village. The big ISPs aren’t fighting for the right to broadcast here.

So we have Charter, aka Spectrum.Their service is erratic. They use cheap equipment. Their installers are poorly trained and probably poorly paid. The service goes on and off sometimes a dozen times a day in rain, wind, heat, and cold — and as often as not, for no obvious reason — and they never admit it’s their fault. That’s why we needed a good cell phone. What is now called a landline is really a VOIP — a wi-fi/cable phone. When the ISP is down, our “landline” is dead. It’s not good to be here without a telephone.

These days, we have an antenna. We can get TV without WI-FI. Imagine that! Free TV, just like it used to be in the golden olden days. We can’t get every station, but we get all the networks, and many of their “sub” stations, plus a bunch of other services including GRIT, all old cowboy movies all the time. Garry’s in love with it. This is also why I buy CDs and DVDs. I like owning my media. Even when wi-fi is down (again), I can pop something into the stereo or use the DVD player. I bless our antenna and my son who made it happen.

There is only thing that truly leaves us dead in the water: a power outage. We don’t have a generator. I wish we did, but we’re out of money. If the power goes out, we are out. Luckily, the power rarely goes out. I think it’s because this road is an interstate even though it’s barely two lanes wide and has switchback turns banked the wrong way. But it runs from Massachusetts into Rhode Island, so it’s an interstate. A very small one. With wicked turns.

Categories: Anecdote, Blackstone Valley, Customer Service, Internet service provider, Photography, Technology, Television, Wi-Fi

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15 replies

  1. Hi Marilyn, the picture of the multicoloured trees is so pretty. I am glad you have found ways to cope with the technology issues where you live and I am even more glad you don’t get power outages. We get lots so we have to have a generator or we can’t work and live.


    • We just got lucky. Other parts of the area get many more outages, but we’re on a main road albeit a really small main road, so we have major trunk lines and they fix them first. Pure luck. I always worry about power outages, but so far, in 22 years, we’ve never had one that lasted more than an hour or two.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are fortunate. We had 18 hours of blackout and then it came on for 6 hours and went off again for 6 hours. That is why we need a generator.


        • We have friends who had to move to a motel until the power came back. I would get a generator because given the strange weather, anything could happen. It’s not expensive buying a generator. It IS expensive installing one. We might get a small one that will just keep the refrigeration and some light going, but a big one is well beyond our means. At least, for now.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Charter and the one they foisted on us out here, Utopia, sound like the same company, just different hats. For fiber optic ‘being the fastest thing to hit the internet’, it’s sure slow. Not as slow as the days of AOL and some dial up options, but slower than my old ethernet cable for sure. And what the %$#@ is with all the damned buffering all the $#!@ time? Naïve little ol’ me thought that only happened if there were multiple users in a household all trying to do computery things at the same time. Well no fool like an old fool. *sigh* When did this stuff become so addictive?


    • You don’t really have a choice anymore. So many “official” things require the internet, it’s no long an extra. It’s as necessary as heat and plumbing. But we don’t have in this country a very good system. Europe has a much better system and much faster wi-fi.

      I don’t think we are addicted. I think we have rolled with the times. You can’t even renew a license without a wi-fi connection and a computer. Most things can ONLY by done online — even things like paying income taxes or getting back refunds. We’re just unlucky in having exceptionally bad service. Some people have much better service, but most of them live closer to a major city. THAT really helps. Competition!


  3. Our internet is wireless, the providers won’t put cable into rural areas. We don’t currently have an antenna. When Naomi had her new TV installed recently I asked the guy how much it would cost should we decide to do it. Because we are surrounded by a National Park we’d have to have a mast or a dish. He told me it would be about $500 per TV. We have one in each lounge so that’s on the backburner for now. We don’t watch much live TV. We do have a lot of DVD’s though.
    I don’t like VOIP being the only landline phone available either. We both have mobiles even though we hate them.
    A generator would be pretty handy too but we can’t afford that either.


    • Owen bought our antenna on Amazon and it cost less than $100. He had a dauntless friend put it up — another $80. We could only run the wire to two TVs. The others were too complicated. You should check around. That sounds WAY too expensive.

      We can’t afford a generator either. It would be useful, but we need so many other things, I don’t think we’ll ever have enough money.

      Trees do NOT affect broadcast signals. Only dishes have that problem. An antenna is NOT a dish and weather — short of it being blown down by a mighty wind — doesn’t affect it. You should check around. That was not a real estimate. That was a company trying to install its own products. You don’t want that.


  4. thank god for free tv. And rarely a power outage! I’ve heard really bad things about charter internet. Xx


    • Charter is every bit as bad as they say it is. Maybe worse. And in all these years, they’ve never gotten better. But you know, a total lack of competition doesn’t help improve them. They need to be better because other companies are in the “race” for your $$$.


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