Farmers and the Internet

Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The story of having internet in a field is a complex thing, full of heartache and surprise.

In a recent conversation at a christmas party, one of the local farmers was asking about our internet provider and I told him that we had pretty much been without for at least a month, and before that it was only good for checking email, if you had 20 minutes. He told us of his equal frustration with their provider (a company we are considering if ours is unable to improve.)

He told us that it worked well in the mornings when no one else was on it, but by 3 pm and the weekends, it was pretty much unusable. Harrumph. Unusable.

Then a third farmer chimed in with his company, (our second choice for internet if ours is gone). More of the same frustrations. Pay through the nose with very little to show for it. Useless.

Our conclusion was that in a day and age when they could get a car on the moon for driving around in, and yes, I know we dated ourselves there, why can't we get a decent internet here?

Oh and our city friends and family regale us with speeds in excess of 10 and 20 Mbps, but us country bumpkins are living in the wild west of the internet when any yahoo with an internet connection will set up a local company to sell a connection to.

And so it is the trade off. Live in the country and enjoy the peace and quiet.

My work does require a fairly regular video link up, and people from here and there send me links to youtube to check this out or "What do I think of this or that video" sorts of things. I just apologize now and say that we don't presently have internet, but I say "Presently" because I don't want them to think we live that far back in time.

I think Lauralea and I have adapted reasonably well, given there are no more real Skype calls with the kids and grandkids. And things like that. Our provider is in the process of moving their tower so we might see an improvement which would be wonderful. But we are being patient, or trying to be anyways.

Right now when we need to get our email or do a post like this, we hook up the cell phone and use it as a hotspot. It's a bit of work, but we don't use it for video or those sorts of things. For that you pay by the Gigabyte.  The other thing that we do is to get to an occasional internet cafe and do our hard up and downloading there. That helps with big things like uploading photos etc.

But I notice I've not read a few blogs or the like in months. It feels like a distance has opened up between us and internet friends, people out there in the real world. My world gets smaller, my understanding is shifting, it's an interesting phenomenon but kind of discouraging.

But it is life in a field.
There are other workers out there in more difficult places, doing work. Sometimes discouraged by the daily challenges they face. It is what it is.

For now we delay video meetings, skype, videos, streaming radio, movies, and like that.

As I said, it is a complex thing, and at least for now I can easily relate to those farmers who have the same problems.

Course, one of the farmers told me about a small box that John Deer was adding to it's tractors which would create a wifi hotspot all around the tractor. He was thinking how he could just put that baby into his living room.

Ah where there's a will there is a way.

1 comment

  1. Good to see you are still in the blogosphere though, despite the difficulties.

    FWIW our connection is at the end of about 3k of copper wire, so we typically see about 200kbps, which is great compared to the days of dialup when it was sometimes 200bps.

    But as you're aware, I want to reduce how much I'm online to connect to people in meatspace, as this is delightfully known, to try to be real with people instead of being behind a keyboard & screen. I need to change, and to redress a balance that I suspect has made me inward-looking and hesitant to speak when it has become natural be so outspoken online.


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