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Mountains Ho!

Dear Friend,

Tonight my family and I are taking in the beauty of one of Canada’s many National Parks.  We are in Western Manitoba, and just finished climbing the first mountain range (or the first hill for that matter) that we have seen thus far in Canada.

The Warrior is running like a champ.  Her diesel didn’t even warm up while climbing these hills.  That gives me confidence as we look west towards the mountains of Alberta and British Columbia.

The gang headed out in search of dinner, and to give dad a few moments rest after a long drive.

Incredibly, there is excellent cell coverage here – the best we have experienced thus far in Manitoba, even though we are literally in the middle of nowhere.

So Internet connectivity is great, but expensive.

I am using my Verizon Air Card here in Canada.  It sends and receives Internet via the cell phone network.  Our US and Canada mobile Internet plan is running us $220 per month.  That is in addition to the $89.95 for the US and Canada cell phone coverage.  And God help you if you go over your allotted minutes/megabytes for the month.  Last month’s bill, with overages, was over $600.

There aren’t a lot of Internet options for the boonies that are available in North America.

Satellite Internet for RVs is available, though from very few vendors.  The mainstream RV supply companies do not offer it anymore.

Now if you want to watch the boob-tube while driving down the highway, there’s no problem there.  Plenty of options to choose from.  I guess that the industry is still focused on the 70+ year old crowd, who still actually seem to hang on every word of the nightly news.  I feel very sorry for them.  They are being terrorized into their grave every night so that the networks can sell a few more bars of soap.

Anyway, satellite Internet equipment set-ups for RVs run about $1,700 US for a portable tripod that you can set up in a campground, or about $5,500 for an automatic system mounted of the RV’s roof.  Monthly service runs $60 to $80 for decent bandwidth. And you have to have a clear view of the Southern sky for the system to work.  Even trees cause significant interference and will block out your satellite Internet signal.

Satellite Internet has other weaknesses, too.  The “lag”, or delay time caused by the time the signal takes to go into space and bounce back, causes echos that ruin VOIP (telephone) services, so you can’t count on saving money there.  Cell phone service will still be needed.  Also, anything that requires real-time responsiveness, like some video games, just don’t work well on satellite systems.  Not important to us but my oldest son would disagree vigorously.

If you are “digital nomads” like us, you have to be connected.  We continue to run our business everyday. Without Internet, and particularly without cell service, we are sunk. We just might be wandering paupers.  So this is an issue close to our hearts – and wallets.

Anyway, we’ll see what we do.  This is an important and apparently little recognized market.  It is the Internet that makes my mobile lifestyle possible.  In urban areas worldwide there is no issue.  But the boonies, even here in North America, may just be becoming the 21st century’s version of the Third World – disconnected and forgotten.

We never know when we can be in touch, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from us for a day or two.  I’ll post whenever I can.

All the best,


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