Good Satellite, Bad Satellite

Same satellite, much different experiences. – Ed

Got a few comments about the satellite article.

Here’s two of them, the first from Freddy Lozano:

That satellite review that you have posted is very very false.

I have the same service (DirecTV) and got it professionally installed. It
was around $150 for the dish and $100 installed. It came with
I never downloaded as slow as he reports (12k/s). I
downloaded OFTEN over 150 KILOBYTES a second. The highest I
ever saw was 1200 Kilobytes per a second (yes over a meg) using
download accelerator. The ping is still bad in games like he
said but not that bad. I get a ping about normal to 28.8 modems.

Downloading from ftp’s I get around 50k/s easily.

The only thing that affected me really was the download cap they
have. You cannot download more then 200 megs in one hour or they
cut your service for like 4 hours.

I always had a signal strength over 75. Whoever installed his and
was only getting 40 is just terrible. I have other friends that have satellite and also get over
200k/s easily also. He’s blaming the satellite, but the
person installing it shouldnt have left before they had alteast a signal
strength of 60.

Here’s another, rather different note. Due to the circumstances described,
I thought it best to leave this one anonymous:

I have had Starband since last March. While I get better
performance than the article on the Hughes system indicated, (all W2K and
Office 2K patches installed in about three hours last night), the system has
been a source of major frustration, with daily outages and streaming audio & video not working.

Starband has fumbled for almost 10 months trying to fix
the system. The parts necessary to fix the hardware problems are supposed
to arrive this week and have been on order since the beginning of December. To get this far,
I have had to threaten them with court action and have not paid my bill for some time.

To their credit, the upper management has been very responsive
but seems to be crippled by a bureaucratic infrastructure that makes the IRS
look like a fine tuned machine.

Rather different, isn’t it?

This Jekkyl and Hyde response is pretty typical. Some like it, others think Nazi war crimes
are better. As you might guess, the second group is a bit louder than the first.

I looked elsewhere for comments. I found comments about both companies at HERE., and also in several newsgroups: alt.satellite.direcpc and alt.satellite.starband being the major ones.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s how to judge complaint levels. Yes, any public forum will be skewed towards complainers. Yes, some people would complain in heaven. However, that’s a relatively small proportion of people, and if a service is on-the-whole pretty good, you just won’t see a big volume of complaints.

It’s when you see lots and lots of people complain, and complain about the same sort of things, and when many of the complainers seem relatively sane, that you need to take notice. That’s the situation here. It may not be quite as bad as some say, but it’s certainly not good.

After perusing the comments, I can say that there are certainly others who have had the same experiences as the three quoted in the original article and this one. Good experiences and bad ones, with roughly equal proportion.

It seems like everyone agrees that this is not for any gaming where ping times are at all important.

It seems like most, even those who like it, don’t think this is a viable alternative to cable or DSL when that’s an option, but it is a better option than 56K.

An item that didn’t get much attention in these comments but deserves it is the FAP (Fair Access Policy).

Do a little serious downloading, and your download speed either gets cut drastically or cut altogether for a few hours (being FAPped).

I grant you this is mostly bad news
to warez puppies, but you can certainly have legitimate big downloads exceeding the 150Mb or so limitation, and it’s not like these companies warn you about it before you sign the dotted sign.

Overall, still not something you want to do if you have other options, and if you game, maybe not even if you don’t.

Email Ed

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