PENASCO, N.M -- In the first installment of this series on my attempt to get decent broadband to my very rural location, I mentioned that I live on the edge of a wilderness area in the mountains of northern New Mexico. If I can get affordable and fast access to the Internet, it should be possible almost anywhere. But as I'll explain today, crossing the Digital Divide isn't always such an easy task when you're off the beaten path.
When I lived in major cities like Denver and San Francisco, cable Internet always seemed like the obvious choice -- it was often the fattest fiber optic pipe around and provided cheap, fast, and reliable access. But in rural areas, satellite television services have become so cheap and ubiquitous that there's little incentive for cable companies to invest large sums building out their infrastructure to far-flung places where most potential customers are already locked in to satellite contracts.
So cable's not an option out here. While satellite TV is cheap and plentiful, satellite Internet is a very different animal, and as I explain in part 1 of this series, it's neither fast, friendly, nor frugal.… Read more