Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Simplifying My Life & Saving Money By Going High Tech

I live in the sticks. Actually I live in a small town but it is surrounded by miles of nothingness that makes me happy but drives a certified cityslicker to tears within seconds. Somehow, for reasons I have yet to understand because it happened well before I moved here, a minority of people elected our major. He is affiliated with the Maharishi Transcendental Meditation cult that lives on the edge of town and comprised a fifth of our population. Although he is a decent upstanding citizen, he has been a terrible mayor and might be racing the Current Occupant in the Whitehouse to see who can spend more taxpayer money. One of the side effects to our Guru Mayor is that he is very in tune as all Maharishi are with getting grants from our government. One of the grants our town has received is for hooking up every single house in our town to fiberoptic cable, the first town in the nation to do so.

Several weeks ago, a gray box with a fiberoptic cable was attached to the side of my house and two days ago, they did the actual installation. The only real drawback for me is that now one company will control my television, phone and internet. But my old system isn't removed so I guess I can go back to it at anytime. There are lots of advantages to fiberoptics. The one that sold me is that it is almost $80 a month cheaper than my current system which goes through four companies, cable, phone, long distance carrier and internet. It comes all on one bill which means less bill paying, which I love but will also probably mean more paper space to hide hidden charges, which I hate.

I opted for the bare essentials package. For $30 per month, I get digital high definition television signals but will get the local channels that I now get plus some extras that I really like the Public Television Learning and World channels and a NPR channel. Because I don't have digital televisions and probably won't for some time, I have to have a couple boxes to convert the signal but they are included in the price. My package comes with a phone which is why I wrote last time that I will continue to have a landline though I really don't need or want one. The phone plan is very basic. I can call anyone, anywhere in the United States and talk an unlimited amount of time and I just pay a flat rate of $30 per month. So if for some reason I need to talk to someone other than my wife or favorite five people, I can. For another $30 a month, I get unlimited internet access to a fiberoptic lines which is over ten times faster than the fastest high speed DSL line available to the average Joe. I will be able to download movies in a blink of an eye or perhaps quicker. In total, I signed up for the cheapest package and it is going to run me $90 per month. I still can't believe that I'm saving money by doing all this.

Now that the system is installed and working, the best part about the whole affair is beginning. I am calling up all these companies that have been stealing my hard earned money for all these years and providing me with sporatic and arguably crappy service and telling them where to stick said crappy service. Best of all, the phonecall don't cost me a dime!

11 comments:

R. Sherman said...

Was allowing the installation voluntary? I cannot imagine the state being able to "wire" my house without my permission.

Cheers.

Ed Abbey said...

R. Sherman - It was voluntary and installation was free for the first few months. Besides for the obvious cost savings, I decided to do it also as a selling point because I plan on selling my house perhaps in the next five or six years.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Cool! How I wish I have FTTC Fiber to the Curb here!
Are the houses very close to one another? If yes, the FTTC investment is going to be so worth it.

Murf said...

I always heard that it's cheaper when you lump everything together but I'm not a big fan of "single point of failure" so I prefer to keep them separate which is just the landline that's on its own.

Beau said...

Wow, that's awesome. I enjoy the digital world- but have barebones cell service and dsl- no cable tv. I first used satellite internet for a couple years until dsl arrived. That saved a bunch, but not the package deal you've got!

Ron said...

That's nice to have everything together without overlap. If I had the option, I'd sign up for high-speed Internet in a heartbeat, and use VOIP on it. Chuck the landline, Tracfone, and the dial-up Internet. Might even get a couple of those interesting channels you mentioned.

Ahh, well, I figure it's just a matter of time before providers get interested in rural market share... or until Current Occupant subsidizes it.

Ron

Ed Abbey said...

Murf - I've had the television and internet go out before so that's no big deal. The backup for phone is now our cells so I think I have it covered. I'm like you in putting all my eggs in one basket.

Beau - I was pretty happy with my DSL but money talks and I couldn't say no.

Ron - The problems I have with VOIP is that making international calls aren't as easy to make cheaply versus a landline. If they could, I would probably consider it.

sage said...

I was on fiber optics for just a few months before leaving the west--it was wonderful! Here, there are many folks who can only get dialup.

fullfreezer said...

Ooo, fiber optic, how cool is that. One of the requirements when we bought our new house was internet access. Since my hubby works from home now, going back to dial-up was NOT an option.
Judy

Ed Abbey said...

Sage - So I hope it wasn't the entire town wired to it or my town is downright lying by saying they are the first...

Fullfreezer - I heard a few days ago that the company doing this is planning on extending as far away as Pella and Burlington. Your neck of the woods isn't directly between those two towns like I am but you are definitely closer to me than Pella so perhaps your area will be wired too.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Buy a few of those new-fangled TVs and help your pres do some "stimulat'n!" Don't be such a conservative fuddy-duddy!