Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Comcast not the only choice


This letter is in response to Audrey up in Camino who feels trapped by persistently go-nowhere service from Comcast. Well Audrey, there are options to cable. Maybe not 10 or 20 great simple options today, certainly a handful and the good news is the list will be growing. Over the air high definition (HD) signal exists all across our region. Lots of engineers at my company use it and love the picture. It is supreme as long as the HD signal reaches your house. And guess what? No contract, no monthly subscription for channels — that option is 100 percent free once you install the HD antennae in your home. That’s your cheapest option for the good old ABC Nightly News.

Also, there are a few other things you may not be aware of that are emerging and will be maturing fast over the coming years. The Internet can easily send video when the download speed is 1-3 Mbps and high definition is also possible when the 5+ Mbps is reached, so you can easily watch television in fantastic high definition as I do in my home today with just the Internet connection (read about Roku boxes on the Internet or at Amazon; they work great). Wireless internet technologies are also improving. We have a service that is local with local ownership that supports wireless Internet into your home, since cable and phone lines don’t stretch well into the far reaches of our county.

Finally, both of the satellite companies DirecTV and Dish probably give better service from the sky. Personally my DirecTV service has been near flawless for years. Sure 10,000 feet of cloud depth can interrupt satellite service, but that is like a few hours per year. Unlike water and power,  cable, phone and entertainment in general is fast becoming a competitive field. In fact, the future is very bright for America’s favorite choice in sofa-based entertainment (video streaming). My children couldn’t care less about any of the old school cable-type delivery; they do wireless Netflix, YouTube, Internet set-top and so on. Their entertainment box is already “The Internet,” but you wait, it is just getting going. I keep the $30 DirecTV around for us old folks that might want to glimpse Headline News or the Weather Channel from time to time.

The first step, a true conviction to switch and try new things, is the hardest part of all this.

Cameron Park

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 6 comments

  • Jim BeckMarch 15, 2013 - 7:13 am

    What about those if us who live in areas the phone and cable companys refuse to provide high speed Internet to? I have used Hughes and Wildblue for Internet. I dropped them due to very poor Latency and speed. I am now stuck with Calnet, a line of sight terrestrial provider. Their reliability is way worse than the satelite providers but do not sufer from the Latency issue. As far as DSL goes, I can see the huge telephone junction box from my house and I know the Telco company has a switch and fiber in Shingle Springs. Its ALL about the money.

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  • MichaelMarch 15, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    I fought and fought for 2 years with both AT&T and Comcast to bring internet service to our home which is only 2 miles from downtown Placerville. I finally reached a person in construction services who offered to provide a quote to bring the necessary equipment out to our neighborhood. I received an invoice for $76,500 and a friendly letter offering to start immediately if a 50% deposit is received within 30 days. Well, needless to say we decided not to take them up on their generous offer. Instead I drove to Auburn to a town meeting where local internet providers were talking about how to bring broadband to the rural areas of the Sierra Foothills. One of the companies, Ruralnet, came out the next day and discovered they have an antenna on Bald Mountain that they could get a super signal from my neighbor's garage roof. We spoke to the neighbor and they agreed to sponsor an omni-directional receiver and transmitter on their garage for all of us in the neighborhood. Since Christmas, we all have a super fast and reliable fixed wireless internet signal where we watch Netflix, I can VPN to my office and my wife teaches her Biology classes online. The guys at Ruralnet went above and beyond to bring service to our area and have much more capacity. I suggest giving them a call. Oh, and AT&T called last week to let us know that internet is available in our neighborhood for twice what we pay for Ruralnet and double the price. Internet irony.

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  • MichaelMarch 15, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    Apologies...I meant, double the price for HALF the speeds.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 15, 2013 - 8:30 pm

    The Eldorado County Economic Advisory Board has been working with Gold County Broadband Now have they told everyone outside their groups? I just read where we are having yet another meeting up here in may speaking on this topic. And I went through several reports to get to this site. They claim to be having "great meetings" as well...they are run by yet another advisory board (dont even ask about the subcommittees in this county)Brent Brent Smith, CEO Sierra Economic Development Corporation (SEDCorp)

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 15, 2013 - 8:50 pm

    The Gold Country Broadband Consortium (GCBC) hosted two great neighborhood meetings in the last week to help the organized local demand connect with willing and able broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs). More than a dozen community members attended in the Greenwood area of El Dorado County, and more than twice that number came to the meeting at Woolman School northwest of Grass Valley in Nevada County. I follow the same names all over the place from the EDAC (now known as EDEC)...many more people are talking about at&t and Comcast as the enemy--Im pretty involved in my community--hadnt heard this--yet I spy CEDAPP people in odd places...could be a coincidence. (heavy sigh) But knowing how much is being kept away from the "all important" community--im guessing NOT. And see this is a good idea--if a few had just been up front...tsk tsk The technology is here. Yesterday I bought an item--the nice lady took a picture of my card--and I signed the screen of her phone (which was kind of hard--my hands shake trying to do smaller tasks) Medicine, textbooks,...El Dorado just needs the internet. Nevada is connected. So Pollock look for our meeting in may--its called from Pony Express to Broadband.

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  • kggMarch 17, 2013 - 1:11 pm

    we have dish and when it snows (even just a little) the screen is black. really irritating.

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