Internet Option in Round Valley, and surrounding areas (v2.1 – updated on 8/1/2021)

There are many beautiful things about living in our area. The stars were beautiful last night, and I probably saw 5-10 vehicles on my drive home last night. Among the many, many reasons that bring people to our community broadband Internet is not one of them. It is a trade off we make for living where we do. In 2016 I updated my previous list of options, and wanted to refresh it for a new look based on what the last three years has given us.

I’m going to provide a bit of background information first, but feel free to scroll down to skip to my recommendation..

The FCC updated their definition of the word broadband, and how funding is allocated to areas based on what can be provided in those areas. The new baseline is 25Mbps download and 3Mbps per second upload. A few defitions for you:

  • Download is the speed at which data comes to you.
  • Upload is the speed in which you can send information to the Internet.
  • Mbps or Megabits per second is a measurement of data. For example, Netflix recommends that your download speed be at least 5Mbps to maintain HD quality downloading.
    • Further explanation: A megabit is different from a Megabyte by a factor of 8. When we talk about Internet speeds it is measured in bits per second, and when we discuss storage it is measured in bytes. Knowing the difference also factors in when you have a plan with bandwidth caps or limitations (Satellite and Cellular) as these limits will be calculated in GigaBYTES of overall usage. Confused yet?! Netflix provides an estimate to their customers for an average of data consumption based on the setting the users chooses for their video quality.

Back to our current options..

I wanted to update my list of the options we have in our area for Internet connectivity with a recommendation for what I believe is the best, all-around option for the typical, residential household. Here they are, in the order I would recommend them to a residential customer. There are obviously caveats based on the needs of the user, and specific limitations of each service. Please feel free to contact me with questions about what option is best for you and your home/business.


Recommendation – AirMax (CellularONE)

Bronze Plan – up to 6Mbps download and 2Mbps upload – $40/month

Silver Plan – up to 10Mbps download and 4Mbps upload – $55/month

  • Public IP addressing, if needed for port forwarding or remote services, is available in most areas.
  • Unlimited Data – no cap or throttling based on usage.
  • Service is based upon line of sight to one of the towers in your area.
  • Best upload speeds available. This means sending photos and data to the Internet occurs much quicker. If you perform backups (Carbonite) then this product will be appealing to you.
  • $80 installation fee & a two-year agreement

Most customers choose the Silver plan because the additional speed for $15/month is appealing when multiple devices and children are present in the home.

AirMax topped the previous list, and I still feel it holds it’s place at the top. In full disclosure, I am the local representative for this product, but I remain that representative because I feel like it is the best overall option for us. AirMax provides Internet via a wireless signal from a number of towers in our communities. There are currently two towers in Round Valley, one in St Johns, and one in Concho. There are also towers in Show Low, Snowflake, and Taylor for those a bit farther from Springerville and Eagar. This product is supported by a team out of Show Low, and I feel this helps reduce response time for outages and concerns. They are a smaller business, in the context of Internet Service Providers, so that can manifest itself also.

Source: AirMax Pricing


Recommendation – Starlink (SpaceX)

UPDATE (Added on 8/1/2021): The premise of SpaceX’s Starlink is Leo Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Internet. The satellites circling the globe are 300-500 kilometers from earth instead of thousands of miles away. This allows for higher bandwidth and lower latency than any other satellite offering. I was on the waiting list for this when it was announced, signed up on the first day the beta was released to our part of the world, and purchased it as soon as possible. It is currently up and running at my home.

The quick version of their offering:

  • It is currently in beta
  • 100-300Mbps download / 20-40Mbps upload
  • $99 to get in line
  • $499 to purchase the equipment when your kit is ready
  • $99/month for the service

This service and company has an expansion/growth plan. I have a deeper explanation into the Starlink service that can be found here:

Starlink – A few months in..

Source: Starlink


Recommendation – Cellular (Verizon Wireless)

Verizon Wireless provides the greatest availability to bandwidth of all the options, but the service is capped. Your traffic is either deprioritized (on mobile devices) or throttled to 600Kbps up and down (routers, jetpacks, tethering). This impact is not felt as much on mobile devices, but completely changes things on devices meant to power computers and other wireless devices. Prices vary based on your need and the plan you currently have. I leverage this almost daily while I am away from my home to get my mobile devices online, but the data caps and cost keep it from being my primary Internet Connection. If you do not stream a lot, and only need minimal access to the Internet on your computers throughout the month then this is a good option to consider.

UPDATE (8/1/2021): Verizon now has additional hotspot plans that are feasible for a home Internet option for users without other options.

Source: Verizon Wireless


Alternative – aDSL (Frontier Communications)

Cable in the ground is what we all look for in an ISP. Reliability is increased and latency is typically decreased when we are hard-wired to our connection. Frontier has many limitations that hinder it as the best option in our area. While the service has no data caps, there are a number of caveats:

  • Limited upload speed ~400Kbps upload on most plans,which makes it hard to send large amounts of information to the internet.
    • This service is also an aDSL or asynchronous connection. Due to this your traffic down hurts your upload speeds, and your uploading hurts your download speeds. This cripples your connection when you try to send large amounts of information to the cloud or web services online.
  • Lack of availability to speeds higher than 6Mbps
    • Residents in Springerville have access to different plans based on their physical location. These users can get 12Mbps aDSL services, which make it a more enticing option. You call their local office for availability and pricing based on your physical address.
  • Lack of availability to new users. I hear from many residents that Frontier will not provision new services to their addresses. They have limited availability on their equipment for customers.
  • Pricing is all over the place for the same plan.

Alternative – Wireless (Wi-Power/TWN Comm.)

This service functions similarly to the recommended AirMax solution, but their pricing structure is different. I recommend Wi-Power under other options because similar speeds are more expensive with Wi-Power. They do not publish their pricing online, but when I spoke with them last they provided similar plans to AirMax for $10-45/month more based on your area and line-of-sight to certain towers in the area. While this is better than Frontier’s aDSL option, you can get more bandwidth up and down for less month with AirMax. Agreement lengths and installation fees vary based on current promotions.


Alternative – HughesNET or VisaSAT Satellite (Various Providers)

Satellite brings broadband speeds to areas with not other options. There are many different vendors who all provide similar plans and pricing. These plans all have low data caps where you either pay more money to “boost” your speeds back up, or are throttled to slower speeds until the end of your billing cycle. There is also an inherent latency issues with satellite because of the distance the data must travel to get to you. Pricing is not comparable to the other services listed above. For those with no other access to the options above, this is your only real option for connectivity.


To wrap things up..

We all wish for more bandwidth today in a world of streaming everything. I have found a balance of services that work best for my family and work needs, but each need and family is different. Drop me a text or call today at (928) 251-0005, and we can discuss which option will help you the most.

Protein Balls

1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips

In a medium sized bowl mix together all of the ingredients until combined. Make into 1/2 inch balls and refrigerate. Store in an air tight container for up to one week.

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 C. onion, diced
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and cubed
6 C. good quality chicken broth
3/4 lbs. chicken breasts, cubed
1 – 6 ounce box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice
1 1/2 C half and half (I used fat free)
1/3 C. all purpose flour
plenty of salt and pepper

Directions:
In large pot, heat butter and olive oil. Sautee onions, celery, and carrots on medium low heat for 10 min to soften. Season veggies with salt and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and cubed RAW chicken. Raise temperature to medium high heat to poach chicken in cooking liquid. Once chicken has cooked and become opaque, pour in rice and seasoning packet that came with the rice. Cover and reduce heat to simmer lightly for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In small bowl, whisk cold half and half with flour until smooth. Pour into soup pot and reduce heat completely to low. Cook 10 minutes or until rice is softened completely and soup has thickened slightly. Taste and season accordingly. Serve hot.

I tried this soup out and it was a hit with the whole family!! Try it and tell us what you think.

credit to www.lauraslatest.com

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Stir all ingredients together until combined. Store in airtight container for up to 3 months.
To make hot chocolate, place 2 tablespoons into a mug and stir toegther with 8-12 oz hot milk.

Credit www.laurenslatest.com

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

OK for the dough

3 c warm water
2 T yeast
Mix those two and let sit until you mix the following

1 egg
1/4 c oil
1/2 c sugar
1 T salt
Mix all those in your liquid then add to yeast and water mixture

Then add 8-10 cups flour until pulls dough off the side of the Bosch bowl. Let rise until double in size ~30-45 min.

Roll out in a rectangle
spread about 1 cup or so pumpkin butter over the dough.
Then sprinkle about 1 cup brown sugar on top of pumpkin Butter.
Then sprinkle cinnamon on top of that I don’t know how much I used…just until it looked good.

Use string to cut into about 1/2″ circles and place in pan. Let double in size.

Cook 325 for 20-25 min or until golden brown.

For cream cheese frosting.
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c butter room temp
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
3 T eggnog mix

You can add more eggnog if too thick.

Let cinnamon rolls cool just a bit before frosting them…but frost when still warm…..totally yummy.

Eagar Trek 2014 Kids

I didn’t realize it would be this hard to return to life, and get on with my life after the Trek.  I really do miss my family, and hope they are all doing well.  The best of McBride Shamrock luck to all of them.  While wallowing in my sadness this morning, I started writing in my journal and drew parallels of my kids at home and my kids on the Trek.

MY KIDS

I LEFT MY KIDS, SO THAT I COULD MEET MY KIDS.
I SHOWED UP WITH THE MEMORY OF MY KIDS, PREPARING TO MAKE MEMORIES WITH MY KIDS.
MY KIDS GREW UP A LITTLE WITH OUT ME, AS I GREW WITH MY KIDS.
I TRY TO TEACH MY KIDS THE VALUE OF HARD WORK, AS MY KIDS LEARN THAT HARD WORK IS VALUABLE.
I WOKE UP KNOWING I WAS GOING TO SEE MY KIDS, BUT WOULD BE SAYING GOODBYE TO MY KIDS.
I EAGERLY AWAITED THE HUG OF MY KIDS, AS I HUGGED MY KIDS GOODBYE.
I DROVE HOME TO MY KIDS, AS I DROVE AWAY FROM MY KIDS AND OUR HOME.
I EMBRACED MY KIDS, AS I MISSED MY KIDS.
I MUST NOW RETURN TO LIFE WITH MY KIDS, AS MY KIDS RETURNS TO THEIR OWN LIFE.
I LOVE MY KIDS, I LOVE MY KIDS.