Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Beyond the Limits of Technology

It's odd.

I've lived in some pretty remote places around the globe, but I always had relatively decent internet -- in terms of speed and reliability.

Here in the mountains of western North Carolina, you're lucky to get something slightly faster than dial-up.  It's as if my neighborhood has been forgotten. In fact, the local phone company technician said "you're beyond the limits of technology."

It's true. The phone company says I'm one mile too far from their DSL service.  Better yet, I'm just 400 yards from where the other internet provider, the cable company, terminates its service. If I climb the hill and look south, I can see the pole where the cable service stops.

The most reliable service here, beyond the limits of technology, is satellite-delivered internet. It's so-so -- faster than dial-up, but not by much -- Skype won't work and there is a limit on how much bandwidth you can use per month.

The only other option is wireless. Now that the leaves have fallen off the trees, I get a better signal from the cell tower just over the mountain. I get two bars on my Ipad -- not bad -- Skype works, occasionally and I can sometimes watch live streaming.

It really depends on the weather -- if it's cloudy, sometimes the wireless doesn't work and when it's raining or snowing -- the satellite internet always goes out.

So, right now, conditions are pretty good -- I'm able to post to my blog and tweet -- every now and then.

For now, my fingers are crossed that one day soon, I will no longer be beyond the limits of technology in America.

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