History of the Internet – part 6

Working from a Rural Home in the late 2010s

Summer is my favourite season by far. It’s now August and everyone is preparing for September, back to work and back to school. I wish summer would last as long as winter does here in Grey County.

Cindy McQueen

In the June issue of Hello Country, I left off writing about the Rocket Hub wireless internet. It was a small box that looked like a router and had it’s own cell number, which made it portable. It was working quite well and was fairly fast for working online. Of course, everything is relative, fast for rural internet in 2014 is a lot different than fast for cable internet. We didn’t have Netflix or any other streaming devices yet, so it was adequate for working online. I had a flex plan, the top rate was $90 for up to 20GB of data, overage charges were $10 per GB. It didn’t take long before I was incurring overage charges as my monthly usage was easily surpassing 20GB.  The highest I reached was 45GB in one month and that was when I switched to Xplornet. 

Xplornet was the only mobile tower that reached our corner of Grey Highlands at the time.  I hired a local installer who also happened to buy hay from us. We discovered our farmhouse was in a bit of a hollow and couldn’t pick up the signal from the closest internet tower located in the hamlet of McIntyre. Our technician was tech savvy and climbed onto the roof of another building located at the corner of our farm and installed a dish about 6 feet in the air. He then installed radio technology that sent the signal from a small dish at the side of the building, to a dish at the side of the farmhouse, which then plugged into a router inside. 

Our download speed was now roughly 5mb/s and we were thrilled! Over the years Xplornet has been pretty reliable, but whenever I have an issue, it does become a problem. While on the phone with support, I will have to drive over to the other building to unplug the wireless receiver to reset it, then race back to the farmhouse to see if it is working. It shows what lengths we will go to when we are determined to connect with the outside world.

As published in Hello Country Magazine – August 2022 edition