INTERNET / TV / PHONE 





INTERNET - The best solution for Internet access that I know of is for several owners to share a DSL connected WIFI Access Point (router). Small groups, sharing a single DSL line via WIFI, provides a low cost solution that usually works well, and gives freedom to move about !! Line-of-sight transmission and closeness makes good reception possible, even with our difficult terrain and vegetation. Many owners are minimal Internet users and/or spend little time here. The simple Pavilion hot-spot meets that casual need.  [ If you would like to set up a WIFI Access Point or Router, I will be pleased to demonstrate a working example and show how it's done.]   ** see below 

Beginning in the Fall of 2016:  I attempted to get fiber optic based Internet available in Paradise to lower cost and improve service. In May/June of 2017 the Board voted this down. 

1. HOT SPOT - No Internet at your RV ? The Board has contracted for DSL service at campground expense, and provides WIFI access at the Pavilion breezeway and Pool Deck area. See Bulletin Boards inside the campground for the access code. 

2. DSL - DSL Internet access is available in Paradise Valley from Windstream. This service uses the telephone land line,  available near your power pedestal. In 2017 no more Senior / lifeline, unless on government welfare programs. Now DSL only is $55/month, less promo discount of $20, and less a $100 sign-up bonus, plus about $18 in monthly fees and taxes that are mostly related to telephone service! Did ya' get all that ??  Net all this mess out and for our 7 months season it is about $47/month. May I please repeat what a truly great company this is; NOT !

The rate in 2016 was about $74. per month with the $10 discount (still) and no LifeLine applied. This company has hit yet another all time new low, reducing this amount by $2 to remove the phone service, and $6 for Long Distance fees, but adding back the $10 discount when Internet only service. This makes a basic DSL service in our area the most expensive Internet access via any sort of land line or cable I have ever seen or been told of anywhere. Expect a monthly bill in the order of $60. to have Internet; it does include telephone service you might as well have since the cost without it is about $2 less. This is with LifeLine applied! What a really great company this is!

The rate in 2015 was about $36.00 per month for 3 meg DSL service with "Lifeline" discount.  If you order ONLY DSL you will receive a phone number and will be able to make "800" calls and receive calls from others on a connected phone.  A Lifeline Credit of $12.75 per month is available to those 65 and older. An additional "promotional" $10 discount is offered currently. (Get a letter from Habersham EMC and present to Windstream to qualify for your Lifeline Credit.) Windstream DSL / phone rates are generally increased year to year, so proceed carefully.  Do your homework. 

Windstream promotions do not mention, plus fees/taxes in excess of $20.00. (Note rates $35, 2012 to $44, 2013.)  NEW 2015: Windstream will no longer sell modems or routers. The rent rates are (another) a rip off.  Visit Yonah Electronics in Cleveland to purchase a compatible modem, etc at low prices. Save money, don't rent !  You can also get a Linksys WRT54G router there, or eBay.  Senior Discount is still good.  Visit or call the Windstream store in Cleveland, to open your account, as many options and discounts are NOT online!.

3. SATELLITE - Satellite Internet is out of $$$ reach for most RVers. The necessary equipment is bulky and heavy, every aspect of the service is expensive, and a clear view of the southern sky is a must.  IN 2014: Both Hughes and Wild Blue (Exede) have rolled out lower cost service and equipment. At least one PVC'ite is pleased with Exede, and they do seem to be winning the consumer feedback war. Investigate your options here carefully.  A longer term contract like cell service is normally required. Look very carefully at data limits... understand your Internet needs before you get involved with Satellite limitations. In 2017 Hughes is advertising 10 Megs of data at $55 per month.

4. CELLULAR - Some in Paradise Valley use the Internet services offered by their cellular provider (air card, MIFI) or simply use advanced cell phones and tablets.  Cellular providers do continue to increase the bandwidth capability of their services and cell phone capability improves, but our remote and thinly populated (by urban standards) service area is the last in the network to receive the latest of such capability. Our difficult terrain and distance hurts reception. The providers use of the 700 to 900mhz bands helps our terrain / distance reception situation. Several folks here report good combined phone / Internet service from Verizon and Sprint at "reasonable" cost. The "hardware" varies. Many in-park locations do not receive cellular service well. Like Satellite your data usage is critical and excessive use can be expensive. Antennas and signal boosters are the only way for reception in many areas of the park. If you travel a lot this may be your best on-lot option. Read Opinion of Verizon & FMCA  HERE.


TELEVISION - Paradise Valley had a Cable Television service, but they are out of business. To receive TV you can select from Direct TV or DISH Satellite service. There is little "broadcast" reception I know of ?  It is possible to share a satellite account using multiple receivers but you must be in a common reception area for "locals".  ( I will explain how to, in person.)  You can obtain TV programs from your Internet / computer setup and with "smart" TVs too. This may satisfy your TV needs? Solutions like this are really an application of Internet, computer, television and/or special "game boxes".  Our "Slow DSL" makes this solution tenuous at best...


TELEPHONE - No Internet service at your lot ? The Board has contracted for DSL  WIFI access at the Pavilion breezeway and Pool Deck area. See Bulletin Boards in the campground for the access code. Plug-in your VoIP device to your WIFI connected computer and talk, talk, talk away... free.

1. LAND LINE - Windstream exclusively provides wired phone service over regular phone lines at your lot. See DSL above. Many combine DSL with regular phone service.

2. IP or VoIP - The combination of Windstream DSL and a VoIP [ Voice over Internet Protocol] device (like MagicJack) generally provides the lowest cost service for your computer and  telephone use.  If you share your DSL costs, you can easily achieve total costs below $25 / mo.  Wow! The addition of a MagicJack 2 or Plus,  to your DSL / computer setup makes phone service close to "free". MagicJack 2, will operate without a computer active on your DSL service if you connect via a Router. More  companies are entering the IP Phone market, where Internet  infrastructure rather than older telephone infrastructure is used. MagicJack is best known in this market, but look around before you choose an IP phone device. Start-ups in IP technology abound.  WalMart is now offering  VoIP. Business are using it ! The poor quality of Windstream DSL hurts voice or reception quality. Unlike most Internet access providers Windstream does not prioritize VoIP packets and has lots of built in latency (delay).

I am reminded that Google provides IP voice (phone) capability via a Gmail Email account. This is free in the USA and requires a computer mike + speakers, like Skipe. Outside USA calls are extra. You have Gmail ? Did I mention FREE ?

3. CELLULAR -We are all covered up with cell promotion.  Verizon, ATT and Sprint are most popular. Reception depends on where you are and the phone you use. Note, there are older phones that can use an outside antenna plugged in. Active Boosters work with all of them.  Consumer Cellular an independent, uses the ATT GSM network ,and now offers 500 600 750 1000 minutes for $20 per month. Total bill $24.50. ( Having had FL service, we appreciate GA taxes at 15 % rather than FL  22+ %.)  CC supplies a free "SIM" card for an unlocked GSM phone you own or buy anywhere. ( Best rates we know ) Best reported reception around the park is from Sprint in 2017...

New in 2016: Offer from netTALK Wireless; their "Connect On" GSM network service. $40 to $45 / month for unlimited talk & text plus 10GB data ( Wow ! ). Use your own GSM phone. They supply sim card. Look this up for more details! ( Thanks! for this info, Jan)

New in 2016/17:
We have had difficulty with ATT GSM cell reception at our lot forever. We had worked around this with a Wilson LoBand Yagi Antenna we could plug into the phone but most phones these days have no connector. I found a LoBand Amplifier, cable, inside & outside antennas for about $70. new here on eBay.  I used the same general antenna install I had used for the Wilson antenna. When I ran the cable to the amplifier mounted at the edge of our loft, Wow, I had 3 to 4 bars all around inside and 2 to 3 bars close to the cabin outside! This was a great success at a great price !  Caution, be sure to get an amplifier compatible with your cell carrier. ATT & T-Mobile are GSM.  VERIZON & Sprint are CDMA. Don't waste money on expensive multi-band amplifiers that cost hundreds for just cell service. In the mountains it is all LoBand.  If you are trying to boost Internet service too, you must determine what service and what band is related. Latest LTE is 700MHZ. If you have long cable runs or? get in touch.. Incidentally, an inexpensive similar CDMA booster on eBay is about $50 ! 


** ( The possibility exists for all of Paradise Valley to have Cable Internet access, like Road Runner or Xfinity. To accomplish this modifications would be required to the in-ground cable system, and a T1 or other "pipe" brought to the front of the park. To explore this option further a detail survey of owners is needed to determine how many have an interest and what they could pay .)

AN OWNER'S STORY: In order to provide service for two lots, this owner has DSL WIFI service on one lot which is received by both, then added phone the same way using portable electronic phones. This provided these services at half the individual cost!

I invite comments from owners sharing other solutions, bargains, or unique ways you have devised to gain access to the Internet, receive TV or simply, talk on the phone.


 



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