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Old 12-20-2008, 01:32 AM   #1
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Default Frugal TV/Internet access @ home and on the road 4 Canadians

Merry Christmas everyone,
I know this has been discussed in the "Wi Fi does it work" thread, which I have just finished reading again.
There didn't seem to be any consensus among forum members (maybe that's a hint?) as to which combination
was the overall best option for access on the road. This lead(led?) me to repost a topic/thread on the subject.

In a perfect world, it would be nice to have a completely mobile system to access TV and the Internet from
home, and from the RV out on the road. However, it doesn't seem that any one wireless company has a good,
low price solution to this dilemma. I'd like to be able to watch something equivalent to satellite TV and have
access to the web, whether I'm sitting in my living room, or an RV park somewhere. It seems my basic
problem might be that I'm a Canadian (no wisecracks, please). We only have a few major (3-4?) wireless/cable providers,
and only 2 (legal) satellite providers. So, the question is, what to do? What I need is access to both mediums
in a totally portable package, that isn't going to require a second mortgage. I could use it in my house and in my RV.
Have any Canucks found a way to access, or subscribed to an American wireless/satellite service provider?
Is it reasonably priced, temporary, or only for the rich? I wouldn't rule out getting access to a US
satellite service provider in Canada, if I could. I don't know if that's legal, but if it is(in a mobile RV?) , it might work.
Has anyone found a way around the huge cost of cell/internet/TV roaming in the States?
Bell want over $2/min for cell phones to roam in the States, and $.60/msg for texting. It's ridiculously priced.
There must be a better (less expensive) way?
To our American forum members. Is there a plan that Canadians can access to reduce our roaming charges?
ATT, Verizon, Sprint, TNT, Dish Network, Direct TV? Do they allow Canadians to set up accounts with them using
our addresses (in Canada, or should they? our money is as good as yours, although worth less per US$,
but maybe we wouldn't care and pay for it, exchange included?).

I hate to ask, but can we try this thread topic again?
I'd like to revisit the portable TV/Internet issue. North American coverage, lowest price.

Thanks,
MIke.
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Frugal TV/Internet access @ home and on the road 4 Canadians

We have a Verizon broadband card that allows us internet access just about anywhere in the country with a few exceptions. We don't normally watch much television when we're traveling. However, on the rare occasion that we're stuck inside because of bad weather, then we go to http://surfthechannel.com From there you can pick just about any TV show and many movies and watch them via internet. It's much cheaper than Satellite for your RV and you can pick and choose what show and episode that you want to watch.

I'm sorry, I don't know anything about how a verizon card or other broadband purchased in Canada would work in the US. Your best bet would be to check with the different cell/internet providers and see what they might have that would work across the border.
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Old 12-20-2008, 04:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Frugal TV/Internet access @ home and on the road 4 Canadians

I saw Rogers has a new Internet plan available. They have a USB card that allows you to access Internet from anywhere Rogers wireless network is. Problem with that is, Canadian wireless, no matter what carrier you choose, has very limited coverage when you get away from built up areas. Once you get north of Sault St Marie, there isn't much. When you get to the Prairies, if you're not along the Trans Canada Highway or any other major highways, the coverage isn't the best.

I haven't been able to find pricing on it since the Roger's website has little to be desired when it comes to being user friendly. Here is a link they emailed me on it:

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...-_-rocketstick

If you travel to the US, I don't know how it would work. With wireless, you get roaming fees. I don't know if the Internet would work. You might want to just give Rogers a call and see what this plan is.

There is always satellite but I don't think would want to see how much it costs. I live out in the country and there's no DSL available for Internet. I looked at satellite and quickly stopped looking. The monthly rates are quite high and the hardware is very expensive. At least wireless Internet was available from an antenna on my tower.
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Frugal TV/Internet access @ home and on the road 4 Canadians

I've seen the Rogers "stick". Bell has a couple of remote/rural internet USB plug and play devices as well. The prices range from $22.95+taxes to $50+taxes per month for either company's version. I'm waiting for them to reply to my questions about roaming charges and will post up what they tell me. I suspect these "sticks" are similar to Julie's Verizon card. I've visited the Verizon website and see something that looks like a mobile broadband/TV package, but I'm not sure about pricing and whether Verizon is close enough to the Niagara region of Ontario, for these 2 things to work, as the combo might be what I'm looking for. Even with the exchange rates, if the price is less than say C$90-100/month, and I could use it at home or in the RV, it sounds very interesting. I guess the question would be "Hi, I'm in Ontario, Canada, near the NY state border. Will your stuff work for me, and can I get it here without a US address?" My monthly cable bill, including low speed internet (not dialup, but not the fastest they have to offer) is C$85/month. And, obviously, it's not portable. So, I'd consider paying a little more to get the flexibility and freedom of complete portability.

btw, I appreciate both of you (renrut/Julie) taking the time, thanks.
Mike.
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Old 12-21-2008, 05:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Frugal TV/Internet access @ home and on the road 4 Canadians

Mike,

I bought a cheap Pay-as-you-go Tracfone from WalMart and I buy a year's subscription for about $99, which includes several hundred minutes of use time.

Tracfone can be used for International calls. You can buy minutes almost anywhere, food stores, WalMart etc.

There are no roaming charges. We uses ours from Florida to New York State.

When I have access to HiSpeed Internet I can use Skypephone for my calls anywhere in the World, for less than 2c/min.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: $25 per barrel of oil possible in 2009

Mike,
I sent the guy with the Bell system a message asking for what charges he gets hit with - I'll let you know what he says.

I saw your post on the other thread about the Tracfones at W/M. Sounds like a good deal. Did you need an address? Just wondering what the prices are like for air time/min, ld charges/min, and texting sent/received?

No postal address is necessary for a Tracfone 'Pay-as-you-go' phone. I think mine cost $18 but you used to be able to get the folding type phones for $24.

Airtime charges - I have not checked lately, but I think they run about .20/minute. You can buy an annual card and get some 450 minutes with it for around $100. There are all kinds of deals on the larger purchases. Go to the Tracfone web site at www.tracfone.com and see what they are offering.

As far as I know TracFone is only Pay as you go phone that can be used for International calls.

Deryck B.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: $25 per barrel of oil possible in 2009

Deryck,
Thanks for following up on the Bell internet stick. I really am curious what it costs in the real world, after you buy the hardware. I've already sent my questions to Bell about the product, but either I'm not clear enough about what I want to know, or they're being evasive. My standard question is almost always "so what does it cost, per month, all in (taxes and fees), if I use it this much, and will it work in the States, and are there roaming fees?" and I can't be any clearer than that. So far, I've not gotten anything over and above the same info that I've already found at their websites (Bell, Rogers, Verizon, Star Choice, etc.) which is always vague or incomplete, otherwise I wouldn't be asking for more specifics at "contact us". Surely, you'd think someone, besides another actual user, must know the answer? I asked Rogers about their Rocket stick as well, and am waiting for answers to the same follow up questions, "ok, so what does it cost, ....." see above. I actually asked a guy at a BellWorld store, and he didn't know that there's a "Lite" version of their stick that says it's 512MBps for around $22.95 in a bundle (website info) He said they were $50/month, after you buy one of the plug in hardware devices. If your friend is using his in the States, and there aren't any additional charges I'd be surprised, but if not, I'll probably get one depending on whether it's cheaper/month than my home cable ISP right now. If it is, the cable internet at home will be dropped asap, in lieu of the mobile internet option. My home tv will go up a bit, but it may still be cheaper overall.
Thanks for the link to the phone site. I'll have a look. It does sound like it's cheaper than using your Canuck phone and paying for roaming.

Thanks for your help,
Mike.
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: $25 per barrel of oil possible in 2009

From what I understand about the Rogers stick is, it's just a cellphone data plan. So, if you're out of your local area, you would get roaming fees. Doesn't sound like much of a service. One would think the "Stick" is portable for just that reason.

Here is what their site says:

Quote:
A $6.95 monthly System Access Fee (non-government fee), a monthly 50 911 Emergency Access Fee (non-government fee) and a one-time $35 Activation Fee apply in addition to the monthly service fee. Local airtime over the allotted monthly minutes in the plan, long distance and roaming charges, any additional service options selected and applicable taxes are extra and are also billed monthly.

U.S. roaming is $0.006 per KB and international roaming is $0.03 per KB when you subscribe to a Data plan. If you subscribe to a Flex rate data plan, the U. S. roaming is $3 per MB and international roaming is $0.03 per KB". If you subscribe to unlimited on-device browsing rate, both the U. S. roaming and international roaming is $0.03 per KB.
Rates can be found at the next link.

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...one_card_plans

Here is the Rogers roaming rates. Just got to the 1. Check Rogers coverage and rates and click on the red triangle to expand the option. Use the drop-down menu to select the country you want to check the roaming rates on.

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...tional_roaming
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Frugal TV/Internet access @ home and on the road 4 Canadians

Hey renrut,
Interesting. It doesn't quite match up with the answer I just got from Rogers. I'm going to assume the Bell roaming charges for their mobile internet devices are probably very similar, but as usual, they missed the point of the question, or just ignored it, and the answer was useless. However, this is what Rogers sent me quoted in red........

"Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us, we appreciate your use of
online customer service.

In your recent email, you have inquired if the Rogers Mobile Rocket
Stick will operate in the US.

The 3G mobile internet stick will operate while in the US. Data usage
will be charged at a roaming rate as you will not be using the Rogers
Wireless Network.

Data Roaming is charged at 3 cents per KB. You may also add our $10 US
data roaming option which will charge your Data at a reduced rate of $1
per MB.

We are pleased to have been able to address your inquiry. For additional
information please visit our website at http://www.rogers.com.
You are a valued customer and we thank you for your business. (I haven't done business with them in over 2 years. )

For future email correspondence with respect to this e-mail, please
quote reference number 40573624.


Regards,
Steven T.
Rogers Online Customer Service
http://www.rogers.com"

So, in a nutshell, US roaming, with Canadian phones or mobile internet access doesn't sound terribly inexpensive.
Now I'm thinking, if I can get a cheap cell phone plan in the US from Walmart, prepaid, maybe there's an internet access
plan down there that might also be less expensive than roaming. Maybe it's be cheaper to buy the mobile internet hardware and see what they have for plans down there, too?
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: Frugal TV/Internet access @ home and on the road 4 Canadians

As an after thought, I may look into using US internet access in Canada if there aren't too many additional hurdles to get over. It's always possible their roaming charges/packages/bundles might be cheaper to use up here. I'm sure I've heard at least one American who spends a lot of time in Canada (he's a BNN personality, Kevin O'Leary. also appears on the CBC entrepreneurial
finance show "Dragon's Den") say that it's cheaper for him to use his US based wireless devices up here (aka roaming) than get a Canadian based service.
May be worth a punt?

Mike.
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