Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Internet In The U.S.

There is a thread on Rv.Net about a person who will be fulltiming in the next five years and was wondering about how to connect to the internet.  This is my response below.  We did find internet but found it difficult to say the least.  I won't go to extremes to find it and if it doesn't come to us I usually give up easily.

I haven't lived in the U.S. for over 30 years and find this thread interesting. I live in what is considered a very poor, antiquated country. That said, we traveled four months in the U.S. and Canada last year. Internet was a disaster. Good luck finding a place where you can sit down and send documents and heavy files. One such place is Kinko's FedEx. They charge .49 a minute. That's almost $30 an hour and I have used them on several occasions only to say their wifi isn't any faster than that of an rv park. Many libraries we found had a secured signal and had us sign up for a card which was very time consuming, and in some cases charged a fee. We found only one town on our trip that had open wifi everywhere and that was in Canada and if memory serves me correctly it was Merritt, BC.

The rv park signals were pathetic. I don't care what cost is, how many users are online it stank. After all, we are in the age of YouTube, live-streaming and sending files, online banking and "innovative" technology such as Skype and Facebook face talk. Somebody is not doing something. We found our trip, in terms of internet, frustrating to say the least and when you are being charged almost the same price as a discount hotel it is not acceptable.

In Mexico, this poor, poor little country where people still ride burros and use smoke signals, we actually have internet cafes that charge a less than a dollar an hour, you can sit in front of any public educational institution and connect free to the internet, governemt offices, and our home internet provider including landline, free long distance to the U.S. and basic Dish cable charges us a measly $38 a month.

The U.S. has a long, long way to go to get people connected without gouging the consumer to use a service that is available for little or no cost in most of the world.
We're watching last night's Democratic debate on YouTube.  The U.S. is a capitalist country by every sense of the word.  The debate was broadcast via CNN and not local networks.  How can you interest people to vote in their country if they don't have access to the information. 


  1. You are right Chris. WIFI is pathetic in the US and Canada and really not that much better in Mexico. We have resorted to paying for a cellular Internet stick in each country, paying as we go. Service is not perfect but is much better than relying on WIFI.

  2. And of course we are experiencing the same thing right now during our two week trip across the United States. But, libraries have been treating us fairly well. Most have been unsecured, and the two that were secured I just had to go inside and ask for the password. No big deal. And of course most fast food places supply free internet.

  3. Internet is incredibly expensive in Canada and the US, hence why it is hard to find free good wifi. Hence why I maintain that if you absolutely need internet beyond just a bit to search for directions or to check your email (eg. big downloads, streaming, Skyping), you should pay for your connection. You wouldn't expect your neighbours to pay for your internet if you were housebound, so why should you expect it when you're on the road?

    But if you insist on using public wifi, the solution is easy McDonald's. McDonald's is competing for the Starbucks crowds and most restaurants now have a business area away from the food counter and with lots of outlets and they all have free wifi now. They don't care how long you stay and you don't have to buy anything. They speeds aren't great, but comparable to other public wifi places. I'd rather sit at a McDonald's than a Starbucks. They are less busy, there are edible things on the menu, and they don't care how long you stay.

    1. My point was that in Mexico, in many cities and towns, there is free wifi access provided by public institutions and city governments. You don't find that in the U.S. I can't use a MacDonald's unless I buy something. In Mexico, wifi is just about everywhere and it's cheap. When we traveled the U.S. last year, we found out right away that we were from another planet when we asked people if there was an internet cafe in town. They thought we were nuts. Our house signal is open, anyone can use it and sometimes people do. The folks around here wouldn't know what to do with any of my so-called "private" information. The U.S. is not as technically advanced as it claims it is.

    2. Actually, you don't have to buy anything at McDonald's. Their wifi is truly free. Have had more than one manager come up to me at the till while I'm holding my computer bag to tell me this!

      The US and Canada are so far behind the rest of the world technologically that I don't know whether to laugh or to cry!

      Mobile bandwidth in MX is expensive compared to the US, though. I get unlimited bandwidth (throttled after 10GB) for 80CAD per month with SaskTel and I get unlimited bandwidth (throttled after 1GB) with AT&T Go Phone for 45USD. Last I checked, there were no unlimited data plans in MX.

  4. Have used Verizon mifi for years nearly everywhere we travel. Not cheap--$48 for 5 gigs. Real penalty if you go over. It is secure. Sometimes used CG wifi. Now with Straight Talk celluar, have 5 gigs data at speed and unlimited thereafter at a lower speed. They use Verizon towers. Can use it as a hot spot for the computer. Probably could go without the mifi.

    1. The first time I heard the term "they throttled me back", I laughed. I'm a paying customer and you're going to reduce my signal speed because I happen to use more than someone else? That's nuts. It's like watching more cable tv than my neighbor does and they would want to charge me.

  5. Certainly in DF, and also in many other parts of Mexico, it's very common to be able to get free WIFI (wee-fee, hahaha) in restaurants. But here in the USA, if you ask, they look at you like you've got two heads. It's always struck me as a weird thing that it's so hard to get WIFI here, aside from a few places like Starbucks, McDonald's, or Panera.

    It's one little way that Mexico is actually ahead of the USA.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we do have a phone data plan that works well enough, but slower than WIFI.