I live on a farm out in the middle of the woods a few miles outside of a small town. I'm accustomed to some of the drawbacks such as no mail delivery, no paved roads, and no trash pickup. I started out with dialup service that really sucked because I'm so far out and, rather than have actual full lines going out to the houses in my area, Bell South (which I am considering writing a complaint about) decided to splice the lines to share amongst the houses. I was getting a full 26.6kbps until my neighbors added a second line and I dropped to 19k.
Gradually over time it kept dropping lower and lower until I was completely unable to even get a connection to the server at all. When it got down to 6.2k I went to the library and did some research. I asked about Dishnetwork for satellite but they said they only did download and I would need my phoneline for upload. Since my phonelines suck, I kept looking. I finally found Direcway.
The installer was awful. He didn't show up even on the day he was supposed to. When he did finally show up a few days late he brought a friend (who was not a contractor or anything). The friend was the brother or husband of his cousin or something. Rather than work on my satellite installation he stood around in my front yard visiting with his friend for over 45 minutes. He then said he had not brought a pole to do ground installation and wanted to install on my roof. He failed to mention that the proximity to the power lines could be a problem.
After putting a hole in my brand new roof and putting the dish up he determiend that the power lines interfered too much with the dish and that my roof was not a viable place. Since he had come so late and wasted so much time, the only store in town that sold the poles needed for the installation in the ground was closed. It was also getting beginning to get dark. He said he would come back another day for the install, but that he would have his friend buy the pole and set it in for him so it would be ready for him to install the dish (note: I did not realize at the time that his friend was not in any way qualified for the installation). He also charged me $100 extra. I called Direcway to ask about this fee and they said that I shouldn't have to pay it but the guy refused to install without the $100.
I should've been firmer but I really wanted internet and I was still recovering from longterm illness. He eventually came back and Put the dish on the pole. It was the DW4000 two-way system. I had to make many calls to tech support because it wasn't pointed correctly. Constantly had to recalibrate. There were always problems with it and at times it was worse than dialup. Turns out the friend didn't install a tall enough pole. He also didn't make the cables as long as I'd needed so the modem is stuck in a corner when I had wanted it much farther across the room.
According to the installation specs -- which I was not shown until after it was installed -- the base of the dish is supposed to be no lower than 5' from the ground. I'm 5'5" and the base of the dish is well below my shoulders. I called Direcway about this and they told me that the height didn't matter. I also had to trim some branches on trees because the guy installed it right behind some small branches. If he'd moved it over a foot or two it would've been clear. Did I mention the installation was completed just as it got dark so I couldn't see the height until after the guy left?
When the DW6000 model came out I decided to buy it because I figured it would have to be better. About a month after I bought it they reduced the price by $100 so I was a bit annoyed. But I had to get it anyways because of a bizarre accident involving my cat and a glass of milk. I spent over half an hour on the phone trying to explain to the woman in New Dehli that I was certain my modem was fried. Even if I hadn't taken electronics in high school, I could still smell the friend circuits and notice the smoke. Finally I was transferred to someone to order a new modem.
I wish I could say the delivery of the modem went well. I don't know who they had delivering it, but they didn't send by UPS, FedEx, or even USPS. The guy they sent out to deliver it didn't feel like calling and asking for directions or even trying to locate my house. So he just dropped the modem off at some random church that I had never heard of. I had to call to ask what was going on and where my modem was and was told to go to the church to pick it up. To my chagrin, they had opened the package already.
I complained to Direcway but they claimed the delivery guy probably opened it to make sure everything was in the package. I still felt unsettled. I kept getting the feeling that the modem had somehow been damaged. It never seemed to work right. I was still having slow download speeds and constant disconnects.
Anyways, after months of calling and complaining about the service and talking to countless tech support people, they finally sent someone out to look at my satellite. He had to come from Texas and wasn't able to make it before dark, which really didn't help matters. He said that the satellite was indeed lower than the specs but that the height was a guide for safety, not for the performance of the satellite.
At that point it was too dark for him to do any work. He did give me some new coaxial cables though and did some tweaking and testing. He also made fun of the New Dehli tech support and informed me that the DW4000 had actually been more stable than the DW6000. It had an 800k dl speed whereas the new one had only 500k dl speed.
The direct connect to ethernet rather than having to go through a computer was much nicer. I also liked the sleek design. I still had problems and made frequent calls to tech support. On one call the tech support guy actually hit on me because he was impressed with my knowledge of the system and the troubleshooting methods. It was a bit odd when he was asking me personal questions but he seemed nice enough and it was better than being talked to like I was stupid.
I wasn't quite a satisfied customer with the connection being so slow and going out at random moments. One day I spent several hours on the phone with tech support trying to figure out why I wasn't getting a signal and was escalated to advanced support before they realized that THEIR satellite had actually gone down and was in the process of being repaired. As much as I complain about Direcway, I wish I could go back to them instead of being with HughesNet.
Immediately after Hughes took over I noticed a decline in my speed. My email had to be changed and then it didn't even work. After Hughes took over, my internet was so retarded it could not (and still cannot) connect to their own online chat for support. I could connect when Direcway still had it, but after Hughes it was awful. Their webpage takes forever to load. I couldn't get in touch to discuss why my email wasn't working and finally decided to call. I got an automated message mentioning that there was a problem with their email system and that they were working on it.
I never did get it working again and stopped trying after a few weeks. I was also annoyed that they didn't have any info about the "temporary" email problem on their web page.
Now, digressing a bit and looking back, when I first signed up for Direcway, I was told about the FAP and that the limit was 20mb per hour. They said if I went beyond 20mb per hour for more than a couple hours at a time that my bandwidth would be capped for up to 4 hours (this is what I was told over the phone). I wish I had kept track of the names of people I spoke to. I did have some emails but that all got wiped when my computer was overhauled.
With Hughesnet, even though it did not say so anywhere on their webpage, a tech support person told me that the limit was actually 16mb over 4 hours. When I told some of my friends this they couldn't believe it. They thought that was unreasonable. In addition to the lower amount allowed, they said that I would have to stop using the internet completely for 8 to 12 hours before it would be uncapped. That really seemed rediculous to me. I mean, I can understand capping if I'm really downloading tons of stuff and being a bandwidth hog,but I don't really do that much downloading of large files. Still, a few Youtube videos or trying to get some custom content for my Sims2 Game and my connection was screwed.
I have to say that the dish itself has been through a couple hurricanes and is still standing and seems undamaged. However, the connection speed continued to be poor. I imagine the frequent poweroutages and surges (even with the surge suppressor) didn't help. One really bad surge killed the modem and fried the cord. By then the DW7000 was out and I decided to extend my plan and get the new modem. This wasn't easy since I couldn't access the internet and had to do everything over the phone.
I had a hell of a time getting them to connect me to someone who would sell me the modem. The sales lady was very nice though. She made sure they shipped my modem quickly. Unfortunately to save themselves money they expected their users to re-use the power cords from the DW6000 for the 7000. Except mine couldn't be used. So I had to put in a call and get the cord sent out seperately. At least they didn't charge me for it. At the time I ordered I saw no change in the FAP. No mention of a daily limit was anywhere to be found on the page.
Very late Wednesday (April 18,2007) night we downloaded a few things because the weather was actually nice enough (the weather had been awful for days before) and I hadn't been at the computer much because I dislocated my ankle and had to keep it elevated and iced. At 2AM Thursday morning, the internet just stopped working completely.
I figured that if we were capped it would clear up in 8 to 12 hours like usual. I was so wrong. 17 hours later I couldn't figure out what was wrong. The modem said everything was fine. It took me over 5 minutes to load the hughes myway page and then another 5 to load the customer page. Eventually I reached the speed test and found I was only getting 5kbps download speed. It took me almost 2 hours to finally get to load and locate the changes in the FAP that stated the limit is now 200Mb per DAY and that they will cap it for 24 hours.
Most of my bills are paid online, I play World of Warcraft, all of my friends are online (yes, sad but true), I talk to my sister online because she lives far away and my long distance plan sucks, I take online classes and have to use the internet at specific times to view instructional videos and use SAM training. I know that with satellite I get crappy latency on games, but I can live with it. However this 24 hour cap is utter garbage! I was unable to email my teacher or send my homework in because of the cap. I can understand capping it for a few hours and I can even see capping for longer if someone is constantly abusing the bandwidth restrictions. However, I only loaded about 250mb or so that day and I don't think its fair to be capped for a full day because of it. Especially when I disconnected my computer and didn't even use the 'net at all for about the last few hours. I still can't believe they hyped it as an upgrade that they were making it 200mb per day for home customers. I have friends with DSL who say they loaded 7Gb yesterday.
I haven't checked the billing to see if they have raised prices, but I will be sure to do so. I'm still not sure what to do about this. I really regret having extended my plan now. I had no idea they were going to reduce my bandwidth allowance (even though they claim it is raised). I checked WB and they aren't installing in my area. I'm seriously considering redoing my internal phonelines and trying for Dishnetwork at this point.
I want my money back but I'm sure I won't get it. At the very least I think they should lower my rates or even add a section to the modem's software that tells me if I'm approaching my limit or notify me if the bandwidth is capped. Even when its not capped it still takes a long time to load the Hughesnet pages.
I apologize for this being so disjointed but I am quite frustrated right now.
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