Due to our remote physical location, options for connecting to the Internet is severely limited. We originally signed up with DirecWay in 2003, and though the Internet service has not been outstanding, it has been better than dial-up, which is our only other alternative for now.
After falling victim to Hughes' Fair Access Policy a number of times in the preceding months, we jumped on their recent "free" upgrade offer of more than double the FAP allowance and the promise of faster up- and download speeds.
Boy have we been duped!
After being great for a few days in the beginning, the quality of service has just gone to the dogs. Sites load slower than they ever have, videos and streaming audio is so slow that it is not worth listening to or even trying to download it. The pre-upgrade speeds were better!
While doing some research into the problem (Hughes' customer service is a pure nightmare to deal with, taking up hours of your time and being just frustrating to deal with as far as language issues and lack of solutions offered) we found out that Hughes has in essence been scamming their customers.
They have been selling bandwidth that they do not yet have the capacity to provide. They are overloading gateways with subscribers without being able to increase the service capacity. Apparently there is promise of a new satellite that will alleviate congestion - SpaceWay III. This is nebulous at best and if the DirecTV HD satellite schedule - which was more than a year behind the promised dates - is any comparison, there is no hope for relief in the near future.
In the meanwhile HughesNet keeps adding customers. It is fine to suggest just dumping the service, but with basically no other alternative, Hughes has us and a huge number of other customers over a barrel. They are eager to accept payment, but not so eager to deliver the services they promised.
I find it totally disgusting that they would treat their clients like this. We depend on the Internet for communications with our families across the globe, and banking for business and personal purposes, among a number of other tasks due to our relatively remote physical location. I know too, that access to the web is not a right, but if you are paying a king's ransom for the privilege, one would tend to expect better service.
It was totally disingenuous of HughesNet to over-promise services they knew they could not provide.
What recourse is there for clients that have fallen into the HughesNet trap?