When Laurie and I started this adventure nearly two years ago we used to look at the web sites of the camp ground and all would advertise free wifi…we have learned that there is no such thing as free wifi. And in the two years I have heard so many excuses as to why the wifi is not good, or why it’s just not good today…let me put all these excuses to rest with one simple warning you get what you pay for…if you are paying nothing you’re expectations should nothing and on that note every park has given me what I paid for…nothing!
Every campground we checked into stated they had wifi and like fools we kept believing that the next one would have the promised internet but in reality none did. Now that is not totally true we stayed for a month in a small town in Arizona and as much as I complained about the internet there it was probably some of the best we have experienced, I was able to do some work but we were not going to be streaming movies. But even big expensive parks like one we stayed at in Las Vegas had terrible internet as well, the sad part is we kept thinking there was something that we could do to make it better. In Newfoundland last summer we would have to walk up to the office and sit outside to get internet, last fall I purchased a WineGard signal booster and it did help picking up and staying connected to the parks signal and that is when I totally understood the problem was bandwidth no other reason just bandwidth and the lack of it.
If camp owners wanted to they could provide great internet, but they don’t want to because it’s too dam expensive for them, so they provide a service that has no band width because it is the most inexpensive way to offer free internet and if your close enough to the antenna and there are only a few people in the park you may be able surf the web if you are a patient person…I do not fall into that category!
So we have taken steps to keep ourselves connected, some work well, some don’t given different circumstances each has its benefits. We have a cell phone package still through my business that gives us 20 gig of shareable data, it is expensive enough in Canada but it is usable in the States as well through a plan “roam-like home” which in the beginning was $5 a day per phone when in the US but it topped out at a maximum of ten days (so 2 phones @ $5/ day X 10 days $100 total) but in typical Canadian cell phone provider fashion they have jacked that to $7 a day for fifteen days (2 phones @ $7 X 15 days $210 total) and that happened in January of our first season on the road with thirty days notice…OUCH
In Canada we have a Rogers Rocket hub it will give us speeds of 60 mbps if the cellular is strong, problem it is very expensive to purchase data in Canada plain and simple we are getting ripped off. I also have to pay to put the plan on hold when we are in the States and pay to reactive it when we return. And to add insult to injury the coverage is bad, real bad, it’s not even real good along major through ways. In the United States we have a Verizon JetPak that the cost is $70 a month, on a pay as you go unlimited data but can be throttled after 40 gig, the best speeds I have seen are 20 mbps which is more that enough to meet our requirements.
In the fall of 2017 when we first started out and I was trying to finish off some of the business documents, we purchased an upgrade plan from Pilot so when ever we we near a Pilot or Flying J we could hook up to high speed internet, I think the package was $99.00 US and ran for a year, it was designed for the benefit of the trucking world but it did work for us as well, while not the most convenient as long as we were on the interstate highways there was usually a Pilot near by. As we quickly learnt this was going to be a major issue.
So we land at our work camping job this summer and internet is part of our compensation package and it sucks as well, they charge for internet $245 for season for first device, and $30 per device for additional units and the bandwidth is limited no streaming and it is poor then the park is not busy and none existent when it is. Because of the camp location the only option is cellular and the best cellular here is Bell Canada and it is poor…so we were bouncing between the parks Bell service and our Rogers service using which ever would work the best. People weren’t buying it because it sucked and the owners knew that, they were just trying to cover their expense as the bad service to the park was expensive…and then came a man named Joe, not an alias he is a local fellow that has figured out how to solve the poor internet problem in the area and I’m pretty sure he is making a buck as well. There are wind turbines in the area and apparently they are controlled by a fibre optic internet connection. He has been able to cut a deal to use the unneeded bandwidth and to beam it to a satellite receiver on the roof of the office that has amazing speed and is unlimited data…too good to be true?
Well no it is true, we are on the parks connection and have been streaming videos with little or no issue, he has set up the park on the same type of a system, pay per device with discounts for multiple units, speed is set at 6 meg per second and is unlimited, it’s been up and running to the whole park for two weeks and he is signing up all kinds of new clients (over 40 the first week) as the word travels through the park, and no one is complaining, it is a campground miracle!
Our WineGard still has a valuable purpose, when we are on the road travelling and staying in Walmart or any parking lot actually it picks up what signals are available and repeats a boosted signal into the coach. This has been very handy as we like to park away from the buildings but like to use some free internet when we can…one of the best companies for free internet seems to be Lowe’s in the States, but be prepared for early morning shipments…lol