It's agonizing how few choices that leaves us. The only consumer-targetted one is what we have: WildBlue, but there are several reasons they're awful.
- The high latency inherent in satellite Internet makes the connection unusable for many things, like voice over IP, Internet gaming, and most VPN. It's painfully slow and nearly unusable for many things, including my office VPN and MUDs.
- The strict bandwidth quota and the brutal cutoff policy means it's impossible to use for even simple downloads. Heck, just going to YouTube every few days can max us out.
- It goes out any time it rains. I don't mean rains at our house; I mean, any time it rains, anywhere in the universe.
- Upload speeds are tiny, in the tens of Kbps, but that's not often important, really.
- And it's $80/month!
However, a friend found us one vendor who's offering a fractional T1 at a price that makes my organs tense from how ridiculously high it is, but which is still nominally affordable. That is, for $389/month, plus about $1000 in startup costs, we can get a 256Kbps line. That's a quarter of a full T1, and about a quarter to a fifth of our actual throughput speed on Wildblue, and at only five times the price! But it might be worth it.
Having our throughput speed divided by four or five is going to be painful, no doubt. Web pages are going to take forever to load, downloads will be intolerable, and it'll be impossible to stream video. But we won't have a quota, we can just leave things downloading overnight if necessary. It'll be always on. And response time will be nearly instantaneous, which will make it feel faster and also make things like MUDs and online games, that depend on lots of tiny communications instead of long streams, usable.
We don't know yet if it's possible; they have to check out the lines first. And making it fit our budget is not going to be easy. (Sure wish we could afford a higher-speed line. But a line as fast as what we have now on the upload would be $719/month.)