New, higher speed internet service offered
WORTHINGTON -- For years, rural residents haven't had the luxury of accessing amazingly fast Internet, but new advancements in technology are finally bringing them up to speed.
Nobles Cooperative Electric has recently launched a new satellite broadband technology, "Exede by ViaSat," for its customers. The new option is in addition to WildBlue, which has been offered since 2005.
Many WildBlue customers are now switching to Exede, which boasts speeds of up to 25 times faster than WildBlue.
With up to 12-megabyte-per-second downloads and 3-megabyte-per-second uploads, the Exede system consists of a satellite dish and home modem device, which the cooperative installs for customers.
"We're really excited about it. It's a very good product," said Tracey Haberman, of Nobles Cooperative Electric.
She said Exede provides rural residents enough bandwidth to be able to stream movies from Netflix, send and receive messages more quickly, download music and audio podcasts without delays and enjoy instant retrieval of websites.
Haberman said older services such as WildBlue, while they provided Internet access to customers, experienced connectivity loss --especially in bad weather.
The new Exede system has improved technology to keep devices on line.
It also operates through a satellite signal, meaning residents need only have a clear view of the southern sky in order for the Exede system to work efficiently.
"Nobles Cooperative Electric ... is always looking to improve the way of life for rural residents," Haberman said. By offering a new Internet service that's very comparable to a digital subscriber line (DSL), rural residents will be able to access web information at a pace similar to what city residents utilize.
With WildBlue, Haberman said the cooperative sold connections based on the Internet speed they wanted.
Now, with Exede, customers will pay a fee based on their usage. Monthly plans range from 10 gigabytes to 15 and 25 gigabytes.
"The speed is the same with each package," she added.
If a customer exceeds the data allowance in any given month, the service will be slowed until the monthly reset date.
Customers can call in and change their service package at any time for no additional charge.
Eventually, Haberman said Exede customers will be able to buy additional bandwidth in 1-gigabyte increments as needed.
A laptop is set up at the Nobles Cooperative Electric office north of Worthington for people to come in and "test drive" the new Exede technology.
Electric cooperatives across the country are now offering Exede. If purchased locally, Haberman said Nobles Cooperative Electric is not adding a lease fee, opting instead to sell the equipment to customers for one flat fee.
The advantage to buying locally is that if there are any problems with the equipment, Haberman said the cooperative is available to help their customers.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.