Someone at HughesNet must be reading my blog


Apologies in advance for another off-topic post on the Blog, but  just had to share this update on some of the complaints I leveled against HughesNet back in my May article “The end of HughesNet as we know it, and I feel fine)”, mostly regarding their FAP policy for controlling bandwidth usage and the poor implementation thereof.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear someone over there must have read what I posted and did something about it. Amazing.  Granted, the invitation did appear to be mass mailing, but given how closely the new program lined up with my complaints and suggestions I still have to wonder.

So here’s the skinny…

Background (if you didn’t read the first article):

If you go over your daily allotment of 200-400MB/day, depending on how “premium” your individual plan is, HughesNet puts you in FAP (Fair Access Policy) mode that throttles your bandwidth for 24 hours. My testing indicates that the throttled speed varies somewhat, but is in the neighborhood of a 14.4K modem speeds. That is pretty much useless given the average size of a just about anything on the Net worth looking at. No appeals, sorry Charlie!

Complaint 1: After quite a bit of backlash, they finally provided a way to check if you were in penalty mode, but made it impossible to determine how close you were hitting the threshold. By being secretive  about the exact calculation for what puts you in FAP, the only way to know what you have left is to go over. Then it is too late.

Response?

hughesmeter

Looks like definite progress. The fine print elsewhere on the beta site indicates, however, that the initial version is only going to tell you if you are in FAP or not, which you can already find out if you know what you are doing. Also, it looks like the planned versions that tells you how close you are to the limit will only be available on HN9000 modems. But don’t take my word for it…

And, with an upcoming software update, HN9000 users will be able to see their remaining allowance in real-time, so you’ll always know exactly how much data you have left.

Complaint 2: The policy is supposed to be about stopping bandwidth hogs, but the limits are so low that even casual users are likely to trip them. Once it is tripped, you are going to wait the 24 hours with no recourse. Tech support told me on more than one occasion that they didn’t have the capability to reset the meter for anyone. Even if the FAP was accidentally triggered by something like a virus or accidental Windows update running early they were powerless to help you. Once in a fit of desperation I even offered to upgrade to a higher plan if they would remove the throttle early, but no can do. Even if you buy the super premium plan, more than 500MB a day is ain’t gonna happen.

Response?

hughestokens

It looks HughesNet users will soon be able to get their hands on indulgences in the form of tokens that get you out of the penalty mode immediately. According to the beta announcement each user will get one of these free every month as a get out of jail free card for accidental bandwidth “excesses.” For more chronic offenders, like myself, more will be available for purchase. These tokens can be redeemed to reset your cap for the day and get you out of FAP, if necessary. Additional tokens are going priced according to your service plan as follows:

Plan Price per Token
Home $5.00
Pro $7.50
ProPlus $10.50
Elite $12.50
ElitePlus $12.50
ElitePremium $12.50

The next time I have an urgent work project and hit the FAP limit this will definitely be a preferable to scouting out a coffee shop with Wi-fi. Again, in their own words…

By redeeming a Restore Token, your Daily Allowance is immediately reset, returning you to full speed. Your Download Allowance is not changed by purchasing a Token, and this fresh Download Allowance does not roll over into the next 24-hour period.

Other Items

There are a few other announcements in the e-mail that sound mostly like re-packaging of what they already offered, including a FAP-Free window from 2am-7am where your usage doesn’t count against your daily limits. However, they are providing their own branded download manager to help you schedule big downloads for that window, which also ameliorates the situation somewhat.

The Bottom line

These are very positive steps and show that maybe Hughes has finally decided that they care about keeping customers, or at least are worried about the types of things I predicted in my previous article on the topic. In any case, it sounds like it will make things a little more tolerable for those of forced to use satellite Internet.

Ultimately however, they are going to have to find a way to raise the bandwidth caps by at least an order of magnitude if they hope to compete anywhere except the captive market they have now, i.e. rural customers with no other option.

If you go over your daily allotment (200-400MB/day depending on how “premium” your individual plan is), HughesNet puts you in FAP (Fair Access Policy) mode that throttles your bandwidth for 24 hours to around 14.4 K modem speeds (based on my own testing). The
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60 Responses

  1. [...] Someone at HughesNet must be reading my blog [...]

  2. Ok, I will bite, I have looked all over Hughes site and can find no reference to either of the above.
    Where does one fine it?

    • It’s still in beta. The only reason I know about it is that they sent me an email inviting me to participate in the beta testing phase. Pretty rocky so far. The new FAP monitor doesn’t seem to be able to see my modem and there beta-team hasn’t responded to my e-mails that I sent earlier this week. Oh well, at least they are trying.

  3. Hi,

    I got the same e-mail, and I just went over my #@! limit.

    I googled hughesnet tokens and got taken to a page where I entered my SAN and zip code – much to my surprise I had a free token. Within a minute I was back to unrestricted mode.
    Not sure I’d want to pay $10.50 a pop, I go over limit two or three times a month. It’s maddening!

  4. hughes net sucks ive had it for 2 yrs on 1-12-2010 and out of the two yrs ive never had a problem with the fair access crap but for the last month my internet has been very slow i was told to download during non peek hrs ive tried that too but they still put me on over the limit i was without internet for 3 days because of hughes net but when i finally got the internet back it had to do alot of updates and then it was done i was over my limit again and i cant use my tokens because it says it can not determine how much usage ive had as soon as my contract is up im done with them and ive had a lot of people tell me they are done with hughes net that they are ripping people off im really pissed it has cost me about 500 dollars to get my qbx back up and running all because of a damn fair acces crap its not fair to me or anyone else when ur business is in trouble because u cant download ur quick books update im done i can use dial it is just as fast as hughes net

    • Dude….ever heard of a period??

      • Point taken. Numerous atrocities of grammar and spelling corrected. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. This FAP thing is crap. We’ve had hughesnet for years, and it must be that we never noticed the FAP before April of 2007. All of a sudden everything came to a screeching halt and no one in my family had any clue why.

    We suffered with this nonsense for a couple of years before I finally got fed up and did some digging. My brother and I had noticed that service was fine in the middle of the night, so we often stayed up all night to do what we do. Finally got fed up with it and did some digging, only to discover the whole FAP crap.

    We go over the damn thing at least a couple times a week, especially now that my brother is living at home again. It’s really not hard when you have a family of four, two of which are internet junkies. I think it’s bull that they can charge us $60 a month with such a restrictive limit, and get away with it because we live in an area where we have no choice but to accept it. It’s also bull that I had to do so much digging to even figure out what the problem was, and just today I finally found where it says how much we have to use and how much we’ve used so far. Why hide it? And why did they not inform the policy holder (my mother) about any of this? She’s too technologically challenged to have ever figured it out herself–as are most of their costumers, I’m willing to bet.

  6. Thanks for at least validating the experience that we’ve been plagued with lately. I was hoping to identify an alternative provider but I guess there’s none currently that are solid. Grr!

  7. I solved my problem by unplugging the modem from my computer when i wasn’t using the internet. This way when the children do want to play games we still have the ability to do so. Hughes Net is a rip off

  8. I just tried the token thing and was told my SAN was not valid. I copied and pasted it right off my account. I imagine it’s because I have the hn9000 which is the cheapest but they won’t let me upgrade online. Anyone feel totally hamstrung by this company?

  9. The Beta Support applications are only .exe files and not compatible with Mac.
    HughesNet does NOT care about their customers. They are a company of criminals. They have a monopoly and they are exploiting it.

  10. I’m tripped right now, and don’t have any restore tokens! It is definatly a major pain when your a web developer, because you refresh the page, adding enough to trip it! It also doesn’t elo that I have to go to my friends house just a street down who has super-high-speed with no FAP to download large files… I always feel creepy with a laptop sitting on the side of their house, just where I’ll get their wifi. But the fiber-optics just have to stop at their road.

  11. I totally agree with everyones’ complaints, in fact I’m going to go a step further. Can anyone tell me why DSL is totally unlimited and we aren’t. Your all going to say the FAP. Well that’s a bunch of crap. And why do I say that. PLEASSSE let me explain! If FAP is so important than why let us buy restore tokens. Then you might say because we might need them. Agreed, but if the FAP is so important and not the money wouldn’t you put a limit on how many you can buy. I mean acording to them it would only be FAIR. It’s all about the old mighty dollar. And my friends first the chance I get hughes net will be gone.

    • To be fair, DSL and Satellite have very different constraints. It costs a large fortune to add capacity when it requires sending a satellite into space. So I completely understand the need for Hughes to place some limits to make sure that a few users don’t abuse the system at the expense of others. My big complaint is that they have clearly oversold their capacity and are marketing it as something that is not then relying on a footnote to tell the true story about the limitations of the technology. If it was priced appropriately for the limitations, or if they had reasonable FAP limits, I wouldn’t have so much of an issue. However, the current FAP limits are insanely low considering the growth of rich applications on the Internet over the last 5 years. Also, as mentioned in the article, I’d be okay with them throttling the speeds when you hit a certain level, but they throttle it down to the point where it is almost useless. This is really tough when I rely on connectivity for my online courses and telecommuting.

      In the end, I respect their right to set policies as they see fit, I just want them to stop hiding the ball so much with their advertisements and set appropriate prices for the level of service you get.

      • It also costs a small fortune to establish the infrastructure for DSL. Having just been involved in expanding DSL coverage (more specifically, FiOS). More specifically, in the neighbourhood of 500k per “Switch,” which covers about a 3 mile area. Now imagine trying to cover a full county. And that number doesn’t take into account the cost of the actual Fiber-Optics, Hubs, Servers, etc., all the other hardware required to expand coverage. Overall, it’s probably MORE expensive to add an equal amount of coverage on a DSL/FiOS network.

        • I did not realize it was that costly. Thanks for the in-the-know perspective on that.

  12. I have noticed that since they have come out with these tokens we are going over the limit a lot. Before they had these tokens we exceeded the FAP only once a year but since the beginning of 2010 we exceed the limit at least once a month. We are thinking that they found a way to raise revenue. I believe they may have screwed-up big enough this time so that we can all file a class action lawsuit. Has anyone else been exceeding the FAP since they instituted the tokens?

  13. I’m also fed up with HN. This morning we were FAP’d again. I called customer service and argued with them once again. “John” told me we downloaded over 450MB betewen 7 ad 8 AM. Our plan allows 425MB. After telling him, again, there must be something wrong with their system, I gave up a restored it. I did find out they had the useage meter, so I pulled it up immediately to show my wife. We watched it drop from 425MB too 399MB in less than 2 minutes. We immediately shut the MAC down. I went up to our PC, started it up, logged back into HN, and pulled up the meter. It stayed on 399MB and after about 20 minutes gradually went back up to 413MB.

    I don’t know what was happening; I am completely fed up. I agree with whoever said HN found a new source of revenue through the tokens; while it’s never been good, we’ve never had such poor performance before.

    The cable company promises to be in the area within 12 months, it can’t come soon enough for me!

    • We had to upgrade to the next highest level. At a cost of 10.00 more per month. Now they are charging us tax, too. But, with the new upgrade we haven’t exceeded the limit and we have watched dozens of youtube videos. It’s almost like we got 5-times the extra bandwidth with the upgrade. I don’t know how much better the cable company will be either, as here in the Houston area even the cable companies have begun charging if you exceed the bandwidth limit…

  14. I just switched from WildBlue to Hughes because WildBlue was so miserable. Hughes solved most of my problems, but I too am very frustrated with the fap.

    WildBlue’s fap was much superior with 30-day rolling. At the $80 level I got 17 gb a month and seldom went over 50%, so I never had to worry about it. Hughes’ daily allotment has me consumed with it, and like others there are times when 25% quickly disappears for no apparent. reason.

  15. I have HN as well, have had it for about 6 years and like everyone else, am completely miserable with it. What makes it even worse is I am a huge video gamer that have missed out of so much fun multiplayer games and so much more. Heh, I’ve recently played Call of Duty online at a friends… I suck so bad. But the funny thing is, I blame HN. I’ve never been able to properly practice on Xbox Live. Just saying.

    But my question is… two yearrs ago, I’ve watched cable trucks come onto the street I live on. Keep in mind, I live on a street with mostly businesses which is why there was no cablee/dsl. however. one block or so away, there was. Anyway, after looking around at what they were doing, I found out they installed fiber optic cables on the poles. I’ve never found out if with these fiber optics, can I get faster internet… Comcast, Fios, anything..

    I did call Comcast multiplee times, they have said so many times we were in the area. But. The tech comes out and says he cannot install cable, barely gives us the right info on why not. Basically, I think its cause fiber optics are on the poles on the street but there’s no cables from a pole, to my house. Am I thinking correctly or not? And if so.. Is there anything I can do, anyone I can call, simply… anything… that I can do, to .. do anything? to help.. to just get rid of HN once and for all and not go dialup.

  16. Hughesnet continues to underwhealm on service and cost. This is my only ISP in the area, you should also use Hughesnet only as a last resort.
    You are an account, they are more expensive than than cable, but their technology is also slower as an added benefit.

  17. How do so many people seemingly not know what they are getting into with Satellite Internet? Do they actually hide their policies from new customers???

    I’ll tell you guys on HughesNet something, though: WildBlue (the satellite service offered by AT&T, Dish Network, and Direct TV) is even worse!

    Sure, you ostensibly get a higher monthly transfer amount for the same money, and installation fees are a little lower, but speeds are much lower at their best and if you do go over your limit it can be weeks before you get your speed back as your monthly allowance (not daily) has to get below the 70% mark before speeds are restored.

    And, of course, there are no reset tokens. Nor is there any “download zone.”

    Also, unlike HughesNet, UPLOAD transfer is severely limited. 5000MB per 30 days upload transfer on their largest package.

    Right now I am considering switching to HughesNet. Unless you guys can report constant low speeds (bearing in mind that the very best I ever see on WildBlue’s best plan is about 250kbps downstream) on HughesNet’s elite and higher plans, the only place they seem to fall short of WildBlue is the total monthly transfer budgets (and that may be balanced by the daily “download zones”).

    • 250kbps? That would be a dream. I am in the HN plan that supposedly goes up to 1.5Mbps, but the best I’ve ever seen was about 900kbps, and that is if you are using it during a window of ultra low usage (really early in the morning). Typical peak usage speeds are between 175-190Kbps.

  18. I’m just wondering how do you exceed within the first two minutes that it resets? ALWAYS when we exceed it’s at the very begining of the reset, never the middle or near the end, ALWAYS at the very begining! HOW???? I have written emails to Hughesnet and all I get back is gibberish! As soon as something else comes into my area I am on it!!! I am so sick of this! We go over (very conveinently) 2 times a month no matter how much use it gets, a lot or a little!

  19. Also, why does it say I have 525 MB on my plan on the page with the meter but says I have ProPlus 425 MB when I go to pay for a token?

  20. Oaky…I’m with just about everyone — I hate the FAP, BUT, as I Iive in a rural area and have no other option, I’ve learned to live with it. House rules at my house: NO youtube; NO downloading of movies or TV shows; NO download of music. Basically, no streaming video at any time. While it doesn’t seem fair that I pay $100.00/mo. and can’t watch any form of video on my internet, I have no othe option so I’ve learned to live with it.

    HOWEVER, lately I seem to have a new problem. I’m getting charged with excessive downloads when I KNOW I’m not using them. Yes I have a router. No, nobody is hacking into it — because of where I live, they’d have to be IN my driveway to get close enough. NO, windows is not doing auto updates — I wait until I have a ton of updates to download and I set my alarm for 2am and get up and do it.

    Nothing in terms of usage in my house has changed, and as I said, I’ve learned to live with the FAP. In the past, we’d go over maybe once every 3 or 4 months. Now, every 10-14 days. I was sitting at my computer one day and “boom” – I’m over. I went into the hourly download report and saw that I was just hit with over 360MB of download in the previous hour. I was the only one home and I was simply checking emails when the supposed huge download happened. This is now happening on a regular basis. It happened last night. It was 10:00pm and I was checking email and boom — shut down — again! I firmly believe that Hughes is charging people with bogus amounts of download because they either want the extra money from folks being forced to by tokens, or they simply have more customers than they can support and they are regularly and intentionally and bogus-ly shutting people down. Has anyone else had this kind of problem? I’m ready for a class action lawsuit or something.

    • As much as I dislike Hughes. I seriously doubt there are doing something that egregious. I suspect your unexpected high usage is one of two things 1) If you are running windows, check that the windows updates are set to manual and not auto. Also, I have found that iTunes likes to auto-start huge downloads for updates. Adobe Acrobat is really bad about this too, but those tend to be smaller updates. These can be huge and need to be done during the FAP free window; 2) Do a virus scan on your machine. Worms and viruses can generate a lot of traffic.

      • The green unused balance of daily allowance showing in the Systems Controll Center under status/download allowance never corresponds with the usage total for the day in Hughesnet customer care.I set up an “On Demand” movie to download in the FAP time allowance period after 2am Eastern.Because it was an HD movie,it downloaded for the full five hours and exceeded the time for FAP and I was put in recovery when it continued for an hour past FAP(8 AM Eastern)The movie only went to 90%.I have the third package up which is 80.00 per mo and 425 threshold.It is a pretty sorry system over all if you can’t download even a single movie over night during the FAP time.Someone in congress needs to help rural people who have no other choice than the couple or so companies who are robbing us by not giving us what other people have but are charging us double for the lesser product. Big Al

        • I’m with you Big Al. IMO, capitalism is at the root of our problem (I, too pay $89.99/mo. for 425mb download and can not watch any kind of streaming video w/o going over). HughesNet is definitely PART of the problem – they’re exploiting us rural folks. However, it’s the bottom line of the cable company’s that is the other HUGE part of the problem. They can’t be bothered to come out to the country to lay cable because there’s not enough money it for them. My road is a little over a mile long and there are @ 20 houses on it — not worth Comcast’s time to come on out and serve usl….it’s b.s. THe only thing that makes me feel better is that eventually the cable co’s are going to figure out how much more money they can make by limiting downloads (ala hughes)…

        • I’m upset about the issue too, but impugning capitalism is a bit severe. Blaming cable companies for not spending money (by operating a venture at a loss) just to make sure you have Internet seems a little selfish. I don’t think you’d appreciate it if someone forced you to operate a business at a loss just because people needed the services. Eventually technology will catch up (WiFi and 4g) to make it so they can do this profitably. It just bites to be us for now.

        • I definitely agree that the government should step in to aid in rural broadband expansion. I do think the funds should be directed primarily toward developing satellite internet networks though. The possibilities are there, they just have to be developed. I have some great articles about this in my blog at mybluedish.com/blog.

        • I agree somewhat on the idea that Government could do more to expand the scope of broadband internet, but I’m not to hip on the idea of throwing more money at Satellite. I just think that Satellite Internet is more of a stopgap measure than a permanent solution for widespread broadband Internet connectivity. The technology just has too many inherent limitations (latency, rain fade, expense to add capacity).

          I’d prefer to see incentives (tax breaks, regulatory consolations) for cell-tower operators that already have a huge infrastructure to offer wireless service in under-served areas.

    • My only thought is that someone could have an outdoor yaggi wifi antenna which can reach a couple of miles.You can find them anywhere for sale.Reset your password through your router brand sight and include a combination of numbers and alphabet so as to prevent easy access to the router.It is worth a try.Big Al

      • To clarify =My outdoor wifi response was to LisaR who was experiencing 300mb or so downloads from her system when she was not doing any usage.To me it could have been a long range two way antenna getting into her system and suggested her password on the router may need changing to a more complex one.Big Al

        • Thanks BigAl….I’ll give it a shot :)

  21. LisaR, the same thing happens to us. I suspect Hughesnet of intentionally manipulating the bandwidth. It doesn’t occur very often, maybe once every-other-month, but it does result in extra charges for me. And extra profit for them. We definitely need a class action lawsuit to settle the score.

  22. I used a token the other day and by the time I could check my usage, about 30-seconds, it showed I had already used 20%. But once I kept checking it, my usage stopped. Either their is a bug in the software that keeps track, or Hughesnet is intentionally doing something. The problem is we can’t all get together and file a suit. Maybe enough users will come here and we can get organized.

    • A lawsuit is already in progress in California, however it is likely to do little more than fill the pockets of some lawyers.

  23. I realize my “accusation” sounds far-fetched, but tell that to all the people from Enron who lost a lifetime of retirement savings. Corporate America has no scruples and no morals. I have a Mac. My auto updates ARE set to manual. I’ll check adobe, but I’m skeptical. I will also check Itunes, but I always get “asked” to download iTunes updates, so, I’m doubtful…..also, macs are not prone to viruses, though I guess it’s possible.

    • Are you sure it isn’t Apple that is using your connection to their own unscrupulous ends? After all they are an American corporation and you know about all the Enron stuff. On second thought, have you considered it might be a family member? You do know that Bernie Madoff was an American and presumably they are too.

  24. You response seems a tad patronizing and not at all helpful. If I knew what (or who) was causing me to exceed my FAP I wouldn’t have posted in the first place. I KNOW it’s not a family member, but that is about all I know for sure. Aside from that, it could be anything. I have noticed, however, that there are several people posting the same thing: since Hughes started offering “tokens” I have exceeded the FAP consistently every 10-14 days, up from 2-3 times per year with no obvious change in how I (and my family) use the internet.

  25. I agree, Johnfx, that impugning capitalism is severe. And, I do GET that businesses are in business to make money, not lose money. I just feel that “fair” trade is lost because of “free” trade. Doesn’t it bother you that we have to speak to people in India for support – people who barely speak the language and are doing nothing more than reading from a script? While millions of americans are out of jobs? So Hughes can improve on their bottom line? You accuse me of being selfish because I want good quality service at an affordable price (of which I get neither). Why isn’t Hughes “selfish”? For squeezing us? At what point do we, as a country, need to start looking after our own, even if it costs a few extra bucks. I wish I had the answer – how businesses can make money and american consumers can get good-quality products at affordable prices – while employing americans, but I don’t. This issue is spiraling out of control, and the american middle class is feeling it the most. I’m a consumer and I don’t have a choice whether the only chickens available in the grocery store are fed steroids. Tyson gets to decide what goes into my body. You seem reasonably intelligent (or you just like to throw big words around). Tell me, what happens when ALL the jobs are overseas. What happens to your fellow americans? We’ve gone back and forth you and I, but I have yet to talk down to you or call you names. I’m entitled to my opinions just like you, so please, change your tone or don’t talk to me.

    • Although I must say that I find it frustrating to talk to Indians who are hard to understand on support, I don’t object for the reasons you state. I find it hard to morally justify the position that saving jobs in one of the richest countries in the world is preferable to providing the opportunities to improve the employment and quality of living in a country that currently suffers staggering poverty. In India I am sure that most would laugh at what we call “the poor” in our country. We live in a country where living at the “poverty line” would put you in the top 50% of wealth when viewed globally. Forgive me if I am not so worried about protecting our “middle class”, a clever phrase that politicians like to use because just about everyone considers themselves in that group.

      Protectionism is not the answer to keeping jobs in this country, competitiveness is. We are simply going to have to find things that we are good at and are hard to outsource. Frankly, though. I do think that is a lost cause. If you look at the income disparities between the US and most countries of the world, it simply can’t hold forever (hence the need for massive defense spending). For a long time I think we took advantage of some geographical advantages (natural resources, isolation between two oceans) to maintain the status quo, but as information technology eliminates those barriers to entry I think things are going to unavoidably level out economically on a global scale. While that is good news for countries like India, Haiti, and Afghanistan, it won’t be a great deal for wealthy countries like in North America, Japan, and most of Europe.

      As for HughesNet being selfish, of course they are. One of the underpinnings of Capitalism is that both sides of a transaction are selfish and acting in their own best interests. So ultimately, HughesNet is working in its own interest, by design, but can only do so inasmuch as we empower them by continuing to use their service. You say that we don’t have choices in Internet service or chicken, but I’d argue that you do. Stick with me for a second here, this will sound crazy at first. As for chickens you can clearly buy organic or even raise your own. For Internet, if you check with your local Telco, they actually will build a T1 line out to your house and you can get “in-town” levels of service. In both cases, you are talking about spending a lot more money, but you do have a choice. You are making the choice that the gettting exactly what you want isn’t worth that much extra money. In the case of Internet by selecting HughesNet over dialup, however, you have made the choice that you are willing to spend SOME amount of extra money for performance. HughesNet knows this, and that’s why they can’t charge as much as a T1 line, but can charge more than dialup.

      One thing I will give you. The options in the rural market are limited, and HughesNet is clearly taking advantage of that in the implicit negotiations on price and level of service. The reverse is true in town and consumers are exerting a downward pressure on Internet prices, so it does work both ways. Also, consider that if it weren’t for horrible capitalism and the pursuit of the mighty dollar, why would HughesNet even offer services at all? They invested in the technology to send satellites into space to pry a few bucks out of your pocket. I’m betting that absent that profit motive we wouldn’t be having this conversation and you’d still be using dial-up, and arguably that wouldn’t have developed nearly as quickly as it did without some profit motive.

      Take heart though, just like the jobs issue, the barriers to entry are starting to fall and us rural folks won’t be such easy targets forever. As I’ve noted in this blog there has been some ingress into the market by Wireless ISP providers and 3G cellular companies. In fact I am getting close to cancelling my Hughesnet account after some pretty good results with a 3G modem through Millenicom. It isn’t a panacea, but beats satellite in most areas.

      • Johnfx,I know I may sound like an idiot or may actually be one as a matter of fact,lol,but what I am wondering is why satellite internet companies havn’t developed a method of digital compression/recompression inwhich more data per mb could be transmitted/received.Many files on the common pc can already do this (in a sort of crude fashion,of course)including the compression of email folders,resizing of photos,etc.Under such conditions,speed could be increased inaddition to volume of data without exceeding the present set thresholds.If we can develop a single instrument that is a telephone,Ipod,tv,radio,game machine,etc all in one,there is no reason such a simple task could not be accomplished. Big Al

        • I can’t speak with any authority on whether Satellite companies are using any form of compression to improve bandwidth. They very well may be compressing the data for all I know, considering that modem is pretty much a black-box. Do you have information to the contrary? That is, to make it work seamlessly the modem firmware would have to decompress anything so your computer understood it without special software. Thus it would be invisible to the end user. It could be that they are already doing this and Satellite would be much slower than it even is today without it.

          Also, I have to believe that if they could get bandwidth gains through compression AND it was a simple task they would already be doing it for their own cost benefit. It is much cheaper to maximize the bandwidth of existing hardware than send up more satellites or upgrade them.

          Some other factors to consider:
          * A lot of the more bandwidth intensive applications used on the Internet (Video, Graphics, Audio) are already highly compressed natively. In many cases, trying to re-compress an already compressed file can actually make it larger.
          * The processing cost of compressing/decompressing files offsets some of the gains from quicker delivery over the network. So for the very small files (HTML) that you get over the Internet you may get diminishing or even negative returns with this strategy.
          * I don’t think bandwidth is the first tier bottleneck here. If you use the system during the wee hours of the night, performance is often considerably better. IMHO their big problems are concurrency (oversold capacity) and latency, neither of which would be helped much by compression.

        • I am sure a version of file compression is possible when transmitting files through satellite internet. The problem is going to be with media file, such as songs and videos. Most of the time songs and videos are already in compressed formats and compressing them further would not do much good. Uploading and downloading documents via email is usually not what slows people down, it is the media files. There is more information on this topic on my blog at mybluedsish.com/blog.

  26. I fixed my internet myself, drilled a hole in the bottom of the plastic cover and let the water out!

    Now, I called Hughesnet, got a [Support Person], told him my plastic cover had water in it, it was half full, oh, so your dish is under water, I said no the plastic cover has water in it that goes over the eye on the dish, [Support Person] when do you think the water will go down, I told you the plastic cover that is over the eye has water in it and it is blocking my signal for my internet!!

    He told me some crap and said to hold on so I hung up and fixed it myself!!!!

    Roger Moore

  27. We’ve had HN for nearly 2 years. Mind you, we live in a wall tent in the middle of the Alaskan boreal forest. So, satellite internet is our ONLY option… there isn’t even land line telephones out here, much less DSL, cable or cell/mobile. Seriously, even rural folks look at our location and say “darn, you’re remote!”. In any case, we selected HN because they are better than the only other satellite provider that services our area. For the most part, we deal with the slower-than-city speed, freaky outages during rain and aurora events, watching streaming media and doing updates in the flipping middle of the night, and managing to only hit FAP issues once a quarter.

    I’m glad that they instantiated Restore Tokens and the Status Meter. Unfortunately, sometimes the SM gets stuck, giving you the false impression that it’s OK to watch that YouTube video when all the sudden you slam into FAP… the SM says “A-OK”, but checking the modem directly tells you that you’ve exceeded threshold. I’m also glad that they give you one complimentary token per month just in case you blooper… but I don’t understand why they’ve decided not to roll those over if they’re not used (really, what’s it cost to let you bank them for 12 months?)

    But this brings me to my biggest gripe… if they’re going to offer Restore Tokens, make the service work! For the past 9 hours I’ve been trying to apply a token, but have been unable to because their weblet is “unable to determine usage”, and therefore won’t even give us the option to apply (free or paid!). I’ve done everything I can think of on my end to bump the junk out of the stream so their applet can communicate with our modem and realize that we’ve exceeded threshold. No luck. I’m not driving 40 minutes to the nearest payphone to call customer support, who cannot help me (after standing in the freezing rain on hold for 45 minutes) because I’m nowhere near my connection to troubleshoot!

    In the case of ultra-remote subscribers, who literally have no other communication option, the providers and whatever Powers-That-Be need to lift the FAP thresholds entirely, or at least put them out in the GB range. After all, there aren’t that many of us out here anyway. Certainly not enough to clog up the bandwidth for everyone else. :D

  28. We go over our limits sometimes when no one is home and our router has a password only we know. We then try to use restore tokens and it usually says fap will not allow at this time. So what is the point of selling them , if yo cant use them when you want? I have a home business to run. Beware I never did get my rebate for install even though this was awhile ago. I wonder how many other people they have blown off when calling to ask what happened to it?

    • Watch those Windows updates, they can be FAP killers. Also if you have iPODS on your wifi network that are set to auto-update apps that can be the cause. I’m happy to say that I’m firing HughesNet today. I finally found a better alternative in my area after YEARS of searching.

  29. I’m thinking about going from wildblue to hughesnet. Hughesnet is constantly improving. Recently they got something called a download bank which allows you to store unused bandwidth.

    However, I don’t get how hughesnet can have an unlimited download zone between 2AM and 7AM.

    Wouldn’t too many people take advantage of that and use up all they capacity on the satellites? Won’t they get rid of it sooner or later. and make all their customers angry again?

    If they are able to have a 5 hour FAP free time, why is it that they can’t have it all day.

  30. don’t use Hughes net!!!!! i have had them for over 2 yrs and in the past 2 months, i have wasted over 30 hours dealing with their incompentent customer service team. my concerns escalted to their ‘president’s office’ … what a joke! I think that hughes net is competing with Verizon to be the most challenged company out there… customer service is a foreign notion to them!! i do not have the time to go into details but take my word for it, don’t walk, run from these clowns! I have switched to wild blue, a far better service and business model! if you care for more details, i can be reached at mlabadie1@gmail.com.

    Caveat emptor

  31. Don’t send an email question to hughes, they make sure to call you back 24 or more hours later. You then are not longer trying to use the equipment or the problem is no longer there.
    If you talk with hughes they tell you the problem needs to be there when they call. It is too bad they don’t understand being timely might fix the problem; or maybe they don’t want to solve anything. That appears to be their solution to your problem given the number of times that has been the way they work.

    The speeds continue to slow down and the new sat does not solve the same overload problem as offered in the marketing stuff. It might be time to ask for the faster speed given the marketing.

    Hughes: credit users until you reach speeds of 2005. That is not the reduced speeds you quoted in later years but the speed you advertised when we sighed up for you service. Mine was 1m delivering only 870k at best. That would be 6 years of under performance.

    • i sent an email to hn complaining about the download speed, after numerous attempts to talk to the walking dead at their customer service, whom I don’t understand and who don’t understand me. when I talked to them on the phone they went through some mumbo-jumbo, put me on hold, and then came back and said let’s do this and then that because we have the tools here to do something with to correct your problem. So the end results were I spent a lot of time on the phone. So after my email which basically said i want the download speed you advertise, not the 100-250 kbps which i sometimes peak out at. well they called me back today and there was no double talk, no putting me on hold, no mumbo-jumbo, no telling me it was my HP cp that was the problem. It is now my satellite dish is not working right and they have to send a technician out to repair it, but the warranty has run out on my satellite dish so they have to bill me $170. Well the walking dead have graduated to the crooked fraudulent people who I suspected I was dealing with all alone. I said I rent your equipment so why should i pay to have your malfunctioning equipment repaired? I also said if that is why my download speed is terrible then you put a dish on my house that was not working properly from the start as my download speeds have never exceeded 400kbps since i have had hughesnet so I’m not going to repair something I don’t have a security interest in. Let me speak to my supervisor to see what I can do (secret code words for i got to go pee, smoke a cigarette, get a cup of coffee, or eat a snack). So after putting me on hold, he comes back and tells me his supervisor has waived half the fee and now i will be billed only 62.50 for a technician to come out and fix my satellite dish. I say are you crazy. What if a storm came through here and blew your satellite of my roof would you want to bill me? My bill says rental fee. I expect whatever i am renting to do reasonably whatever it is suposed to do, that would be the purpose of a rental fee. suppose a few things fell off your satellite in orbit would you send me a bill? Over one billion dollars in revenue last year but I’m supposed to pay to have their equipment repaired. I didn’t know there were that many fools in the world. Of course when I got Hughesnet i didn’t know anything about FAP or limitations of use, because they advertised unlimted use in their advertising and free installation but wanted to charge me 300 dollars after it was installed for installation fees. So they lost the class action suit and had to take court instructed actions to make the changes they have recently made. It was not because they were trying to be noble or upstanding members of the business community. Pradham Kaul complied with the court order so as to stay out of jail. I expect they will soon be heading back to court to explain why they are advertising false download speeds (another class action suit). On a scale of 1 to 100, Hughesnet is minus 100. If Dish told me I had to pay to get their satellite dish fixed you damn well know what would be the results of that as well as Dish knows . Monopolies always breed companies like this that take advantage of the situation to extract money from their captive customers by whatever means possible. So the court action cost them 5 million dollars, they made a billion dollars last year.

  32. It sucks that Wild Blue and Hughes Net are the only services available in most rural areas. Everyone has a right to complain. I am a dedicated gamer, who ran his own servers/website to support an intense gaming team, which entered into competitive tournaments. Now, I can’t even do something as simple as download a movie, let alone play a few matches of Counter-Strike: Source.

    But I do not believe, even for a second, that Hughes Net will change their ways for people in my predicament, when there is still much money to be made from us. Protesting, and complaining will get us nowhere, as long as we continue to pay for the services that they provide.

    The truth is, unless we gathered all Hughes Net customers and went on a strike, there is nothing that us small fries can do to improve the quality of our experience, other than paying for a T1 line, or simply moving into town. But the day that I move into town because I cannot get an internet connection that satisfies me, will be a sad day indeed.

    My point is, if you are so intensely dissatisfied with your service, then do without, and find other hobbies. Some of you have work that requires an internet connection, which is inconvenient to say the least when going through Hughes Net. But not much can be done. Save up money, and move perhaps. But complaining won’t do you much good.

    • My main complaint is that they don’t market it as what it is. An expensive, inferior last resort broadband option for rural users. The trouble is their costs are so dang high to add bandwidth (sending up satellites) and the technology is very limited. So they have two choices, oversell the bandwidth they do have (the option they chose) or charge even more insanely high prices and provide service that matches their advertised speeds. I think the core issue is that the whole business model is flawed, not so much that they are sticking it to their customers. However, it doesn’t help that their customer service is notoriously bad and that they market speeds which no real world user of their server will come close to except in the wee hours of the morning.

  33. I’m 72, have been using the net since the beginning. Anyone remember 5 1/4 floppies?

    Hughes net is the most expensive, worst internet provider i have ever used. terrible reception, slows down for no reason, very nice tech people from India, but they can never fix my connection. The “Fair Access Policy” is like calling World War Two a tea party. It’s a joke. Can’t download a book, update a small program, nada.

    I wish I had cable in my area but don’t. Guess I’m stuck. Have so little trust in them that i’m worried about paying big fees for their new Gen4.

    If you have a choice of anything else, go for it. Their advertizing about speed and width just doesn’t come to reality.

    • Remember those floppies well. I live in a rural area too and suffered with HughesNet for more than 10 years until I found a viable alternative.

      Here’s a tip: Check the National Broadband Map. There is at least some chance you might find a small provider you weren’t aware of. Look for WDSL (Wireless DSL) providers. That’s what I switched to and it has turned out pretty well so far. They are mostly very small (and sometimes hard to find) and have limited resources (support, etc.), but at least don’t have the stupid caps.

      Good luck finding an option to fire Hughes. I remember the day I called up to cancel and they asked “Can you tell me why you’ve decided to cancel your service?” To which I replied, “Because I finally have a choice and ANYTHING else is better than Hughes.”

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