Q1-2016 Broadband Update: Bye Bye Global Capacity, Hello Tachus!

According to Bob Dylan, “The times they are a-changing.” I certainly hope so. I’ve made some changes to our broadband service hereabouts, and I’m hopeful about a new alternative. The details of these two things are worth sharing.

I’ve long held that someone in a technology business, who works from a home office full time, should have redundant forms of internet access. If you’re going to have redundant access they should use different modes of connection. That way a single errant truck or backhoe doesn’t take out both of your services.

This belief was strengthened by our own experience in events like Hurricane Ike in 2008. We lost Comcast service for several weeks, falling back to our stodgy old DSL circuit. The DSL meant that we had IP phones running the morning after the storm, when even cellular service was down, amazed and confounded our neighbors.

Our first broadband service to this location was a DSL circuit. The name on the bill changed numerous times. What started out as Sprint Ion devolved into Earthlink, then Covad, Megapath, and most recently Global Capacity. The data rate was slow, but reliability was high.

Further, the two services cost about the same every month. Over time the performance of the Comcast access continually improved, leaving the DSL in the dust. However, every time I considered killing off the DSL we would suffer a Comcast outage of some sort. I begrudgingly kept paying for the DSL that we seldom actually needed. Insurance is like that.

All of that is past, for as of February 1st the DSL service is gone. Comcast outages were very and brief in 2015, so we’ve changed our backup strategy. For now, in those rare moments when we need backup IP, we’ll bridge to T-Mobile’s LTE network, which works very well hereabouts.

T-Mobile Speed test on Nexus 5 LTE.

Recently, a thread on Next Door revealed that there’s a new, gigabit fiber broadband service building out in Houston. Tachus Fiber Broadband offers 1 Gbps symmetrical service for $100/mo. That’s about the same cost as the 1.5M/768k DSL that we just cancelled!

With 1500 miles of fiber in the area Tachus already operates a substantial network, and is in the process of planning new expansion. Our neighborhood, the Woodland Heights, is one of the top three being considered for 2016.

Tahcus Fiber near Woodland Heights

They are prioritizing the expansion based upon the number is interested households signed up in each neighborhood. Needless to say I am promoting the service to everyone around us! If they built it, we will definitely sign up!

Incidentally, if you like the Bob Dylan song I referenced at the start, check out Manfred Mann’s version of that song.