Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access

This blog can be written in only 6 words; Go see Harry in Spanish Lookout!

Ok, maybe I can elaborate a bit more on this internet access!

There are not too many installers in Belize, or in any other undeveloped 3rd world countries! So your first step is to locate them and find out what brand, system, equipment and provider they carry. They might only carry one, so your choice will probably have been made for you! Our choices were between different sizes of Hughes satellite dish and modems. As technology improves so rapidly we went for the latest model which was the HN7000S modem with a .94m dish.

The installation of the dish is most important. It is attach to the roof so it has to be done professionally. Once installed, it must be precisely aligned and secured to the proper satellite. We had Harry and his brother do it all. Both of them on the roof, one at the dish and the other one sitting down with his laptop. In no time they had homed in to the satellite and secured the dish. That was in November 2006 and we’ve never had any major problems since. When the rain is really intense you may lose connections, but it is for a short amount of time and very rare.

The speed is totally acceptable. There are 2 type of speeds; Download (to receive data) and Upload (to send data). Here are some speed comparisons:

Dial Up: Download – 40 Kbps to 48 Kbps / Upload – 36 Kbps
Cable: Download – 4 Mbps to 15 Mbps / Upload – 384 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps
DSL: Download – 768 Kbps to 6 Mbps / Upload – 128 Kbps to 768 Kbps
Satellite: Download – 512 Kbps to 1 Mbps / Upload – 128 Kbps to 256 Kbps

Through our provider, Hughes.net in the USA, we subscribe to the middle package which gives us a speed of : Download – 800 Kbps to 1 Mbps / Upload – 200 Kbps to 256 Kbps.

This speed is sufficient for our usage requirements. At most and at the same time, we had 4 computers working on the internet with one connected to Skype making phone calls to the USA and getting a clear connection. The connection through Skype is not always clear, but Skype to Skype calls are usually far better. Skype to land line or cell phone sometimes has delays and tends to break up or off. But overall, it is acceptable enough when chatting with friends and family. To conduct business it is not the best. But for the fact of being in the middle of the jungle and being able to phone home is quite amazing and fun!

And prices for both connection and call rates through a VOIP provider is much cheaper than the local phone company, and more often than not, more reliable.


Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
5 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
6 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
7 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
8 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
9 ~ Living in Paradise! But, Where Is It?
10 ~ Solar Panel Placement & Sun Chart Creator
11 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2



11 Responses

  1. Like this entry, very handy, insightful and interesting. Keep up the good work and all the best to you!

  2. After being in Central America, and Nicaragua in particular, for a year now, I would say satellite internet would be pretty close to heaven! Thanks for the info .. I will check this out further. Adventures are just meant to be had!!

  3. Hi again Tropicat – your blog is a lovely resource for people in my position that are considering relocating to a more sustainable lifestyle in the midst of all this chaos.
    My primary question is how much does your internet service cost each month?
    more generally, if a family is really diligent about being self-sufficient, to the point of living off the land as much as possible and employing sustainable equipment (like a bidet!), how much cash can you expect to need monthly or annually? I am attempting to compute a budget and I find it is quite tricky.

  4. Hi John,

    For internet access, we subscribe through eBlueHost (http://www.ebluehost.com/satellite/index.php) to the lowest package, which is $60 US a month.

    For a budget, living in Belize is not necessarily cheaper than the States or Canada. Many things are more expensive here, but it seems that in this environment one does not need as much ‘things’. Your cost of living very much depends on your lifestyle… if you love driving around and go to town every day, fuel currently at BZ $12 a gallon is very expensive. But if you go out once a week, it’s not too much of a concern. Another expense is butane. We have a fridge, water heater and stove. We use 100 pounds every 5 weeks or so. But if you sometimes cook on a fire, go without refrigeration or have a 12v fridge that you can power with your solar, use solar water heater, then it’s one expense you don’t have. Living off the land can be done if you are ready to put in the work! In a nut shell, don’t believe that living in Belize is cheap. But believe that if you adjust your needs and lifestyle, you can live on a small budget, just as you could in the states if you were self sufficient (electricity, water etc) and are happy with hot dogs instead of filet mignon 🙂

  5. Hi Tropicat! I’ve been reading your postings and found them so very useful Thank you for doing this! We will be moving to Belize (Stann Creek – in the rainforest) by the end of the Summer. It took 3 years to have our little menonite house built – primarily the problem, as you know, is that we were not there to oversee. In any case, we plan to purchase a satellite to get Internet access and phone. I know you suggest contacting Harry – Spanish Lookout is very far from where we will live. Would you know the exact type of satellite that we need to purchase? I would like to bring it with me and have someone down there install it. Would very much appreciate your/any suggestions.

    By the way, your home looks like paradise… why are you leaving Belize? Just curious… Have a great day!

  6. good article

  7. Hello Liliana,

    Sorry on the delay for my reply. I tend to get busier than I should! So much for the easy simple life in Belize 🙂

    Our satellite dish is a .92 meter, and is DirecWay (Hughes bought DirecWay). Your subscription will have to be through the Hughes Network, so therefore you want a dish that will be compatible with their receiver. I would not suggest going smaller than .92 meter because Belize is located on the outer edge of the satellite footprint, and the signal strength is weaker. For the modem, you want to go no less than the HN7000S. There are a number of bigger ones (HN9000) but they are for specific uses. Basically you want the latest version of the standard ‘home’ modem, as just like computers, they become obsolete way too fast!

    I would also check with a local broker in regard of bringing in a satellite dish. In some posts of the Belize Forum, I believe they mention that to import a satellite dish you are require some type of permit…?

    I know computer ranch does installations throughout the country, so I am sure they also go to Stann Creek.

    And your last question, why leaving Belize, I have 2 posts related to that subject… first is our business that is suffering due to Telecommunication https://tropicat.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/telecommunication-challenges/ , and then there’s the health issue… https://tropicat.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/health-issues-when-living-abroad/

    Hope you can make sense of my explanation on the satellite. I am not sure if I used the proper technical terms…! If you have any other questions, I’ll be glad to help as best I can.

    Have a great Easter Weekend 🙂

  8. Very well written post. Thanks for sharing this article. The nice thing about broadband internet is that it gets cheaper and has many ways to access to the internet.

  9. Hello Tropicat!

    I found this article very helpful. I live in Orange Walk Town for the past year and the internet speed is killing me. I like playing high grafix computer games and i can barely do it here without lagging to death. So I am very interested in getting satellite internet. Do you know any phone numbers or emails to people that can set up service for me? and for the service do i go to hughesnet website? I might even open an internet cafe 🙂

    Thank you very much for your help!! 🙂

    • Hi Junior!

      I have not been living in Belize for 2 years now, so I am not sure who provide internet services anymore. We used Computer Ranch in Spanish Lookout and were very pleased with them. Here’s a link where you can see what services they offer and their contact information. http://www.spanishlookout.bz/business/computerranch/computerranch.htm

      Also, check in your town those who have satellite dish on their property and ask them what services they use. Those who are currently and actively using satellite internet in your town would be the best referrals.

      Good luck 🙂

  10. I would like to know more information about solar panels an where I may get them?

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