we currently have a 56k dial-up connection which everyone in the family uses all of their patience for instead of putting up with each other.(we are getting sick of it) our only local phone company is iowa telecom and they are charging outrageously high prices for their service with dialup let alone a broadband connection. since they are the only local company that we have, does that mean we absolutely have to go through them for broadband connection. we dont have cable but we do have sattelite which i recently read can be used for internet connections.
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You took the words right out of my mouth when you mentioned satelite. I would definitely research that as an option.
Unless you go for a higher - end sat connections, you will need dialup for uploading to the internet, and would have the higher-speed sat connection for the downloading. Why? Because you would need to have a sat transmitter sitting on the lawn (or house), and those devices need to be licensed and prepared for interference and that sort of thing.
You mentioned patience on the internet... with dialup and a router, you could have multiple people on the computer at the same time doing light work, and have it be acceptable. Granted, everyone would be sharing that one internet connection, but multiple people could be reading multiple websites at a time, and you would need to impose a "family rule" of no big downloads until after certain hours.
I had my folks working with a linux box and dialup until they upgraded to cable (road runner). The linux box dialed out every 8 hours, and the 3 computers in the house routed through the dialup to the internet.
Now I don't know how things work there, but here you can get DSL service from pretty much any ISP, not just your telcom, you might try looking around. Also have you actually priced DSL internet from Iowa Telcom? They may be picing DSL at a much more reasonable price than you are expecting, several ISP's I know of are over pricing dial up in a push to get more of their customers on DSL. Although I did just look at their prices for DSL (http://www.iowatelecom.com/residentialservices/article.asp?id=220&PID=108&GPID=) and they are pricey, but they do have some lower speed DSL connections which aren't too badly priced. As I said though try shopping around.
Yet another option is to talk to your local cable company and see if they offer a cable internet only price, they might, I know here Rogers will do that, but you have to twist some arms pretty hard to get them to admit it.