Whether you’re self-employed, a small business owner, or a member of the gig economy, there are good reasons to consider a move to rural New Hampshire.

There are plenty of homes in beautiful settings, but getting acceptable quality internet service can become an infuriating (and draining) headache. I hope to spare you grief by sharing my experiences and tips.

One of the goals of this blog is to share an unvarnished view of the lifestyle up here. And this post is going to be unvarnished on the negative side.

There is only one truly modern Internet Service Provider (ISP) in New Hampshire: it’s Comcast. Your goal should be to only rent or purchase a home that can receive Comcast service.

If you decide to consider a place that does not have Comcast service, then your options are as follows.

  1. Research the internet service available at your prospective home thoroughly. If the brand is one you’ve never heard of, and the home is occupied, see if you can see an example of the quality of video streaming.
  2. Even if you do #1, you may wind up signing a lease or purchasing a home that suddenly is dropped for service by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) as soon as the old tenant or owner moves out. (This happened to me. I finally resolved this by calling a different department at the ISP and asking for “business service.”)
  3. Everything about your non-Comcast ISP will reek of the 1990s - including a decrepit website and a 1-hour long phone call to “walk you through” how to use the internet.
  4. You’ll likely be charged a bloated fee for someone to “turn on” the internet at your home.
  5. If you decide to get phone service through your ISP, it may never work properly. (For example, the phone ringer may never work, and your calls may drop while erratic static interrupts conversations, or you may hear other conversations bleeding through – like the old party lines.)

In my case, the old-fashioned ISP that I finally got connected to was bought out by a firm in the Midwest. Then it became unbearable.

  • Every month spurious charges would be tacked on to my bill, driving this non-high-speed internet bill up to $179/month – no cable, just basic internet.
  • When I complained, they said all those charges were added on because I had my service “disconnected.” When I replied that the service was never disconnected, they replied “Well, it should’ve been.” In other words, they were in essence saying, “We can charge you whatever we feel like and you can’t do anything about it, can you?”
  • Soon my substandard $12/month phone service became bloated up to $89/month as well, with no explanation.
  • Once, when the internet went out, and I called tech support. They said they’d send a technician out, but there was be a waiting period of one month.
  • The technician never arrived. Instead, I received a charge – in 3 figures – for his non-arrival on a date in another month!

This criminal enterprise has a well-deserved “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau. Their BBB page carries a “red alert” warning stating: “BBB has received a pattern of consumer complaints alleging, inferior service, billing issues, delays in responding to consumers and overall poor customer service. On November 1, 2017, BBB sent a letter to the company with its concerns. The business has not responded to the letter.”

The Switch to Verizon Mifi

I opted for mifi and reclaimed my personal sovereignty. I’m much happier with this simple set up.

If you work from home, an added benefit of mifi is you can switch things up and work at a cafe, a park, wherever you’d like.

In my line of work, I can’t use public internet for security reasons. So the mifi gives me the freedom to roam.

However, I there are some things you need to know about Verizon’s mifi limitations.

  • I opted for the “unlimited” data plan for $70.
  • For the first few months, the service was amazing. Then suddenly, I started getting throttled back. Typically it’s on Fridays and the weekend (with the exception of late night hours) and towards the end of the billing cycle.
  • At its worst, I’ve been throttled back to .02 mpbs upload speed. That’s unusable.

But most of the time, there isn’t any discernible throttling, the billing is predictable, and I have more freedom in terms of where I can work from.

I do wish there was a way to pay for truly unlimited data.

Some of you may wonder about buying a second SIM card, and putting $30 on it, and popping it in when the throttling starts. I tried that and it had zero effect on the throttling.

Stick With Comcast

My advice is: don’t consider any living situation that doesn’t provide Comcast. If you’ve found a rural home you love but Comcast isn’t provided, frequently you’ll find that 15 minutes up the road you can get Comcast and it’s highest level of internet speed.

Making Comcast service a stipulation of the home you select, doesn’t mean forgoing living on a mountain in the woods on in a valley by a river.

I also recommend you get mifi before you arrive here. It will still come in handy, including during the period while you’re house-hunting.