So if you’re a regular reader you’ve noticed that it has been a month since my last post.
I’ve missed you.
The major culprit in this situation is Verizon and their mobile hotspot that we employ to have internet access at Wolf’s Haven. They are really our only option here due to lack of signal strength from other carriers and the slow speed of the satellite service we originally had when we first moved up here. Actually it’s Charter’s fault, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.
So the signal strength is excellent and the speed is acceptable, but Verizon has started saying that we’re using much more data than is possible. We have a plan while here in the mountains that allows us to use 14GB a month, which should be more than enough to watch a movie each week online and do our usual email and web surfing. When we first got it and Cindy was here alone, she could watch 2 online TV shows or movies a week, do her genealogy research and email and surfing and still have data left over. Then last year Verizon did some kind of firmware update and after that the usage jumped astronomically, but we weren’t here for that long a period of time so we did not address it.
When we returned a couple of months ago we decided to get a new device from Verizon, thinking (especially after the salesman assured us the old device was “probably the problem.”) that a new device might be the answer.
But it wasn’t.
If anything, we seem to be getting “crammed” even more. And Verizon “Customer Service” (he wrote with tongue in cheek) assures us that we are indeed using the amount of data THEY say we are, though they offer no proof and cannot explain why the usage is SO much higher than it’s ever been.
We are careful to turn off the device when it is not in use (so no “phantom” data usage can take place), turn off the wi-fi function on our iPhones, iPads and laptops, and only turn on the hotspot and the particular device we need for a specific action. And we are on the side of a mountain with no other users nearby, but they couldn’t use our signal anyway because it is password protected. These are all arguments from Verizon that we have shut down as not being applicable to our situation, but to no avail.
For instance, the other night I needed to print out a shipping receipt and label for an item I had sold on Amazon. So I accessed the website, accessed the printer, printed the shipping receipt from the website and then copied the address to a Word document to print the shipping label and printed that. My laptop and the printer were the only 2 devices connected to the hotspot. So, how much data do you think Verizon’s hotspot said I used for that action?
Try 1 GB.
As Cindy is fond of saying when discussing Verizon’s claim of our data usage, “It’s crazy!”
So, having to watch our online usage like a hawk to keep from going over our 14GB limit has severely curtailed my presence online. I have been limited to mostly a passive surfing of the web and email using the unlimited data plan we have through AT&T on my iPhone. And here’s the funny thing; with my almost constant usage of the iPhone to keep up with email, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and web surfing, I still only used 5GB of AT&T data during the time Verizon said we used 12GB with our almost non-usage of their data through their hotspot.
This morning, I’m sitting in a McDonald’s sipping a smoothie and using their free wi-fi to post this. I will be so glad when we return to Orlando and cable internet service, drop our monthly usage plan with Verizon to 4GB, and my posting routine is able to return to a more normal schedule.
By the way, it’s not a situation unique to us and Verizon is more than aware of the issue (though they continue to deny it and offer “reasons” why their counter is correct) as you can see here, here and here.