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*Testimonials provided by Exede customers who received complimentary service for a limited period.
Lorraine Harris’ life changed with one breathtaking view of Oregon’s southern coast.
Harris had just been laid off from a travel-heavy, whirlwind job at Yahoo in the San Francisco Bay area. She was at a turning point.
“Did I want to hop back on the corporate wagon, or do something completely different?” she thought. “My husband brought me up here, and I said, ‘We’re going to do something completely different’.”
The couple relocated to the Coos Bay area, and Harris retired. Her husband is a military veteran on disability due to injuries suffered while serving in Vietnam.
“We just decided I’d stay at home and we’d have a quieter life.”
The only hitch in their new lifestyle was internet. The couple first bundled a cable connection with their phone, which Harris described as not only slow but expensive.
“They just kept upping the bill and my service kept getting slower and worse. Their customer service was just abysmal. They didn’t seem to care about existing customers; they just wanted to sign up new ones.”
They then tried another satellite internet company and again were met with unexpected costs and slow service. That all changed with Exede.
“You guys are cheaper and much quicker; to me, there’s no comparison,” Harris said. “And the customer service is just excellent. I can always reach someone, and they aren’t speaking in techno-language or an accent I can’t get. I’m hard of hearing, so that’s important.”
“Every time I call, they review my plan. They don’t try to upsell me. If I don’t need what I’ve got, I’ve even gone down. It’s nice to have honest customer service.”
Despite the distance that’s now between them, Exede allows Harris to continue caring for her aging mother still living in the Bay area.
“Even though I’m 600 miles away, I handle the medical issues for her. She calls and asks me to make appointments online. She’s a huge reader, but you can only request library books through the computer, so I help her with that.”
Harris and her husband Jan have goats and chickens on their rural property. Almost any question she has about her new animals can be answered online. The frequent trips they also now enjoy to visit friends around the country are all arranged online.
“This is the next chapter of our lives. It is a very good life.”
Some people might mistake customer Anne Kessler for an Exede saleswoman.
Anne lives in a coastal, northern California town of just 450 residents in which most people know one another and share not just their lives, but experiences with a variety of services they use.
“People complain a lot about how bad their internet service is; and that’s when I jump in and say, ‘That’s because you haven’t tried the new Exede Internet’. I keep running around and getting people signed up.”
“Most people were using HughesNet until Exede launched a new satellite that serves this area. It has changed everything.”
Built around a small, natural cove and surrounded by rolling hills dotted with vineyards and sheep farms, Point Arena is visually stunning and geographically unique – a challenge for most internet service providers.
Anne fell in love with the area’s big trees, small-town lifestyle and slow pace, a welcome change after years of living in San Francisco. But since she works as a freelance database engineer, that slow pace couldn’t apply to her internet.
“It’s very important with my career to have good communications. Exede has been fantastic. It operates so well that it fades right into the background and you don’t have to think about it at all.
“The databases I create have to be kept up and running. Before, I was driving for hours getting to the little companies I work for so I could work on their computers. Now, I just dial right into their computers and am able to take care of it without leaving home. It saves me, it saves them; it makes me more professional. It’s just been a lifesaver.”
Because her job has her online so much, Anne doesn’t spend much personal time on the internet. She prefers to spend her free time with her two dogs, exploring the area and getting better acquainted with the townspeople she’s come to love.
“I’ve been here a long time, and I still appreciate how gorgeous it is here.”
For Bob Wirth, security is priceless. And Exede gives him a sense of security unlike any other communications system he’s experienced.
Bob relies on Exede both internet but for phone service, and rates both as topnotch.
“I’ve been amazed at Exede Voice; it far exceeded my expectations in quality,” he said. “A lot of times when you do satellite (phone), you get echoes. But I ask my friends and they tell me I sound great.”
Concerned that the satellite might interfere with a 911 call, Bob even did a test with emergency services and found the emergency operator showed his correct address.
“With something as serious as 911, you have to test it; it was perfect.”
Bob also rests easy knowing he’s as prepared as he can be for a natural disaster.
“One of the things I’m most excited about in being an Exede Voice subscriber is that I feel very secure in the fact that no matter what happens as far as earthquakes, I will always have phone capabilities. That is a very, very comforting feeling.”
Bob and his partner live on a rural property a few miles outside the small town of Elk Creek, California. He retired there in 2000 after almost three decades as a supervisor at a Santa Monica hospital.
“I always knew I wanted to get away from the masses. Elk Creek is very rural. We don’t even have a stoplight. We have a post office and a restaurant/pub. I live outside town on a road seven miles long with 17 people living along it. I go back to L.A., and I think, ‘How could I have stood this’?”
On his rural property, Bob enjoys living as independently as possible. He has a pond stocked with bass and catfish, and regularly buys and quarters a cow for an on-site supply of fresh meat. His home is powered by solar energy.
Many of the everyday functions in his home are wirelessly powered, including his doorbell and thermostat. His Exede service keeps those modern-day conveniences running smoothly.
“When I’m on trips, I can turn my heater back on when I’m a couple hours out; that’s really fantastic.”
Wirth is also a ham radio operator, a hobby his Exede internet enhances. A service available via the internet helps Bob find others who share his passion.
“We can communicate anywhere in the world through the internet with other ham operators.
“The services Exede provides have become an integrated part of the house now. I couldn’t imagine existing without it.”
Jodi Heiser moved to her 55-acre northern California ranch almost 20 years ago, and still wakes up with a sense of breathlessness.
“We’re surrounded by mountains, with a view of Mount Shasta from our house,” she said. “We have a couple horses and a big pond. We have a couple neighbors that you can’t see, but you know they’re there. We visit back and forth.”
Jodi and her husband Jack used a dial-up internet connection when they first retired to the ranch just outside Cottonwood.
“That was painful,” Jodi said. “We knew people who had HughesNet, and they had problems all the time. So we took a chance on WildBlue and Exede. The first time I logged on, I thought, ‘Whew, this is nice!’
“We have never had a single problem.”
Jodi does all her banking online, and keeps in touch with world news through her Exede service. Her favorite online pastime is playing games with friends from around the country, and her daughter in Sacramento. It’s a fun way to stay in touch.
“I play ‘Words with Friends’ with some of my friends in different cities, probably a couple hours a day. I’ve got probably 20 games going with different people. You learn new words, and it just keeps your brain going.”
Jodi happily recommends the service to her rural neighbors.
“I’ve recommended it to a lot of people. I tell them we’ve been very happy.”
Oregon dog trainer Jason Coutts and his wife, Kathy, live with 16 dogs on a three-acre property several miles from the nearest town. From there, he’s earning his master’s degree in canine development science and she her bachelor’s in environmental science – neither of which would be possible without their Exede Internet service.
“I couldn’t have done it because I’m six miles out in the boonies here,” he said. “There was no way I was going to be able to turn in my assignments. That’s why I give Exede high marks; getting my school work in is very important.
“I got my associate and my bachelors with WildBlue (the ViaSat service that preceded Exede), and then went to Exede; that’s how I’m doing my master’s.”
Coutts’ master’s will further his already successful career, built around a deep connection he shares with dogs.
“I decided to follow my passion,” he said. “The passion started with dogs; I’ve loved being around them since I was young.”
Now he trains dogs for police work, including narcotics and explosives detection, tracking, therapy and PTSD support, and as guide dogs for those with a variety of disabilities.
Coutts is hooked on learning as much as he can about dog behavior. He chose his internet with his education in mind, and said the competitors couldn’t stand up to his scrutiny.
With the others, “I would be paying a lot more money for the uploading and downloading, where I have (plenty of data) now. I can do all my homework and not worry about going over. With Exede, the value is there.”
Most of his business comes through the internet as well. Initial contact from potential customers is made via email, and most find him through internet searches.
Because his job requires national and international travel, Coutts also relies on the internet for travel arrangements.
No matter what he needs it for, Coutts said his internet service has performed up to his high standards.
“Exede has done everything it said it would do.”
Jerry Almand likes companies that deliver what they promise. Exede has done just that for him, he says, time and time again.
Jerry lives in Castro Valley in the San Francisco Bay area, close to a densely populated area but remote enough that he can’t access traditional internet or television service. Initially, his only option was another satellite internet provider. The problems he encountered required almost weekly calls to customer service, and provided little satisfaction, he said.
“As soon as there was a replacement, I jumped on it,” he said. “Fortunately, Exede has been great from the beginning. They simply do the right things. Service is rock solid, and I get more bandwidth than I had before for less money.”
Problems have been rare, Jerry said, but when they do occur, resolution is quick and easy.
“Anytime there’s an issue and I call tech support, I get people that are knowledgeable and courteous. They do everything they’re supposed to do in a way (the other company) couldn’t on their very best day. When you call, somebody answers in a reasonable amount of time. When they listen, they listen carefully. They analyze and diagnose the problem and resolve it. The people they have are trained, talented and know what they’re doing. It’s as simple as that.”
Jerry is retired, but works a part-time job from his home and enjoys photography. He uses Photoshop to edit his photos, and does his shopping and banking online. It all adds up to a lot of time on the internet.
Because of his regular use, he appreciates warnings that let him know he’s approaching his data limit.
“In today’s world, you have to meet standards, and they do,” he said. “With internet service, you just want it to be reliable and to include some options. Exede gives me that. Everything they do, they do it right.”
The Marshall household is rarely still. With five boys – including 3-year-old twins – two dogs, several cats, and two happy but occasionally frazzled parents, their life in the country outside Red Bluff, California runs at a fast pace.
“It’s just a nice little environment we have here,” said mom Shea Marshall. “All the boys ride dirt bikes. It’s a great way to live.”
They needed an internet service to match their busy lifestyle.
“My husband works in the Bay Area during the week and commutes home on weekends, so we Skype a lot,” said mom Shea Marshall. “We have iPads and iPhones. Each boy has a tablet. We do lots of email and homework online.”
Despite their need for high-quality internet, Shea initially wasn’t keen about trying a satellite service, having heard horror stories about one of Exede’s competitors.
The family negotiated for four years to have another wireless service put a tower put on their property. The day that ISP said they couldn’t justify the expense of erecting a tower, Shea got a card in the mail from Exede.
“I said, ‘This is a sign I need to switch over’.”
Two years later, Shea’s only regret now is that she didn’t do so sooner.
“I’ve had nothing but great experiences,” she said. “The speed is phenomenal. All of us can be online at the same time, and we don’t have any issues with the service slowing down at all.
“I’ve had to call in once or twice for technical issues. They resolved them quickly, and were pleasant on the phone. Their customer service is great. We had such issues with our previous company, I would call them literally every other day because the internet would not work. They knew me by name.”
Having the service gives her boys an academic advantage. Many of the 108 children who attend their K-12 school don’t have internet, and the school itself faces regular connectivity challenges.
“When our boys want to get a report done, they just go online,” Shea said.
Shea is so satisfied she’s even posted about her great experience in online forums.
“It’s been a great thing for us.”
Guffey, Colorado is among the prettiest – but most isolated – little towns in the state. When Gerald Toeneboehm moved to the Park County community in 1983, he shared a telephone party line with a few of the neighboring ranchers.
“When you picked up the phone, if somebody was on it, you had to wait your turn,” he said.
When private lines became available, Gerald ordered two – one he reserved exclusively for internet. But service was slow.
“Then, I heard about satellite internet,” Gerald said. “The first satellite internet I got was StarBand, but I couldn’t go wireless with it. It was just a complicated issue to hook up a wireless router.
“Download speeds got much better. When I download my email now, it’s pretty darn fast.”“So I got WildBlue. And that just opened up everything. I’ve been with them ever since.”
Gerald recently upgraded to Exede, with its 12 Mbps service.
“I noticed a big difference right off the bat,” he said. “Download speeds got much better. When I download my email now, it’s pretty darn fast.”
Because Gerald and his family are far from large stores, they rely on the Internet for shopping. Gerald uses it to order parts to repair the family’s automobiles, and the entire family uses it for personal communication, taking advantage of the Free Zone.
“I learned from midnight to 5 a.m. it’s unlimited, so sometimes I try to stay up to get a couple of movies downloaded,” Gerald said. “I really like that.”
Marilyn Aldridge used to suffer from Internet envy. She and her husband, Dave, love their quiet property north of Silverthorne, Colorado, but didn’t love their service options.
“All that was offered was dial-up internet,” Marilyn said. “It was terrible. I was so jealous of everyone that had all those other fast choices. But I dealt with dial-up for six years.”
The Aldridges subscribed to Exede precursor WildBlue as soon as they learned it was available. Marilyn’s envy quickly evaporated.
“I was so jealous of everyone that had all those other fast choices. But I dealt with dial-up for six years.”
“I was thrilled,” Marilyn said. “And when Exede came out, I was ecstatic! It was just as fast as the other choices that are offered in town. I feel like I live in the real world again.”
Installation and customer service also get high marks, she said.
“Everybody’s been wonderful,” she said.
The Aldridges use their internet service for “email and playing,” Marilyn said, and she’s made sure to spread the word about Exede among her neighbors.
“I think I’ve gotten pretty much everybody on it,” she said.
Sometimes, satellite internet service with Exede can make a great home the perfect home.
Take Barbara LeGarde, who loves the climate of northernmost Minnesota, where the average high temperature doesn’t top 80 and the average low is a brisk 19 degrees.
“I feel more alive in the wintertime,” she said. “I crosscountry ski and snowshoe. I love the feeling of the cold air. I feel lethargic in the heat.”
But LeGarde didn’t want to pay for her family’s decision to live there with limited internet options. She and her husband bought a log cottage in the woods outside Duluth 16 years ago. Then, their two boys were small.
“We have 10 acres of land on the end of a dirt, dead-end road, so they won’t bring any utilities up here; it’s not feasible to do it,” she said.
“We love the convenience of it. We are absolutely satisfied.”
Not having internet didn’t bother the LeGardes until the boys got older, and school assignments increasingly called for internet access. But there were no options.
“Unfortunately for our boys going through high school, they would have to take their laptops and go to Caribou,” she said, referring to a local coffee shop.
When their cellphone company presented the LeGardes with an internet plan, they optimistically decided to give it a try. They canceled upon receiving the first bill.
“It was supposed to be $80 a month, but they didn’t specify the data or let us know when we were going over. So our first month was $800.
“We filed a complaint with the BBB and canceled.”
Then they saw an ad for Exede.
“We were thrilled,” said LeGarde, who subscribed about a year ago. “Installation was great and very quick. We just had a great experience with it.
“We love the convenience of it. If the kids have to get on and do something on their computers — check their Facebook pages, send a Snapchat — it’s nice to have it. One of my sons does a little bit of gaming online. I’m online for email. We are absolutely satisfied.”
Exede has made their perfect location even better, and given LeGarde one more thing to relish about the long, cool winters.
“Every time someone complains about the wood ticks or mosquitos, I point out there are no wood ticks or mosquitos in the winter time,” she said. “I’m just sayin’.”
Jay Folickman’s favorite place to work is at his second home, a 1,700-square-foot cabin in the Ohio woods that overlooks Leesville Lake.
“It’s a hilly area that goes out to the lake. I sit up on the second floor and just look out on the lake; it’s real pretty,” said Folickman, a senior account manager at a graphic arts company. “It’s really cool to be able to sit out there and have very fast Wi-Fi to do work.
“As far as quality’s concerned, I was really surprised. It was actually better quality than U-verse, which we have at home in Columbus on the middle of a populous area. And here we are, getting Exede out in the middle of nowhere. You connect faster. Everything is faster. So I have no issues with taking my laptop out there and working.”
AT&T’s U-Verse is a telecommunications service available in a number of states.
Folickman learned about Exede from a Leesville Lake neighbor, and met with installer David Butler of BFE Satellite Solutions in April, 2015. Butler walked the heavily wooded property with Folickman, searching for the best location to position the satellite dish.
“We put the dish down by the lake,” Folickman said. “We had to take down part of a tree to get a really good view and an open area. He did a really good job with the installation.”
Knowing he has reliable internet at his second home allows Folickman to relax completely on his weekends there and enjoy the lifestyle.
“We bought a new pontoon boat a couple years back, so we take boat rides and have martinis on the boat; it’s a really nice cruising lake,” he said. “We chill. We golf. We swim. We hang out. We sit by the fireplace. I like to sing, so sometimes we do a little karaoke.”
That now includes singing the praises of Exede.
“I’m very, very, very pleased with the product,” Folickman said.
The population of Kelsey, California is 200 people, “on a good day,” says resident Merinda Beck. And that’s among the many things she and her husband, Jaritt, love about it.
Both are retired from high-stress careers: He as a sheriff’s deputy, and Merinda as a nurse.
The tiny northern California town located between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe gives them the peaceful lifestyle they’d sought.
Their Exede service only enhances their high quality-of-life.
“It’s eight miles to the closest good-sized town, and because we have to drive through canyons at 30 mph to get there, it takes us 20 minutes to half an hour to get there,” Merinda said. “We tend to have things delivered to the home. It’s much nicer to be able to sit at home on the internet and in a couple days have it delivered than make that drive.
“We’ve had Exede a year-and-a-half now and have just been real pleased with the service. I hate to tell you how good it’s been … I have no complaints — and trust me, I’m one that writes reviews. So if I had a problem, I would have said something.”
Merinda is surprised by both the speed and the ease of using Exede.
“We’re not really savvy with computers. When the service man came, I said, ‘You’re not leaving here until I make sure we’re all connected’. He said, ‘OK, but you’re gonna like this.’ I clicked, and boom — it was there.”
The Becks initially did without internet, but now can’t imagine life without it. In addition to ordering everyday items on it, they use it for online banking and to stay in touch with family members and friends.
“Could we get away without it? Yeah, we could, but we don’t want to.”
For Susan Jenulis, access to Exede’s reliable internet service herlped her have the life she’d always wanted.
“Without it, I would not have had the nerve to move up here alone to this remote area; Exede has given me great flexibility in where I live,” said Susan, whose situation changed entirely after she retired from her job as an Orange County animal control officer and moved to the small California mountain community of Twin Oaks — a place so small it has no local post office. “It’s a whole different way of living. (In Orange County), I lived very close to Disneyland; I couldn’t wait to get out. I wanted to get out where I’m away from my neighbors.”
Susan was single when she and her dogs moved to her 20-acre property in 2005. She contacted a local plumber and electrician to do some work on her new rural home. A few years later, she married her handyman. Their quiet property, within sight of but removed from their neighbors, provides plenty of room for their four dogs, a horse, and two miniature donkeys.
Exede has been the frosting on the cake, even allowing her to utilize a cellphone via wifi. Their remote property doesn’t get a cell signal.
Susan tried wireless for six months before finding Wildblue/Exede 9 years ago.
“When people look at satellite internet, I don’t think they’re prepared for the level of service that is possible,” she said. “Exede is a wonderful service. I’ve never had an outage in service in all these years.”
Susan is doing her banking and shopping online. It saves her driving time and money; their home is an hour from the nearest grocery store and gas station.
“I find I can get much better deals online than offline, especially with free shipping.”
It’s also a source of entertainment.
“Being retired, I’m catching up on some of the television series I missed. I stream sometimes four or five hours at a time and I don’t have a problem.”
Because internet access is a common issue for the residents of rural Twin Oaks, Susan shares her Exede experience with her neighbors.
“I love it. I tell my friends out here, ‘Seriously look into Exede’. I’ve had nothing but good service.”
*Testimonials provided by Exede customers who received complimentary service for a limited period.