Living off the Grid: Today Was the Day We Got Our Off Grid Internet Installed!

We’ve been living off the grid on our land for three full months now and today is a great day because we had our off grid internet installed! We didn’t know how complicated it would be to get internet to our off grid property, and we also thought we may have to have a solid power system set up first (like solar). It turns out, getting internet to our property was extremely easy and was done by noon in a single day!

Living off the grid can be challenging to say the least. They say “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to off grid living. When we decided to start our off grid homestead 100% from scratch, we knew that we would have to temporarily (and some permanently) say goodbye to many modern luxuries such as endless fresh water, endless hot water, endless heat, endless food storage, endless electricity, and endless internet.

Today, we decided to do ourselves a huge favor and get our internet installed. The first and second month of our homesteading journey was spent gathering tools, demolishing a barn and house for reclaimed materials, installing our septic system, cutting down trees for lumber, paving our driveway with rock, and more. Our last big project for the winter was building an off grid cabin for the winter, winterizing our RV, and now we’re ready to hibernate!

Why Not Having Internet While Living off the Grid Was Extremely Challenging

While we still don’t have many luxuries that we would love to have down the road, it was extremely challenging going without internet because we make our income online. The problem with not having internet on our property is that we have to run into town just to use wifi, and while that usually means we get coffee too (which we enjoy), it does mean that we need to use wifi during business hours. Business hours often align themselves with sunlight, which is prime time for working on our land! That always left us with the option of working on our land or making money, when we really would like to be doing both.

off grid internet solutions - living off the grid
Before having internet on our property, we would have to bust out work whenever we could get access to wifi.

Another problem is that we frequently upload videos to YouTube for the blog which takes 0.5-3 hours for each video, so we would have to sit and babysit hte upload rather than letting it upload while we work or sleep.

Every time we’d go to get wifi we’d also buy a cup of coffee (you know, to be respectful and not just mooch free wifi) and our coffee bill was becoming quite large when our internet usage was high.

And lastly, us working online is extremely integrated with our lifestyle. We frequently multi-task, take breaks, one of us will work on the computer while the other will be doing something else (cooking food, doing housework, etc.) so the fact that we would need to plan an internet day or internet session in town was very impractical.

What We’re Now Able to Do & Why Internet is Great Throughout Winter

Since we have been covered in snow for about two weeks straight now, and will likely have cold and snowy weather for the next few months, we plan to shift our focus from property development to working on our online businesses. We haven’t worked in about 6 months and it’s time to get back in the saddle! We are very excited about it!

Also, we spent A LOT of money in our first three months and we really need to just take a chill pill for a while. We hope to work hard at developing our online business so that come spring, we are ready to rock and roll with more projects such as building our timber frame barn!

Onwards & Upwards!

Just wanted to share with you all this exciting moment in time for us… time to get to work! We will likely do a blog post and video on the details of our off grid internet solution, so stay tuned for the details!

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.

Comments

  1. james randall says

    We have a mutual friend, Bob Miller; who tagged me in your video. He is aware of me & my wife (Kim) trying to do the same thing that you guys are doing. We are almost empty nesters, and have already purchased 2 parcels. Both have wells, and the total acreage is 10 acres. Kinda close to you guys, just a little west. We’re in southern central Oregon. We plan on building an earthbag/earthship type hybrid home, and will be slowly developing our land until we can make the finally jump from the rat race. I’m curious on what it takes to get your social media stuff, all set up. We plan on documenting our journey as well, for inspiring as well. Any feedback would be welcome. Thanks, Jim

    • says

      Hey Jim… my uncle is Bob Miller… so it must be him? That is awesome that you and your wife are doing something similar! We’ve heard a lot about earthships since we started this blog just haven’t had much time to look into them but they sound pretty cool. We moved from Oregon (Medford) which you may know if you read some other posts. Small world! I think slowly developing your land while you escape the rat race is a great idea. It’s a lot to jump into with both feet. We plan on doing some courses on blogging for people that wish to document their journey as well, or people that want to make money online while homesteading… social media is pretty easy to set up. I suppose it depends what platforms you’re interested in sharing your journey on. Maximizing your efforts on social media is a different story though and we have some tips and tricks that hopefully we can share. In the meantime, feel free to let us know if you have any specific questions and we’ll see what we can do. Thanks for getting in touch, sounds like you’re well on your way to building your earthship!

  2. christina says

    can’t wait to read how you made this happen & costs. it’s one of my top concerns when I move out of the city. Thanks!

    • says

      We’re working on a “what it costs” page that hopefully we can publish soon! We’ll try to share as much as possible with the transition from city to country, off-grid life :-)

  3. says

    This is so great! The “off grid” lifestyle is so appealing to us, but one can easily overlook the luxuries being left behind…glad y’all have internet again!

    • says

      Hey Kelsey! We’re stoked to have internet again even though we love spending days on end in coffee shops… but not really, we love home even more! You don’t know what you have until it’s gone… internet and many other luxuries that don’t go with the off grid lifestyle! Good thing is that we’re slowly getting some luxuries back little by little. We appreciate many things more now than we did in the past, that’s for sure!

  4. says

    Congrats on the internet. Looking forward on the next blog or video about it.
    Would be awesome if you can share also some technical stuff as this interest me.
    Maybe do a review later on after few months? I heard that there is an issue with latency with satellite net. Let us know your experience.

    • says

      Hopefully we can share some technical stuff soon! It’s not satellite luckily… so we have that going for us. So far so good and the 1MB is working just fine for our needs!

  5. Bob Young says

    I really enjoy following your progress. You are a year ahead of us! We have 5 acres east of Yakima, with a well. Plan to start building next summer, off the grid, & potentially using shipping containers.

    Very interested in how you connected to the internet. Are you going to share your setup with us? I don’t do any business on the internet now (no time) but I am looking into it for income after we retire next summer. Bob

    • says

      Awesome Bob! I hear lots of talk about shipping containers, it’s always interesting to see how people put them to use. 5 acres and a well is a great place to start! I bet you’re excited for summer to roll around.

      We will share our internet setup. It is through a local provider out here so that’s a huge start. I’m not sure what we’d be doing if there wasn’t a local provider (that was really something we needed in a property… our next property maybe we won’t need internet!). I know that satellite is always an option but it’s always kinda a last resort!

      There’s lots of talk about “free” wifi that anyone can get with the right antenna… this is something I’d like to learn more about although logic tells me that it’s not really feasible for your average person.

  6. says

    You mentioned that you didn’t need to have a solar array set up, but you didn’t explain how your ‘net connection works.

    We were 17 months without phone, power or internet when we first bought our property. Our first step was putting in a 750 watt solar array, and then we got satellite internet. We still need to ration it, but at least I can blog and keep up on things now.

    • says

      We still need to do a post on our internet set up. We may invest in a solar setup in 2016 but nothing is certain yet. Right now, we’re running our internet off of our RV battery, but we still power up the generator to top off the battery once or twice a day, depending on how long we’re working.

  7. Michael Moffett says

    Do you have a timeframe when you may have a post specially on your off the grid internet solution?

    By the way, I just found your bog today and have been enjoying the read and videos.

    • says

      Hey Michael… no time frame on that post. I’d like to say within a month, but we have some other matters in our business that we are trying to dedicate extra energy to at the moment. It is one of the most-requested blog posts so maybe I can make it happen sooner rather than later! Glad you’re enjoying our blog, and welcome to the community!

  8. Bill Iannuzzi says

    I just think it is awesome in what you are doing. I have been very fortunate to live on 40 acres at the base of Mt. Kit Carson in the Spokane,WA area. 6 acres are open the rest is wooded. There is one well, a barn, couple of sheds, and a shop. I am nearing the retirement age and want to be able to better “live off the land” so to speak. I’ve got 2 pick-up trucks, tractor, 9000w generator and gathering tools. Also a good garden area and about 15 fruit trees planted. I am very interested in making it possible to work the property and to be able to generate income during those unworkable outside months of the winter. Would you be so inclined as to direct me to what you are calling your online business and share more about that? I don’t have much money(been in ministry, non-profit work for 34 years working with high-risk teens) and would love to hear what you mean by off the grid living and what that looks like for you guys. I am very excited for you as well as others making this happen. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Kat says

    I have just purchased 36 ac in NE Arizona. There is nothing on the property and I will be starting from scratch next spring. I have a Live-In Quarters horse trailer and will be taking that up. I already knew that septic was going to be right away (I do not want to drag a 38′ trailer around every couple days lol)., but internet is second. I would love to know how you did it. I assume it’s satellite. How did you find a contractor/provider, was there restrictions on how close you needed to be to a town, costs, etc.
    I love your blog and videos…will be following closely :) Kat

  10. Guy P. Wood says

    I also have enjoyed the videos and blog posts. You mentioned that your internet is 1MB (MegaByte). Is it actually MegaByte or is it MegaBit (Mb)?

    Thanks,

  11. Jeana Riley says

    Hi! Been keeping up with your progress and VERY INTERESTED inwho what how you got your internet if it is not satelite. I currently use a hot spot but covergae can be sketchy – depending on where you are.

    • says

      We hope to do a video in the next couple of weeks about our specific setup. It’s wireless internet… kinda like Clearwire. So far coverage is pretty good but it does get slow at random times and we have had half a day of outage so far. However, we didn’t pick this lifestyle and this location so that we could have a fast, 100% reliable internet connection so it’s hard to complain too much :-)

  12. Jeana Riley says

    Also, where we live, the local provider is Comcast and the service is at the road but our house sits abt a 1/4 mile back off the road. They wanted $1200 to run the cable back here! Wayyyyy too much $$$. Thus the hotspot. Unfortunately we sit on the fence, so to say, of 3G/4G service to not the fastest connection but decent.

    • says

      No updates yet other than it’s working great for us! We hope to write a post on the full setup but have been slammed daily with something or another!!

  13. thebe says

    I came here for a how-to … not a journal entry. How did you install your internet connection … otherwise this was a waste of my precious time. Here’s your click.

    • Syl says

      I am working on learning about Abuntu which a a wifi pick signal for up to 6 miles or so. Then, you can hook up to a wifi signal or get Boingo wifif for 10$ a month. SOmething to research if in your area. I am still researching to bring it to my off the grid vacation in upstate NY. Just a thought…

  14. Mike says

    I would like to know what kinds of setup you are using. Seems to have been in for 8 months or so.

    Can you just give is the make/model and we’ll go research on our own?

    • says

      There is no make or model… we go through a wireless internet provider. Similar to Clearwire maybe? Not satellite, not DSL, not cable, not cellular but wireless 😉 It’s still on the to do list to write a more thorough post on it since many have the same question. Thanks for the reminder!

      • Syl says

        I read several of your posts and many are wondering about your off the grid internet. How do you not know what you use? Are you afraid to post it in your blog? If its something that others can use why not just share? You keep saying few more weeks but as I read through your blogs, you are not saying anything for the past 8 months. So do you have an internet that works on your property or not? If yes, how did you connect it to a wireless provider? You can get free wifi if you have a connection. I am working on something that will do that but am still wondering if it will work? Please advise,

        • says

          We have a wireless provider but they are local and unique to our area so we prefer not to disclose the exact company. Our provider has a tower on a mountain where they must pick up a signal (I think from a larger internet provider) and we have a receiver-type unit mounted high up in a tree where we can pickup the signal via line of sight. We run some cable from that receiver up and over a hill to our cabin where we hook it into a wireless router. We haven’t had time to update the post or provide a more thorough explanation but it’s on the to-do list with a lot of other things. If you find a free solution, please document it and let us know! We’ve heard of at least one person on the internet doing this but in reality, I don’t see how it’s possible, but eager to learn if it is, and affordable for the average person!

  15. Will says

    Interesting but it would have been nice to get more details on the internet. What company, speeds, limits… etc etc

    My guess from reading some of your replies is that you are using a point to point wireless (microwave?) connection which normally requires a dish installed pretty high and pointed in a certain direction and definitely not available in all areas.
    I think a lot of people (in areas like yours) have to suffice with either a cellular connection which can get pricey as you normally pay per GB or satellite which is (from the last time i looked into it) expensive, slow and has data caps.
    Cable companies charge anywhere from $1000 to $30000 to pull services to your house/property, I’m not sure what the telephone company charges but i bet it’s similar.

    • Mike says

      There are two rural types of internet I’m aware of. Satellite, and towers. Satellite is more expensive, but you can get the internet anywhere. Which is the only option if you’re so remote that there are no nearby towers.
      In my area, you can get 300GB a month with towers. Or 50GB a month, for the same price, with satellite. The company also has free rein to change your speeds to an unbearable crawl.

      • Jeremy says

        We found with satellite internet that not all companies can provide internet everywhere. We checked with Exede and they told us that they couldn’t provide internet in our area. From what we were able to get from the rep, it was an issue of the satellite being overloaded with accounts and couldn’t take on any more. There was another company that we didn’t even bother calling because we had a hard time finding even one good review for them. Also, 50GB of data per month isn’t anywhere near enough for a modern family with NetFlix and YouTube anyway.

        We looked into wireless internet, which it sounds like Jesse and Alyssa are using, and they didn’t have line of site to our property. Real big bummer.

        Right now we are on a cellular hotspot, and it has been a real struggle with two young kids that like to play on the computer. We are really hoping the radio internet provider in our area puts up a tower that can reach us someday, but we aren’t holding our breath.

  16. says

    I was just curious. Been watching your videos for sometime, however I just recently began following your blog. I keep hearing about your online businesses. What exactly are your online businesses?

  17. Jason says

    For all the other readers on here, they are getting a direct WiFi broadcast or more likely given the range, WiMax. Basically, the company that is providing internet (ISP) to their home have cable or fiber run up to a high elevation (mountain, tower, etc.) and are using long range WiFi or more likely WiMax to broadcast down to a wireless receiver at the house. They plug into this as their “modem” which provides the in house connection. Honestly you should just link to the local company, they would probably appreciate it.

    As an aside, there are many other alternatives to rural internet besides satalite, DSL/Cable, and WiMax. If you are really out there, microwave is the most feasible and reliable. You could also get a map of fiber lines in your state; you may be surprised to find that you are very close to a providers fiber. While it does cost quite a bit to run the fiber; if you have close neighbors you may be able to drop that cost significantly if you all sign up for a year. You could do the same with the microwave connections. Another option is cellular. If you get even a few bars of solid 4G or 4GLTE signal anywhere on your property you place a full cellular signal mini-tower to give it full signal then place a 4G modem router within range of it. These modems are very popular in China and can be bought cheaply.

  18. Russ Anderson says

    You talk about off grid internet, but I have not encountered any commentary or video of what the actual system is. Is it download via satellite and cell or land line for upload which doesn’t sound reasonible?

    Just an aside, with all the fire /stoves in use, I don’t remember seeing any fire extinguishers. Sorry if I sound picky, but your process and intimacy in your videos makes us feel as if we are right there with you. You are our family and want nothing bad to happen to you!

    You better get a big chunk of this dream done before children or you are screwed. You must realize by now that your following is living their own life and fantasies vicariously through your endeavours. And it is wonderful!

    Russ

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