internet in mammoth lakes

It always amazes me that people read this blog. Not to be selfish, but it’s very me-centric and I find it much easier on the mind to not try to garner success. I intentionally don’t read my web stats and do little to popularize the site. For those who’ve stumbled across mammothguy.com and enjoy it: I salute you.

Edited a bit, I got this question and while normally I just write back to people in this case I figured a few others might benefit from the reply. In fact, this top is something I probably should have already addressed.

…and that revelation has brought the possibility of living in a place like Mammoth. So here’s the question: How’s the internet in Mammoth for streaming, Zoom video calls, etc.?

One of my 7 readers

So let me start with the bad news: if you go onto the Mammoth/Bishop BST group you will see copious posts about how Suddenlink is a garbage company full of terrible people incapable of delivering reliable Internet access. These people legitimately have grievances and I don’t doubt their frustration.

Here’s the good news: living here in the woods I have the fastest and most reliable Internet connection I’ve ever experienced. In 2009, via the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Digital 395 was put into motion. Simply put, huge fiber lines were laid down between Barstow and Reno, creating a ridiculously fast Internet connection for tens of thousands of people (including myself).

I have true gigabit Internet, and it costs me about $120/month. That’s obviously on the high side of things, but most people don’t need unlimited data and stupid high thru-put. But in this house every device could be streaming 4K while someone played a first person shooter on the PS4 and there’d be no hiccups in latency.

Okay, a little more bad news. The Eastern Sierra is still a rural area so on occasion an excavator blade will find its way slicing directly into the fiber: it happens. That not only takes out Internet, but those fiber lines basically run all communication, so goodbye cell phones. The power can go out as well and Edison has been doing that more with the preventative power shut offs. When that occurs the batteries at the local Suddenlink switch office seem to stay on for ~2 hours, then they power down. Sometimes the cell towers will stay on and be able to relay data through further-out phone-run connections to the fiber but that depends on a few variables. In general though I’ve found that my Internet connectivity up here is roughly as reliable as it was in major metro areas, perhaps more so.

To combat some of these, I really would recommend a 2m radio and your technician license. Handy in the backcountry when driving, and handy when communication goes out in town. Especially during fire season which is exactly when the power will be shut off, smelling smoke and having no communication system beyond your own voice and hearing really sucks.

To deal with power outages, I have a generator. To deal with full-on communication outages I have a 2m radio. To give myself some flexibility I have a pre-paid Verizon hotspot and my AT&T phone can do that job as well. Combined, that’s a lot of options stopping just short of smoke signals.

And lastly, while something that I don’t need here in Mammoth, Starlink is a system we’ll be looking at for anything we do further afield. If you’re looking to move somewhere very rural, check it out.

And really lastly, if you like me need a really good Internet connection you should be able to call Suddenlink up and give them to address to see what kinds of speeds you can expect.

2 comments

  1. Nice. No cell, so no cell booster? I’m currently in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula looking at WeBoost, the nomad favorite.

    Yup. I’m due a 2m unit.

    Thanks

    Like

    1. I dig the cell boosters, but in mammoth the whole town is sitting underneath mammoth mountain and there’s an at&t right on top so coverage is generally fine. And if it isn’t there’s literally a mountain between you and the tower so no luck.

      Like

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