Moving to the country? Useful tips Part 1 (Setting up Email/ internet/TV/Phone)

I just bought a country acreage in Ashton and am busy arranging the details of my move. As someone who has lived in the city in the same house since the early 1990s, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to making the switch. I discovered the  realtor’s checklist that we give our clients isn’t that helpful –telling people to remember to change utilities doesn’t really tell them *how* to do that- so hopefully this will fill in some of the gaps.

Email. There are only two Internet service providers in my  new area and neither are Rogers, who I’ve used for decades. This creates a problem when it comes to my email address—I’ve got thousands of people in my database and an interruption in use will be problematic for my business, as emails to me will bounce.

The only way to keep my Rogers address is to pay for Rogers Internet even though I won’t get the service out there,  or piggyback on someone else’s Rogers account. (This can be done through social media and requires them to complete a permission form and provide my account details.)

This will make my address part of their account so that technically, they would have access to my emails.  I trust my friends to maintain my privacy, but more problematic is that if there is a password change, they will have to do the reset, as this is their account not mine, so this is not a great option if they happen to be away.

My IT guru, Samesh Naidoo, wants to set me up with Office 365. It costs about $ 8 a month and we can tie it in to my existing domain name, peggyblair.ca. However, that means there will be a period of time where I have to keep updating people to the new address and because I’m notoriously cheap as well,  I am considering whether I will use my Royal LePage gmail account instead.

Still sorting this one out: the point is to be aware that you may lose your service provider and have to switch your email addresses, so be aware. Whatever solution I go with will involve some overlap and additional cost for at least a few months. I’m shooting for the least disruption possible.

Internet. At my new address, the only two service providers are Explore.net and Storm. No-one I talked to  seems very happy with Explore.net because it’s quite slow: there is a FB page for residents the street, and one neighbour said she could go and make a cup of tea while waiting for emails to load. Clearly that won’t work for me, so I checked out Storm. Their number is 1 888-554-7827.

I was super impressed with Storm’s customer service and spoke to Jason several times about how to do this. He arranged to run a technical test to make sure the existing service at my new address was adequate  (the concern being the service installed a few years ago might have slowed down due to trees growing taller) and thankfully it was fine, so I don’t need to have a tower or tripod installed: those would cost extra, but they can use the existing antenna.

They can either courier me a router ($ 130 to purchase or $ 10/month rental) with a preset password and username that I can just plug in and use, or I can buy a router and he will supply the password and username. Samesh suggests using the Storm one so that if there are any problems, they can’t blame it on the router.

The router has to be plugged into a router cable that runs to the antenna.  Jason said I would find the cable on the wall closest to the part of the roof that has the antenna on it. The antenna is about the size of a pizza box, and I hadn’t noticed it during my walk through. I asked the new owners when I had my final walk through and they actually showed me where the router is positioned in the basement,and offered to leave it behind. I’ll have to check to see if it is a Storm router, but very kind of them indeed!

To use the existing account/antennae and transfer it over, I have to sign up with Storm within 60 days of taking possession, otherwise, I have to pay for a site visit. So that’s on my “to-do” list.

There is also Community Fibre supplied to some streets in this area as well by a local start up, but unfortunately it hasn’t reached mine. Good to check though, as reports are that their TV/Internet  is great. Ben LaHaise is the entrepreneur behind it, and if he can find a loan for $ 50K, he says he can extend service to my street. Here’s hoping! And some of the new subdivisions nearby have Bell Fibe. So do check out your options.

Phone. I have a cell but for long calls, I do like a land line. Turns out I can  get voice over Internet from Storm for an additional $ 18.95/month or 19.95/month for long distance to the US — I think there is an additional charge for international, but I haven’t made an international call in years. Anyway, they will send me an adapter and I can use it with any touch tone phone; it just plugs into the back.

To keep my Ottawa phone number I have to sign up with them for it before I cancel my landline with Bell as there are forms that need to be signed. This is much less expensive than my Bell line, so I’m going to see how this works.

Television. Shaw Satellite Direct provides service to my area. I wasn’t able to reach anyone when I called them at  1 888-554-7827 ( I was on hold for quite a while) so I used their chat bot on their website and was  quickly transferred to Mehdi, who answered all my questions online and gave me a number to reach him when the time comes to set things up.

They have a bewildering number of packages, so I have to sit down at some point and figure out what I need and what package I want. Mehdi said that it’s $150 for a regular HD receiver (I don’t record anything; have never figured out how to PVR — I’m such a Luddite!) but they would apply a $ 150 credit to my account, leaving me to pay $ 19.50 in taxes on the first bill. The various packages start about $ 55.95/month, but the current owners of my home have been happy with the service, so once I get that all figured out, that’s what I’ll use, and they will probably use the existing satellite, but Mehdi says it will involve a site visit with an installer to get things set up.

That’s it on the tech front: tomorrow – garbage pickup,  setting up a propane account,  and  arranging hydro! (Trust me when I say all of this was more complicated than I expected!)

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