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Getting Connected

When you take a vacation to a remote place and don’t have internet access or even phone signal, it can be a welcome respite. When you are working remotely and trying to communicate with others, it is a frustrating first-world problem.

We discovered that T-Mobile has no service from Canaan to Rumney. Worse still, no service at the campground that is our home for the next couple months.

On our first Saturday here I brought a large book donation to the library in Rumney (named after another Byron), and Sheila & Carla suggested that I use their public WiFi. We learned many local businesses provide free wireless internet to their patrons, including Rumney Rocks Bistro, Wal-Mart, Wilson Tire, Wireless Zone, and The Last Chair.

For other times I purchased a Straight Talk hotspot device (which uses the Verizon network), and a 1GB/30 day prepaid package. Pairing this with my phone’s WiFi Calling feature got me through the first week.

In the end, we decided to bite the bullet and switch to Verizon. I had been a T-Mobile customer for 14 years, and it served me well in every metropolis. Now Verizon has truly unlimited data plans too and the coverage is better, so it made sense. I attempted to sign up for new service via verizonwireless.com, but they don’t make it easy to port over an existing number. I learned that our Samsung Galaxy S5 phones would not work. Thankfully, a promotion offered $300 each in trade-in credit. I started the process over from Samsung’s website, which was much more user-friendly; until I reached the shipping step where they required the mailing address to match the one provided during the credit check (New Jersey). Finally we went to a brick-and-mortar reseller. About 90 minutes later we walked out with brand new S9 phones (and accessories), and they functioned with our old phone numbers almost immediately.

I am old enough to remember the days before smart phones, mobile phones, and even beepers. This past week has made me appreciate how much our lives are improved by technology. Jess and I would not be able to have this lifestyle 25 years ago.

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