Internet Access Options On Guemes Island 2018


Speed and availability vary all over the island. The maximum numbers listed above are from service providers while verified numbers have been tested at specific locations on the island. Startup costs vary, too. Cable, cellular, Clearwire, Startouch and DSL all require modems to access their networks that with installation can range in cost from $30-$200. Services may also carry activation fees and require long term contracts.

Cable San Juan Cable/PacAccess covers most of Guemes Island with TV and internet access (bundled or separate). San Juan Cable purchased the failing Index Cable system in 2011 and made a series of upgrades, significantly improving reliability and speeds. Virtually no bandwidth cap. $75 install. Modems supplied free, wireless modems $5/month. “Business Internet” option is available at 20mbps download and 3mbps up option for $149/month. 888.512.2141 or 360.758.7879

In June, Frontier Communications announced the imminent availability of upgraded DSL services to all of Guemes Island. We will update this chart and description of internet access options on Guemes Island once Frontier's service becomes available for testing.

DSL  DSL runs over existing telephone lines and is now widely available around the island.

Satellite Frontier began offering, installing and supporting a new satellite system in November 2012. Satellite reception is not available everywhere and requires a clear view above the southern horizon. High relative latency times are a limitation of satellite systems. This is the time required for your browser request to travel up to the satellite and down to the server. By way of comparison, most systems listed here ping a server in less than 100 milliseconds. The satellite system takes on average 688 milliseconds. While download speeds are fast enough to stream video, the latency can make the service seem sluggish when browsing or playing games. Bandwith caps at $39/10GB/month and $119/40GB. 

Cellular  Cellular data service varies by carrier and location. Internet access can be excellent in some areas and non-existent in others. Carriers allow a grace period in which a purchased cellular modem can be returned and service cancelled. Services all have relatively low bandwidth caps which make video or voice over the internet prohibitive.

AT&T WirelessVerizon WirelessSprint Wireless

Clearwire (Clear) has been acquired by Sprint and is no longer available as a separate service.

StarTouch  Wireless (microwave) access requires site evaluation. Installation $150. Startouch Wireless Internet Service is by line of site only from nearly all outer edges or higher elevations of the island, making service available if a waterview is accessible. Much higher upload and download speeds and bandwidth caps are also

Please add your comments (below) and let us know what system works well in your location. Click here to test the download speed of your current connection.

A bandwidth cap limits the transfer of a specified amount of data over a period of time.This is an important consideration, if you want to share many large files, stream video and music, or maintain remote backups.

Speeds are measured in megabits per second (mbps). How fast is fast enough for you?

1 mbps - Basic E-Mail, Web Browsing
2-3 mbps - Streaming Music, Standard Definition Video, VOIP
3-5 mbps - Large File Sharing, Remote Backups, IPTV (Internet Television)
5+ mbps - Online Gaming, Video on Demand (i.e. Netflix)

Broadband services are asymmetric, that is download (to you) speeds are much greater than upload (from you) speeds.

Tags: options
Barb Ohms: 6:24pm - 12/4/12
I have been very pleased with the download speed of Startouch. I have a clear view of the towers in Anacortes which can be a problem for many areas on Guemes. They have been reliable and reasonably priced. I can't stream movies without going to a higher level & higher priced option, but that's OK.
Andy GLADISH: 9:57pm - 2/9/15
It'd be interesting to know how these numbers were determined. At my house tethering to my 4g device averages twice the speed with much fewer dips and spikes than cable- 3.2 vs 6.5, roughly. Upload is better with cable, but it's quite uneven. There's that data cap, though...
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