Regarding your post on the above topics, another new satellite service of interest might be www.wildblue.com, who have been marketing themselves through rural telephone and electricity co-operatives.
As an alternative to a satellite ISP, [cellular services such as] Cingular, T-Mobile, and Verizon are beginning to offer wireless broadband services in limited areas. Cingular, for example, offers something they call BroadBandConnect, which can be added to your current account. One would then obtain a wireless PC card (modem card) and install it into your laptop or desktop(with additional hardware). For a static desktop setup, I have looked into replacing the built-in antenna on the wireless PC card with a better antenna from Wilson Antennas (www.wpsantennas.com.) All this for much less money invested in hardware and a less costly monthly fee than for satellite (about $100 in hardware and $60-70 for monthly service for the wireless broadband.) Right now these wireless services are offered in limited locations, but the networks will expand quickly, I believe. Another alternative, I’m hoping Wi-Max will begin to show up at the end of this year!!!
An additional nifty piece of equipment is a cellular docking station which allows you to connect your hardwire house phones into your cell phone and forget about a land line. To improve reception, go to Wilson Antenna and get a better antenna hookup for your cell while it’s in the docking station. Regards, – Keith