the gourmet internet: Navigo and a salmon alfredo on a budget

Lately, times have been tight.

I’ve been rationing my driving to save on gas, and wearing lots of sweaters at home to reduce my home oil burning needs.

Over the weekend I cleaned my fridge because, well, it was empty anyway. But that’s not to say I’ve been starving. No, it seems that when times are most desperate, a dose of creative thinking and a willingness to dig to the very back of the cupboards can yield tasty results.

Somehow, out of what seemed like nothing, on Saturday I cooked up a delicious moose stew with wild rice and potatoes. And on Sunday I threw together a lovely salmon alfredo sauce for the last bit of pasta I had. These were two totally unexpected feasts that generated enough leftovers to get me through the week (though a cheque arrived yesterday that put some of the essentials – like salt – back into my cupboards for further cooking adventures).

This morning I was met with an even greater shortcoming than empty kitchen cupboards: my internet connection was down and Northwestel Cable couldn’t send a technician until next week to fix it. Who can live that long without an internet connection?

After a couple of hours of weeping and lamenting over having missed the Palm WebOS developer webinar this morning, my creative gears kicked in again.

I jetted down to the Northwestel store on 2nd Avenue, endured the ever-epic queue therein, and signed up for a Navigo wireless connection.

At first blush a second internet connection for one household might seem a tad extreme. But considering my data consumption needs, I’m likely to actually save some dough. (Nevermind the fact that my business depends on internet access.)

I regularly exceed the paltry 20 GB data limitation of the Northwestel Cable Ultra package, paying anywhere from $60 to $100 in overage fees each month (an expense which, no doubt, contributes to the state of my fridge). By signing up for Navigo’s Advanced service, I get an extra 10GB of data for just $55 per month. That’s half the cost of Northwestel Cable’s $1-per-GB data overage fee.

More to the point though, I get redundancy. None of Northwestel’s internet access offerings could be reasonably considered stable or dependable, as each of them is well-known to fail regularly (this is the second time this week my Cable connection has failed). So by doubling up on services, I can be somewhat certain of remaining online.

The other bonus is portability. If I ever want to play the über-geek at Starbucks, I can haul my Navigo modem out and surf whilst sipping an Americano. (Note to Outsiders: neither of the Horse’s Starbucks offer Wifi. Go figure.) Of course, I would rather just visit the more-comfortable and better-coffeed Baked Café and enjoy the free wireless broadband there, but I’m just saying

Unfortuantely, though, Navigo is no match for Cable. It’s advertised as performing about one-tenth as well as its sibling service, and my speed test results confirm this:
Compare that to what I’m getting with Cable, which is itself an under-performer (northwestel cable service revisited: it’s still lame in comparison).

But Navigo will probably work well as a backup internet service and as a way to augment my data needs. As long as it helps cut down on my monthly overage fees, I’ll consider the service worthwhile.

So I sort of think of Navigo as that desperate salmon alfredo I threw together with the final remnants of my cupboards’ contents: it’s not my first choice for a meal, but when times are tough, a little creative thinking can often save some cash.

4 thoughts on “the gourmet internet: Navigo and a salmon alfredo on a budget

  1. Well I just learned that Shaw has increased my speeds and yet I’m still on the old speed of 8000kb. This sucks so I can imagine your pain at your speeds.

  2. Pingback: Pages tagged "salmon"

  3. There is no doubt that Navigo is slow, but at least it regularly stays online for longer periods of time compared to the “competition”. Like you say, it’s a redundant connection and for those of us who need that level of access, this is a wise move. I tend not to publicly complain about the sorry state of Internet access (what can I do?) but over the past few years, Yukon service levels have become much, much worse across the board. Consumer demand is obviously way up, but reliability and speed is way, way down.

  4. “The other bonus is portability. If I ever want to play the über-geek at Starbucks, I can haul my Navigo modem out and surf whilst sipping an Americano. ”

    Ugh… I’d be embarrassed to haul out that stupid brick and find a place to plug it in. Hello, wireless AirCard anyone? Either that, or someone has got to get busy with some pringles cans and create a downtown wifi network.

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