Being that we are on an island, we have few options for internet.
At the time of writing this there are very few options open to us for internet. There are no cables of any kind running to our island so we have to use a wireless method.
When it comes to satellite coverage there are a couple options. We decided to go with Starlink because the price and speed. Other operators use older systems that are in high orbit making them slow and laggy. Starlink just opened up operations in Panama.
May 17, 2023: We just got our email from Starlink saying we need to confirm our order. We have been on the waiting list for around a year and a half as the company ramped up service and made arrangements with the government. The tricky part now is that they require a local address in Panama to ship to. We have not real address and for sure not one that could be shipped to.
We reached out to our people in Bocas to figure out what to do. Several people said to contact RednBlue shipping service which is a well known shipper in the area. Mailbox Etc was another suggestion. We ended up going with Transportas Toby as they are well known with the folks in Bocas Town and were highly recommended by some of our Bocas friends. They are going to receive our equipment and have it delivered to our property manager Tyson for safe keeping.
Sadly, we aren't moving until January and this means our Starlink equipment is going to sit in a box for the next 7 months just waiting for us to activate it and we have to pay our monthly service fee just to let it sit. But the alternative was to cancel our order and go back to the end of the waiting list. And it could be another year or more before we could get our next chance to get our equipment. Since it takes about 2 weeks to get our equipment shipped and they don't start billing for another 2 weeks after that, we will only have to pay for 6 months of internet without being able to use it. That means we will waste around $300 in service fees, but they are giving 50% off the full cost of the equipment right now meaning we save $250 right there. This makes the early sign up cost almost nothing as the equipment sits. Seems like a smart choice.
If you need local transportation, you too can reach out to Transportas Toby through WhatsApp at +507 6617-8629
We will add to this story once we fire up our equipment in early 2024 and let you know how it all works out.
Update: January 20, 2024 - We are now living in Bocas Town in Bocas Del Toro in an apartment while we finish our house build. We cannot modify the apartment to setup the Starlink dish. So instead we used a long pole and rope to secure the dish just above the roofline. It looks a little janky, but this is seriously sturdy. Our signal is great and after several speed tests, we are getting between 76Mbps and 121Mbps. Even at the low end, this is much faster than the local cable internet. Plus we don't have to share!
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