By Ron VandenBoom
Faster Internet connections are now available to Havre subscribers if the need can justify the cost.
Stellar Computer Consulting in the Atrium mall is now offering digital subscriber links to customers with a need for faster, more secure, and continuous Web connections.
Dave Shaw, owner of company, said Thursday he currently is providing the service to six customers and thinks he is ready to offer it to others.
DSL, unlike the much slower 28.8 or 56 K analog modem service, can provide a digital connection that will load Internet pages in a fraction of a second, Shaw said. DSL is also capable of handling as many as 254 computers on one connection that never has to dial a connection and is available at maximum speed 24 hours a day.
The system will allow companies to have all of its computers on line at the same time with individual computers capable of creating firewalls to keep intruders out of personal or confidential files while at the same time allowing the user access to the entire world, Shaw said.
DSL service does not come cheap and is not likely to be used by residential subscribers, Shaw said.
Installation of the equipment requires two DSL modems one at the subscriber's office and one at Stellar that cost $500 each and a $500 payment to Qwest to get the line installed. The service also requires a minimum one-year contract and a monthly fee that ranges from $135 to $600 depending on the bandwidth requested by the customer. It also takes about two weeks from the time Stellar gets the order until the service can be up and running.
Bandwidth available varies from 160 kilobytes per second to 1.56 megabytes per second and the monthly charge is based on the amount of bandwidth desired by the customer.
Shaw does not expect residential Internet users to be interested in, or able to pay for, the DSL charge, but all hope for residential consumers is not lost.
Shaw said he expects to have wireless service available to Havre customers in about a year at prices that are much more affordable for the residential user.
When Shaw was asked whether wireless will eventually replace DSL, Shaw said DSL offers security advantages that wireless does not have.
"With a wireless connection, Shaw said, anybody with a "sniffer" can sit outside your home with a wireless keyboard and get your passwords. Would a bank (for example) want to take that chance?"
Wireless also will not allow more than one computer hookup or guaranteed continuous service.