Getting The Internet For Less

Even though I have now been in my studio for several months I still don’t have an internet connection. There are several reasons for this:

1. I already pay into one at home

2. Internet at work is a big distraction from actual work

3. You can get internet for free

4. I need excuses to get out of the studio during the day

The only real set back to all this is that I generally end up doing all my business online admin in the evenings and first thing in the morning and thus my actual work day is far longer than it feasibly needs to be. But that is currently the only major disadvantage to me.

Because I work alone I very quickly go stir crazy even when I am working to client deadlines. The centre of Manchester is only a 10 minute walk away from me where I can pick up The Cloud or any number of free coffee outlet connections as well as some of Manchester’s very sporadic city wifi.

But whilst Manchester boasts of having some of the best free internet in the country, it doesn’t extend quite as far as where I work and my studio languishes in a hotspot free area. 3G is also very hit and miss.

I’ve become adept at picking up the open networks in town which I don’t mind using to surf the internet on or using to upload to Facebook, WordPress or Instagram. Currently I am trying to schedule in a couple of hours in town each day to do any major business work like upload blogs I’ve written in the studio, photos I’ve taken of work in progress during the day or do a quick email check to see if there’s anything that needs an urgent response.

It’s not the ideal set up. If it’s raining as hard as it has been the last two days, you don’t want to go out. If you’ve been hemmed in by tight client deadlines as I have been for the past few weeks, time out like that just doesn’t make any sense.

And if I didn’t have wifi at home I’d definitely be setting up my own connection here. But I feel that paying twice is a bit too much at the moment. It’s not as simple as paying for ‘internet’. A line has to be installed, BT has to be paid line rental monthly regardless of who your provider is. And then there is of course finding the right service for you. It’s BT that is the problem in all this. Internet itself is ridiculously cheap, it’s paying for the line that’s the killer.

There are other options. BT-Openzone for instance. Buy a 12 month subscription and access to all their hotspots unlimited is £15 a month, the price of BT line rental alone.

Alternatively I could sweet talk my dad into giving me his BT password so I can hotspot through that for free. I’m working on that but I don’t know the BT hotspots reach me adequately where I am based.

Tethering is another option. If you have 3G on your phone as I do, tethering a more usable device could be your answer. However, I don’t have unlimited 3G which, looking at my service provider, means it’s going to cost me considerably more additionally each month than setting up my own internet connection in the first place or paying to use BTs hotspots.

At the end of the day, I need to stop doing business stuff after work has finished. It’s every business owners dream of course but the reality is I have to perfect my work/life separation if I am going to make every work hour count. And internet is an important step towards that.

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