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Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

Manassas, Virginia
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Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

Hi and please,

Where do I find free WIFI on the island? McDonalds and ??

What is the best cell phone service?

I have an ATT phone and a Virgin Mobile iphone.

Also any feedback on using a GPS or should I use mapquest?

Thanks

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

www.att.com/maps/wifi.html#fbid=Z1tmS6ACZf0 Try that for the ATT wifi hotspots. There aren't many on the Big Island.

Edited: 10:59 am, April 09, 2013
San Francisco...
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2. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

Oh, the AT&T wifi hotspot only works for certain AT&T customers. I think you need smart phone service, DSL, or U-VERSE in order to get access. On my AT&T iphone it detects that I'm on their network and lets me in w/o entering logon info.

Search their site for the cell coverage map as well.

Edited: 11:02 am, April 09, 2013
Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

Also Starbucks, Safeway, and Target offer free WiFi. The former two are heavily used by regulars who use the spots as virtual offices, so the networks are generally very slow with all the usage on the pipeline.

Safeway and Target are in Hilo and Kona only. There are more Starbucks, including a busy one in Waimea.

I have heard that MD's is the fastest in Hilo. I don't go in there myself as I don't eat their food products, but I've been told this by others.

There are none of these businesses in Volcano, btw.

Edited: 5:02 pm, April 09, 2013
jack.
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4. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

Libraries

Manassas, Virginia
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5. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

Thanks for the list of places and their cities.

I can't believe I forgot about the libraries.

Any info on GPS usage?

I also have a virgin mobile i phone and wonder if anyone can give me feedback on using it on the Big Island.

Thanks to everyone.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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6. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

I canʻt help with the Virgin phone question. Most residents I know have ATT&T or Verizon, or pre paid phones, which also work fine here. Suggest you call your provider or check their website for info on their Big Island coverage, if you donʻt get answers here.

GPS is totally not necessary here. We only have so many major roads, and the whole island is google mapped. I came here on vacation before there was internet, or smart phones, or GPS, or satellite mapping, and I never had any problems.

Well, other than trying to find something off the main track in Hilo without using a map, on my first trip there. One can expect to get confused driving in a town of some size where most of the street names begin with K. But even that was because I wanted to find the University campus without looking it up, which was silly of me. The tourist areas are in one long strip, so that couldnʻt be easier.

Now that we have internet, I use Google maps (havenʻt used mapquest for ages, but I guess it still works).

I dislike the whole GPS approach, because it denies our brains of that function of finding our way. That is how our brains learn and imprint, with a little bit of struggle and study, not driving around on command.

Sorry to be on soapbox on that, but I think an important part of exploration is lost when you let a computer tell you where to turn. I say just figure it out. ;-) Itʻs an island. Itʻs not difficult.

Rocky Mountains
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7. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

Virgin Mobile uses Sprint's cell/data network, which has always worked well for us on the west side of the island.

Kona
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8. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

GPS is next to useless on this island, mostly because the way that roads are numbered in the GPS systems does not match up with the actual road numbers and names on the ground.

We have a very unique system of addresses here - many, many locations are given addresses on the closest main road, because the actual road where the place is located has disputed governance issues (is it state? county? private?) or only has one of the "Old Government Road" designations, of which there are many. Thus, for example, for many years I had an address on Mamalahoa Highway, when in fact I lived more than a mile from that road.

Just recently, we had visitors berate us for the directions we had on our canoe club website for the location of a race (the directions were perfect), because their GPS directed them to the wrong place - it had embedded incorrect names for the local roads into its system.

It's a good opportunity to go back in time and find places like the locals do - it's part of the adventure. We almost never use highway numbers, so don't ask us about 11 or 160 or whatever, because we won't know. But Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway, everybody knows.

You'll rarely find anybody saying, "Go 1.7 miles and turn right," but rather something like, "turn mauka at the big mango tree and then right between the two fan palms" (we're big on using trees for landmarks).

Most people find that their U.S. continent-based cell phones work fine in most areas on the island, but there are several kipukas where you can't get any service at all regardless of your provider.

Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

This has probably changed now (or so I hope), but some years back we came to the island with my husbandʻs cell phone using Sprint. We were staying in Honaunau for a week. No phone calls. Whenever we would drive to Kailua Kona, they would always pop in as we got almost to town, and we would suddenly have days of messages.

Hamakua Coast from east of Honokaʻa to Pepeʻekeo has long been known for poor reception, even though there is a large Verizon tower right in Honokaʻa. Waikoloa Village has horrible cell reception. Nothing works well. Lower Puna, like Leilani and Kalapana, can be a dead zone for some, while others will get good service. Hilo is fine. Any carrier will work there.

Island of Hawaii...
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10. Re: Questions internet, free wifi, cell phones

What wahine said about landmarks is very true. I personally like to use street names, and even after years the landmarks thing drives me nuts. In Hilo, people use fast food joints for directions. I donʻt eat fast food and I pay no attention to where these places are, try to pretend they donʻt exist. So when someone tells me to turn at the Burger King, it irritates me. ;-)

An even funnier local custom is to give directions based on where a business was formerly located. Like -- near the old Penneyʻs store, that hasnʻt been there for well over a decade. If you grew up here, you will know exactly what is meant. It sort of tests how long you have been here. Oddly, Iʻve never been given directions using a tree on this side, other than a banyan tree. There are so many trees on the east side (but banyan trees stand out).