For an extra $25/month you can get valley wide access from SWBell - utilizing Harlingen and Weslaco access numbers with no extra charge.
Stan and Adrian have opened up "internet Island" - across the street from Jake's. Superfast net access available on 3 computers.
This week I put on my "WebWiz" hat and answer some of the most frequently asked internet-related questions I have been receiving.
Public Net Access
In a perfect world, everyone who comes to South Padre Island would be able to discard their cares and work-related concerns before ever crossing the causeway and thus would have no need for net access while here.
But here in the real world, real people need reliable net access for lots of reasons, even while on vacation. Until very recently, you were pretty much out of luck here on SPI if you weren't lugging around a laptop.
I am happy to report that public internet access is rapidly becoming more available since I last addressed this topic, and if you are a visitor (or computer-challenged local) who needs just a few minutes to check the ol' e-mailbox or stock portfolio, it is getting easier to find a means of doing so. Here is what a cursory search turned up:
Bahia Mar Resort - This hotel is now offering 24/7 net access to its guests via a lobby computer. First 15 minutes are free, the next 15 min. will cost you $5.00. The computer is fully equipped with fax capabilities, scanner and printer - making the Bahia Mar your "office away from office."
Padre Island Rentals - Offers free 24/7 net access to its rental customers in the office lobby. This computer is connected via a super-fast wireless LAN connection (more on this below.)
Island Traders Coffee Pub - You will want to browse the beverage menu and bookshelves as well as the web in this enigmatic little joint. True internet for the masses here, available to anyone who walks in the door and plops down $6.00/hour for the privilege. (For comparison purposes, I would like to mention that I have paid 3 times that in less friendly locations -- and it was worth every penny.)
Dial Up Service Providers
If you are measuring your visit in months, spend lots of time on the Island, or actually live here, you may already be looking into the possibilities of setting up your own local dial up account if you don't have one already. Generally speaking, any service (and there are many, including AT&T, aol, and swbell, ies.net, acnet) that offers a Brownsville number is a good choice. However, I recently got a call from a condo owner who was informed by the property manager that too many residents were using the complex phone system for internet access and that henceforth she would be charged .35/minute for every call to Brownsville.
Anyone who finds themselves in this sort of position - as well as full-time residents and local businesses who spend a lot of time utilizing the net - should be aware that there is another option here. Seneca Communications has moved to the Island and is now offering wireless LAN internet service. The monthly fee is about twice the cost of a typical dial up account and involves some equipment installation, but the speeds that can be attained using this service will literally knock your socks off (which you should not be wearing anyway as they are of course illegal on SPI) - up to 100 times faster than a standard phone connection and almost twice as fast as a T-1 -- and it frees up a phone line to boot. My friends in Dallas are drooling over this service - we are really lucky to have it here. For more information, visit the Seneca web-site at http://www.senecacom.net/
SPIonline.com - Whether you are a visitor or a local, this site was designed with you in mind. Message boards on a variety of SPI-related topics, sandy feet's digital photo album, an e-mail directory and jillions of links to all things Padre. (If your SPI site is not linked from it, I want to hear from you.) While you're there, don't forget to cast your vote in one of my non-scientific just-for-fun polls; the latest addresses the controversial new bridge proposal. (Note, the most popular bartender poll is still up and running. Liz from Kelly's is marching up the ranks and her adoring hubby Chris has nothing to do with it. Really.) Vote today and vote often at http://spionline.com/polls.html
weatherplanner.com - truly an amazing site. Here you will find location-specific predictions for weather weeks, months, even a year in advance... and they claim 83% accuracy. The good news is that is supposed to be dry and sunny on my birthday next Nov. The bad news is the local prediction for May 16: "A high probability of a major weather event occurring: the worst weather for the particular season at the particular location. The possible conditions include high winds, hail, severe thunderstorms, lightning, flooding, tornadoes...."
Oh no. Not again.
There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (firstname.lastname@example.org). Visit my web-site (http://sandyfeet.com) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and lots of other cool South Padre Island stuff.
Sandy Asks: At long last -- a brand new poll! How many of you locals-who-ought-to-know-better got caught in the scenic loop to Charlie's route during Texas week? Yeah, well me too. I want to hear what you thought about the new traffic control plan. Express yourself today at .