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Calyx Institute Internet - Unlimited hotspot


shhQuiet

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When I was staying at DeSoto State Park, I met a couple that were traveling in a SpaceCraft 5th wheel, pulled by a heavy-duty truck.  I was talking to them about their internet provider and they told me about Calyx Institute.  I have done quite a bit of research on this and thought I would provide a little info here for people that might be interested in mobile high-speed internet.

Disclaimer:  I have not yet received or tested the device, but I will update this thread to let everyone know my experience.  I am not connected with Calyx Institute in any way.

So, the interesting thing about this organization (I don't call them a "company") is that they are a non-profit.  If you make a donation, you will receive a WiFi hotspot device and a SIM that operates with the T-Mobile network "for free" for 12 months.  In fact, the company I work for even made a matching contribution to them when I provided my receipt.  They are based in New York as a registered charity.  If you are interested in learning more about their charity work, check out their website: https://calyxinstitute.org/

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The Calyx Institute's mission is to educate the public about privacy in digital communications and to develop tools that anyone can use to build "privacy by design" into their internet access. By developing encryption and anonymity tools that can help users maintain their privacy, we hope to make online security easier and more accessible for everyone online.

We are a non-profit education and research organization devoted to studying, testing and developing and implementing privacy technology and tools to promote free speech, free expression, civic engagement and privacy rights on the internet and in the mobile communications industry.

The Calyx Institute is a public charity, which is exempt from taxation by the IRS under §501(c)(3) and as such, contributions are tax
deductible by the donor to the extent provided by law. Our tax ID number is 27-2800937

 

I joined at the "sustainer" level, which will get me a 4G/5G Hotspot device and 1 year of service for a donation of $750.  Subsequent years of service require a donation of $500.  There are lower levels of membership that start at $500/$400.

They have been doing this since 2010, so I think they will be around for a while.  You can do your own research about the organization - I haven't found anything negative about them or anything that suggests they are not 100% legitimate.

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9 hours ago, shhQuiet said:

I joined at the "sustainer" level, which will get me a 4G/5G Hotspot device and 1 year of service for a donation of $750.  Subsequent years of service require a donation of $500.  There are lower levels of membership that start at $500/$400.

Interesting.  A "donation" of a specified amount gets you a hardware device and a  year of service. 

I do not recommend taking a charitable deduction for such a "donation" on  your income taxes. 

EDIT 2/02/24:  Given the IRS' determination of 501(c)(3) status, I stand corrected.

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Hull #1291

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11 minutes ago, Rivernerd said:

I do not recommend taking a charitable deduction for such a "donation" on  your income taxes. 

Everybody has to do what they think is best for themselves, for sure.  According to Calyx:

Quote

 

IRS determination

The Calyx Institute is registered and files an annual report with the Charities Bureau in the office of the New York State Attorney General. A copy of the annual report may be obtained, upon request, from the Institute at the address set forth on the Institute's website under "Contact Info and Directions", or from the Charities Bureau, New York State Attorney General, 120 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10271.

The Calyx Institute has been determined to be a public charity, which is exempt from taxation by the IRS under §501(c)(3) and such contributions will be tax deductible to the donor to the extent provided by law. Our tax ID number is 27-2800937.

You can view here a copy of our IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter for proof of our nonprofit status.

 

The link there has a copy of the IRS determination...

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It's a worthy cause.

Do you know where your caps are on 5g/4g lte on your free service? 

Tmobile still doesn't work for us on our camping property in North Carolina,  and it's disappointing.  We have a tmobile phone, a Verizon phone, and a Visible phone (cheap moto, cheap plan, uses Verizon towers) as backup.

Years ago, we had an Alltel, then Verizon jetpack, but gave it up when smartphones improved. My phone is my pocket computer.

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20 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Do you know where your caps are on 5g/4g lte on your free service? 

If you mean on the Calyx, there are no caps, it is unlimited.  I have AT&T on my phone and I've been using that as a hotspot, but the idea here is that between AT&T and T-Mobile, maybe one of them will have a signal.  Plus I want to have the Oliver with a more "permanent" hotspot so when I leave with my phone, it will continue to have a connection.  Ultimately, I may setup a security camera and be able to use my phone to check it while I'm out and about.

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That's a great idea. We e often thought about just hiding a cheap phone, cheap plan, and linking a camera or two. Leave the phone plugged into 12v, set charging at 85 per cent max to extend battery life, and, voila. Communication!

I asked, because most published plans have a cap on high speed data useage, even if "unlimited" and the user will get slowed down to 3g or lower, if the cap is hit. I have one on each of my plans, but only hit it once, when 6 people were logged onto my account as a hotspot , including a vr viewing device, which really gobbled my high speed data. It was fun to fly across the continents, virtually, though!

I'd suggest a second plan with Verizon or visible, vs att, in my experience.  ATT rarely gives us more connectivity than tmobile. I think they even have some tower sharing agreements, now.

Tmobile works great for us in many places, especially Europe and Australia, and many parts of Canada. Just, sadly not in the mountains of WNC. 

Thank you for sharing the info on Calyx. I think it will be of interest to many.

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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4 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Thank you for sharing the info on Calyx. I think it will be of interest to many.

Particularly now that we know the IRS has determined that "donations" are, in fact, deductible!

 

Hull #1291

Central Idaho

2022 Elite II

Tow Vehicle:  2019 Tundra Double Cab 4x4, 5.7L with tow package

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14 minutes ago, Rivernerd said:

Particularly now that we know the IRS has determined that "donations" are, in fact, deductible!

I'll leave that judgment to the tax professionals.  Not my wheelhouse.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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1 hour ago, SeaDawg said:

I'll leave that judgment to the tax professionals.  Not my wheelhouse.

@Rivernerd is a retired attorney. I suspect he knows what’s up. 

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I was initially looking at using Calyx as the provider for my Pepwave cellular router. But one limitation of the Calyx hotspot is that the card cannot be removed and used in another device. Well, it *can*, but it is not permitted. Some hot spots allow the card to be used elsewhere.

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This thread got me thinking. We use our Verizon tablet's hotspot for wifi when there's none available at the campground, and that usually works fine. But there have a been a few areas where Verizon coverage wasn't available, so we wanted a backup on another carrier for basics:  email, light browsing, etc. No need for another high-usage plan. 

The Solis line of hotspots now come with 1GB of free data per month for the life of the device. That's not a lot, but it's enough for 40 minutes daily of web browsing or 20 minutes daily of social media apps (source: https://3g.co.uk/guides/how-much-data-do-i-need). That should be plenty for our occasional needs. Also, any additional gigs you buy from Solis never expire, so there's no waste. The Solis devices work on both AT&T and T-Mobile here in the states (they choose the best available at your location), and they also work internationally. They're relatively slow connections (which shouldn't be an issue for our use) and additional data is relatively expensive, but we don't expect to buy much. Seems like a pretty good solution for a backup system. 

We just received our Solis Lite unit yesterday, so I'll do some testing soon. Here's a link to it on Amazon: 

SIMO Solis Lite 4G LTE WiFi Mobile Hotspot, Local & International Coverage Router, Multi-Carrier Access, No Contract or SIM Card Required, 10 Connected Devices, 1GB/Month Lifetime Data https://a.co/d/fOrM7Fv

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This is another situation where experience gives us an edge.

I don't care about "surfing the web," nor do I have to upload big files while camping, as working folks do.

Yet another situation where time camping (sometimes involving frustration) gives us an answer to what we truly "need," and what we just want. 

If I wanted total connectivity,  always, I'd get satellite, of some sort. I don't. But an emergency beacon, sure, when and if we're in the Yukon again.

For most places we camp, in the USA and Canada, one of our phones "usually " works. One GSM, one CDMA. Even a very weak signal gets a text out.

For emergency situations,  I would never rely on tmobile or att. Nor verizon, even though we get better coverage with them than tmobile, in most situations.  

@Steph and Dud B, with both verizon and att/tmobile, you're covered in most situations.  As are we.

Out in the hinterlands,beyond cell towers,  we'd need some sort of satellite sos.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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