FAQ: Satellite

Which NOB satellite services work in Mexico?

(Tip: NOB=North of Border)

US based services from Dish and DirecTV work in Mexico, although reception can be spotty. Shaw satellite from Canada works well in Mexico, but only their ‘old’ satellite. Many expats bring down Shaw satellite dishes from Canada (or buy them from bootleggers in Mexico) so they can have access to English language programming from back home. However, this is a short lived solution. Shaw launched a new satellite several years ago and has already announced that when all their digital channels are moved over to it, they will retire that satellite. Why is that significant? Because the old satellite has a very broad signal “footprint” that extends all the way into Mexico, making this remote viewing possible. But the new satellite is lower powered and uses a “shaped footprint” that limits the geographical area covered, to just a few miles over the Canada/USA border. When the old satellite is retired, there will be no more Shaw signal in Mexico.

Which Mexican satellite services are best?

SkyTV is good, but doesn’t have many English language channels. The Dish network also provides service in Mexico and is quite popular.

Can I get internet access through satellite?

It is possible to obtain satellite internet service. In the early days this was a one way service (download only) and you had to also have a phone line with modem for the upward direction. Satellites today are capable of two way communications but the upload speeds are still pretty abysmal. Even downloads can be quite variable, affected by factors such as weather. In a rainstorm it’s not unusual for satellite service to be unusable. Still, for those who live off the grid or in areas without other options, it’s good to know that satellite services exist.