A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rural High Speed, or not!

Regular readers, all two of you, will know that out here in the boonies we struggle with dialup internet at less than optimum speed often connecting at or below 24 Kbs. One would think then that I would jump at the chance to connect to high speed via wireless as soon as it became available. Make no mistake I checked it out but at current cost its totally out of my league!
What I find a little puzzling and somewhat annoying is that the “contracted” supplier, who presumably was the recipient of most of the $100,000 funding from the county AND the $500,000 from the province seems to be not fulfilling the promises made by the county when initiating this process. Most notably these two statements can be found on the Grey County web site “Rural residents and businesses of Grey County are currently under served by affordable high speed Internet.” and “ Community rollouts are designed to reduce customer’s installation time and cost with installation costs as low as $99.00. “.

Let us compare that with the latest from Everus. “Through a competitive process we chose a vendor to provide broadband service in the project area. The vendor chosen was Everus Communications.” Here is an extract from a recent communication and a summary of their pricing:-

“……. there has been a change to the contract pricing offered by Everus Communications. We are no longer able to offer the previous price promotion on a 3-year, 2 year or 1-year term. Due to company restructuring and high equipment costs we will now be requiring the installation costs covered up front ………. Our current pricing for a new installation is $499 (what happened to that $99 installation cost?) which includes the set-up of service, installation and wiring to your first PC or router. …………..We will require a payment for the testing (to see if it is even feasible at my location) by credit card for $49.99……..”

Then the monthly cost look like this:-
The basic connection “suitable for infrequent use, ie, email and web research medium file download/uploads, photos, etc very limited video and music sharing” is $49.99 a month ($600 a year plus tax) for a max speed of 1.5Mb/s.
The mid range connection “perfect for medium use large file downloads/uploads video and music sharing permitted excellent reliability” (so what does that make the basic connection, unreliable?) is $59.99 a month ($720 a year plus tax) for a max speed of 3.0Mb/s .
The “optimal service for heavy use supports the most demanding file download/upload requirements best video and music sharing” is $84.99 per month (over $1000 per year plus tax!) for max speed of 5.0 Mb/s
When you add the cost of a 40’ to 60’ tower that most rural users would have to install at their own cost in order to get “direct line of sight” to the nearest transmitter location then I for one do not call this affordable!

To then have to shell out $50 to get told whether or not a reliable connection can even be established from your location was, for me, the final insult. Seems I will be plodding along at my usual speed…… slowly!

1 comment:

mrG said...

I use GBTel.ca and have been quite happy with it; it's wireless, but very stable and reliable, pretty good uptime (better than my city friends get with DSL) and the speed is decent enough for practical purposes. Also, unlike that little USB scam Rogers and Bell are flogging, there's no bitcap, so you can listen to more than a few hours of internet radio -- you can listen all day if you want, even leave it on by accident with no worry.

The monthly cost is comparable to DSL (after the fine-print "for first three months" clause) and best of all, their promise for installation costs is solid: you pay a one-time fee and that includes your equipment, the antenna installation, and in my case even covered them having to replace a stack of radios and put up a new tower to get to me!

It's also two young guys, real people, something you don't get with other outfits, and they aren't out to soak us and vanish with the booty, they just want to build themselves a stable, long-term livelihood. That should be worth some consideration too :)