Morden/Winkler, MB. Upgrade Timelines and other questions.

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  • Updated 11 months ago
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To start off with, here is some information we know. 


We have fiber-optic backhaul access in Morden/Winkler Manitoba.  
Some business and residential locations have access to the fiber network already, I myself am currently enjoying a 150Mbit connection.

The CRTC has ruled that a connection speed of 50Mbit down and 10Mbit up are now classified as a "basic telecom service", they are funding $750,000,000 towards making this a reality over the next 5 years. (This includes all locations, not just towns and cities. Every remote farm yard, every end of the road residence.)

I feel largely safe in saying that these speed requirements will not be met over existing copper lines through the existing "DSL" service, it is technically improbable.  Unless maybe in a very limited application in hard to reach locations once much of the service load and line congestion has been taken up by the fiber network.


Now, I understand that business is business, the main goal of any business is to turn a profit, but at this point it has become quite ridiculous. By all evidence and lack of infrastructure upgrades (to areas with already aging copper service) over the last (40-60?) years, MTS has quite assuredly dedicated itself to providing the absolute minimum service to this area until forced to change by legislation or competition.   

(I’m hoping I can hold myself to making this my only opinion based attack against MTS’s business practices.)


Due to Morden and Winkler’s proximity to one another (approximately 9km), they may as well be considered as a single area in regards to providing a telecom service.  

When you take into account that (as far as I know and correct me if I am wrong) the main backhaul for the fiber network in this area is provided from Manitoba Hydro's fiber trunk, accessed between both "cities" at Hydro's office, this fact becomes doubly true.

That makes the Morden/Winkler area the 3rd largest population center in the province (in regards to proving these services), and most of the area has service so abysmal, that soon it will no longer even be classified as "high speed internet".  



Now on to the questions... firstly in general, when will this all change?

What is the estimated timeline on having the "urban" areas of both cities with access to fiber at a 99% hook up rate?

What is the hard finish date on having these requirements met?

What are the estimated and hard finish dates for bringing these services to the more distant rural homes in this area (within 20 km)?

Has the CRTC imposed a timeline in which you will be penalized if you have not provided these services?

Can you provide me with a map, or at the very least a general listing of which areas of Morden/Winkler have been provided with fiber access?



As a final note, it has recently been announced that Winkler will be funding a private company "Valley Fiber" to services all civic buildings within the city with internet speeds of 1Gbps. Extended goals will be to make this the majority internet provider for the city.  

These are the kinds of speeds we should be offered, it is technically feasible to do so and the only reason to hinder growth of this sort is greed.

Please step up your game, the internet is a part of almost everything with do in our modern society.  Standing in the way of this growth hinders us as a community, it hinders us a province, and it hinders us a country on the world stage.  I am looking forward to having these questions answered without evasion or vagueness.

Thank you in advance for your time.
Justin Bergman

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Justin Bergman

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Posted 1 year ago

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Absolutely! In my store there are many many days where I'm not even able to play music because our internet connection just can't keep up! We'd like answers please!
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Daniel Kroeker

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Well written and very valid. Thanks Mr. Bergman
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CoryB, Champion

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Let's try to address some of the questions we can answer:

The funding from the CRTC you mention is evenly split over the five year period. It is also almost exclusively for upgrading backhuals which you said is already in place for Winkler so they are unlikely to be able to access the grant.

The 50/10 speed is just a target currently. The ruling had two general time frames - 5 years to get 90% of Canadians up from the current 82% then an additional 10 years to address the remaining 10%. The good news is most of Winkler will likely fall in the first five years, or by the end of 2021.

In terms of where MTS currently offers fiber in Winkler the only public information is on the service lookup tool. It's not the map format you are looking for but with work you can plot it onto on.

Now on the Valley Fiber front, they definitely complicates the issues. The CRTC ruling on broadband as a basic service is that ONE provider offers that speed, for Winkler that will likely be Valley Fiber. There is a separate ruling against Bell, who will own MTS next week, on wholesale access to fiber, specifically a company called TekSavvy. Bell MTS could likely use that ruling to strong arm wholesale access to Valley Fiber's infrastructure. Also there is currently no penalties attached to missing the 50/10 targets so it's a big game of wait and see.

As things stand right now there is little reason for MTS to sink money into upgrades for Winkler . As always I am just a customer and don't speak for MTS or Bell.
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Nimra Ppork

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I couldn't agree with this more! I know for a fact that Crown Utilities buried some fiber optic line in Morden at the end of 2015. It's so frustrating to know it's there but not being offered.
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Jeremy, Official Rep

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This is a very well written post, thank you Justin.  Unfortunately I can't really comment on time lines, planning or anything along those lines (way above my pay grade) however one thing I would like to make note of is that having the fiber cables in place is only a small piece of the puzzle.  Getting the equipment in place to manage the connections and disperse it to a community can still take a significant amount of time, construction and money to implement.  I can understand the frustration when services aren't quite up to snuff, and it seems like a better solution is just sitting there in the ground waiting to be used, but unfortunately it's not really that simple.  I agree some answers would be nice and I'll be sure to pass this up the chain to see if we can get some answers for you, but I just think it's important to note that even if there is a plan to use that existing fiber, it may still take time to construct and implement everything required to actually roll it out.
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Kevin Loewen

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The problem is that for too long this area was treated like a goldmine that MTS could take profit from without putting in anything in return to upgrade services because they basically have a Monopoly. I've worked in northern reserve communities where the only access to the reserve is to fly in or use a winter ice road and their community has no land lines but a huge radio tower and the internet speeds for those 2000 people are 5x what a typical Winkler resident experiences. That tells me that MTS lack of proper internet service is just plain GREED. It has nothing to do with ability to provide a service.
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CoryB, Champion

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It is likely worth adding that MTS has been working on targeted network improvements especially in larger rural communities. Those improvements though are more to address network congestion rather than increase the maximum speed. In these case congestion is actually to the point it is also limiting speed.
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Tennille, Social Media Coordinator

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If you take a look at this earlier post there is a post from one of our employees providing some feedback, he also mentions he'll update the post with updates. 

https://community.mts.ca/mts/topics/fion-in-winkler
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Kevin Loewen

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Ya keep making excuses. As soon as valley fiber steps in to fill the role that MTS should have been working to fill for the last two decades MTS will have next to no customers in the area. That is unless MTS also manages to screw over Valley Fiber by forcing low cost access to a privately funded network that should have been put in place years ago using the tens of millions of dollars of profit MTS has taken from this area. The fact that our community has been shafted for so long that a small, newly formed private company with a 31 year old CEO needed to step in and make a business plan to solve the problem and ask members of the community and the city for 10 million dollars is really sad. Hang your head in shame MTS.
(Edited)
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Preta

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The business structure that Valley Fiber is proposing is hugely questionable.  The CEO uses words like feasible when describing his plan, yet fails to mention the huge risk that is involved.  There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before I would put faith in Valley Fiber.  Especially if planning to invest.  Hooking up 5000 homes for a company with no experience for even $15 million doesn't make sense.  Especially considering Winnipeg Free Press are quoting him as saying it's a fully active network?  Dedicated Gigabit to each home?  5000 active fiber lines....  just the amount of splicing involved would cost a couple million, the cost to put in into the ground will be extreme.

I would ask how much the CEO and the CFO has invested themselves into this project.  Or are they just hoping to reap from the community making the risky investment.  If it were setup as an actual community company then it may make more sense.
(Edited)
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CoryB, Champion

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I have my doubts on Valley Fiber. My bet is they get the backbone in place and hook up all the town offices as promised but run out of cash before they get the 5000 homes done. The upside if they managed to land an early connecting communities grant for the backbone work they may be able to catch the tail end for the last mile hooking up homes. That said if they pull off what they have promised for the quoted price some other rural communities should give those folks a call...
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Preta

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Would be great if they can pull it off.  I'm not sure how the connecting communities program works.  But from what I've read Valley Fiber isn't going to provide internet, but instead is building the infrastructure for other ISP's to use.  Which is interesting as both the guys in the Valley Fiber article are also mentioned in articles about a different ISP in that area called VISP.  I find that a bit odd.

Perhaps MTS should invest?  Give them some solid infrastructure.  But I have a feeling they wouldn't be welcome to invest.
(Edited)
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CoryB, Champion

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Even if Valley Fiber pulls off a miracle and gets Winkler fully wired up where is the next hop for that traffic?

The other thing I see them talk about is network congestion on services in Winnipeg. The challenge is as home network connections grow so do customers exceptions. So instead of streaming Netflix at 720p and being happy you suddenly have people running those streams at 4k using up more bandwidth cause you told them they had the fastest network in Canada.

When huge global companies like Google struggle to roll out fiber to the end customers and national players like Bell are reluctant to make that same move you know there is more to the story. Valley Fiber is definitely one to watch either way.

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Preta

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Yea I'm seriously taking it with a grain of salt.  Been researching these guys and their other company.  Seem to say a lot to get people on board.  I was able to speak to a couple of people in the community that I know through business, and supposedly they are all talk.  They said they were going to get almost all of Winkler with the water tower.  Yet both people I spoke to were unable to get service due to trees (surprise!)  Found a deleted article that states their projected coverage.  They say it's maybe half of what they claimed.  If that's the kind of "research" they are doing.  Good luck!  https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:q_XR4kIi5FAJ:https://www.pembinavalleyonline.c...