Slow dsl infrastructure with no signs of upgrade Pinawa MB

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Hello, I am looking for some straight answers. For both business and personal use, I am finding the internet services in Pinawa to be exceedingly slow (5mbps down, 0.5 mbps up... if there's a blue moon in the sky and a bearded man is walking on water - realistically, I know the CRTC allows for this to go down to around 1.25mbps down/ 0.125mbps up). I am a reasonably experienced guy in IT/networking and know the following:

1. The copper infrastructure in Pinawa is showing its age (I have spoken with MTS techs who have personally told me that the wires are disintegrating in many areas). This is causing internet that is already slow to start with, to slow down in some cases, to be worse than dial up.
2. There is in fact, a fiber optic line running into the MTS building on Burrows, which has conduit running the entire length of the main road in town (and is being used for a fiber optic line to a business center in town at 100mbps symmetrical committed).
3. The infrastructure in the building was upgraded to 10gbps hardware.

Which brings me to the following questions and comments:
1. Every time I have asked MTS representatives for their plan to upgrade the speed in town, they dodge the question. I would like to know how, and when MTS plans to actually provide houses with new and faster lines to the houses. Whether its FTTH, FTTC, wireless, etc, I would like to know.
2. An upgrade to 10gbps hardware is all fine and dandy, but just because you have a bigger pipe coming in and out, it doesn't change the fact that each home is using a phone line that peaks at 5mbps. So far, this indicates to me that the plan is to add on more people at 5mbps, rather than increasing the per home speed.
3. I have had 2 MTS technicians working outside tell me now that you have absolutely no plan on providing faster connections to the homes. "They dont see any money to be made here", gee, that makes me feel like a valued customer? Pretty interesting to hear that from employees, isn't it?

Now, lets talk business issues while we're at it. Everyone in town already knows that $63.95 a month is a lot for a DSL connection with a dynamic IP and only 5mbps of asymmetrical throughput, but what do we have for business?
1. The same speeds (maybe 1mbps faster at best) but more expensive.
2. A complete unwillingness to explore options such as bonded internet. We found another company to do what MTS was unwilling to, all while piggybacking of the MTS DSL. Yep.
3. When I asked to speak about business options, I was given the run around until finally, someone passed me off to a person at "Elite Communications". I'm sorry, but passing me off to a sales person at an MTS partner, rather than the infrastructure/networking development members employed by MTS is kind of irritating.
4. The prices. The. Prices. Maybe someone misplaced the decimal, or added on an extra digit that shouldn't have been there. Have you reviewed this? These are the MOST ASTRONOMICAL prices I have ever seen. To have a fiber optic line run down a road approximately 400 meters through pre existing conduit, you want $18,000, an outrageous monthly price, AND an additional $460 just for the privilage of having fast internet in a place outside of Winnipeg?

Look at these pictures.
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Steven Simpson

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Posted 7 months ago

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JT

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There have been many posts that are similar here. The truth is that BellMTS won't upgrade any services unless it is to their financial benefit. I fell your pain, I to live in rural Manitoba and have service that is nearly unusable. I've been on this forum for a few years and the consistent theme is that you need to lobby your community to get BellMTS' attention. I have a fundamental issue with this so I moved to a small wireless provider and have service that is twice as good but for the same price. I would suggest you speak to the wireless providers in your area.
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CoryB, Champion

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Another reality is the usually longer distances between rural properties means the cost to provide service is higher is rural areas.

In terms of lobbying your local government for service improvements it isn't limited to BellMTS or even broadband. In the past when communities wanted electrical power, natural gas, community garbage collection, shared sewer and water, etc those all come through the local government.

Along those same lines if you hit up Youtube and find the Bowen Island Internet video presented to the CRTC broadband hearings it touches on the different options for that community in BC and engaging the local government/citizens is one of the choices.

End customers are unlikely to get the level of attention needed to actually bring about change however the leader of a local government such as a Reeve or a Mayor making those same calls gets more attention.

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Wally

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The excuse that it is not profitable to upgrade services is not true. If that were case, you wouldn't even have crappy DSL. Other ISP's are starting to provide vastly superior fiber services and LOS wireless internet services to many rural locations that aren't even towns. It would appear that mts/bell is only interested in providing services for cream of the crop areas in major cities. Where are the promised upgrades from the mts/ bell merging? Lobbying your community to get bell/ mts' attention is a complete waste of time. You are far better off of trying to get the attention of other ISP's that are far more willing to do actually something. There really needs to be laws against providing a service that is barely usable, charging full price for it and then even adding more customers to an already overburdened and congested network. Maybe then there would be some additional incentive to make long overdue upgrades in rural Manitoba.
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Wally

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Pretty sad that there have been 3 major fiber optic supply cables that cross the river and go to Pinawa for over 30 years already, but residents in town can only get crappy DSL services.
(Edited)
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Steven Simpson

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The logic that I should pay for the fiber line myself to be run 400 meters, and then pay for service that is 10 times the cost of any other competitor is laughable.
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JT

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Welcome to the big telcomm mentality.
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Steven Simpson

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I get the feeling this will be brushed under the rug again
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JT

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You're a smart man Steve. :)
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Jeremy, Official Rep

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Hi Steven,
I am going to be honest with you, I cannot answer your questions because honestly I don't know the answers.  This is what I do know however, when it comes to running fiber the laying of the cable is less than half of what is all needed to make it work, and even less than half of the cost.  There is also routing to the CO, the installation of the equipment in the CO to manage the connection, which would need to be increase with the additional connections.  Now I'm not saying it isn't possible, just that there is much more involved than some think.  The other thing to keep in mind is everyone wants an upgrade, everyone wants fiber, as it was made clear in this post alone.  Now no one is oblivious to the fact that this cost money, a lot of it, and upgrading the entire province all at once is simply not feasible.  To this end we do our best to upgrade communities as we can.  There have already been several rural communities that have gotten fiber upgrades and more to come, but it all takes time.  Sadly this is just more time than some are willing to wait, which is understandable.  I wish I could give you a time line or even a more direct answer, but even the best laid plans don't always come to fruition, and this is why we don't really advertise our network upgrade plans.  I really hope your area is to be upgraded soon, but I can't say for sure.  All I ask is to keep in mind all the communities that we have upgraded, such as The Pas, Thompson, Dauphin, Steinbach and many more, and see that we are trying to service our rural areas, just maybe not as quickly as some may like.
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Steven Simpson

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Hi Jeremy,
I am aware that not all of the cost comes from laying fiber. You are referring to the topic of a community being "on-net", correct? This was a discussion that came up in my dealings with the MTS partner who provided pricing.

In that discussion, it was mentioned that once the community is "on-net", the cost for additional fiber lines would go down. That is, the first person to implement fiber would take on the major cost of new equipment in the colo.

With that said, there already is one business who implemented a fiber line this year. By that logic, the community is now "on-net" from the standpoint of equipment required. Since the community is "on-net", the pricing should be lower, unless I was given false information?

What do you charge a business in Winnipeg? Am I to expect that the average business with a 1gbps connection is paying $11,000 a month? How about $689 for a 10mbps connection?

That's an... astoundingly expensive layer 2 connection to the Winnipeg CO. MHT doesn't charge these kinds of prices for transport to their colo?

I realize that upgrading an entire community takes time and money, however it shouldn't be this expensive month to month for a business that is willing to pay for the buried cable, especially considering the equipment for transport is already sitting there waiting to be used.
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Jeremy, Official Rep

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You are correct that a community that is "on-net" would be cheaper to have fiber working throughout the community, but that is dependent on what was put in place.  If only one business is currently being serviced then it is unlikely they have the line cards in place, or even the pedestals and racks available to service the whole community.  It all depends how much the put in place ahead of time.  In the end though you are right, the cost would be less for a town that at least has something in place then for somewhere that has nothing at all.  As for the cost of the service sadly that is not something I can really comment on as it's above my pay grade, what I can tell you is that business customers pay not only for the connection that is provided to their location but the support they receive from us.  There are several other components of a business plan that contribute to the cost such as prioritized appointment times, specialized technical support and in some cases they may even have a service level agreement that guarantees repair times.  I have dealt with some of these accounts myself over the years and a guaranteed response time within 24 hours can be worth a lot to some companies.
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Mike

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Join the Club. If you live in Rural Manitoba. BellMTS will never upgrade us unless there is a profitable gain its business. They will not build a multi million dollar fiber network in a small town with under 8000 people. They would never make there money back. the only way to get this some kind of a grant was given to them or the RM 'S got together and could pay half or more to start the network. Theres other ISPS who will take the rural market they already have been. Wireless internet has become much faster and more reliable then ever I am talking ISP S whouse the latest wireless equipment etc.  We have highspeed crow trying to expand more into there own fiber network. Commstream is there as well using the old cable system and netset dominating the Wireless game. to provide end user highspeed internet. It cost a average of $5000 to bring FTTH i live in small town with about 800 people yes we re still on the shitty dsl system. Maybe by 2030 we will see pair bonding 25meg in our small communities but by then the wireless companys will be offering a easy 50meg home package by then. BellMTS let the old DSL system go they haven't changed it much in the past 20 years. increasing bandwidth to towns was nice etc. But end user nothing was upgraded. 5-7meg dsl with laughable upload speeds will still be around for a long time. Hey at least our latency isn't to BAD! Rather see improvement first in a spotty cell network then increasing home internet speeds. Maybe Bell will start building more towers around manitoba  while Piggy backing on the hydro towers. (those co location fees are probably brutal). The MHT boys and Hydro boys sit there sucking on there fingers after they ate caviar for lunch.
(Edited)
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Andy, Employee

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Stevan, thank you for posting on the Bell MTS community forum.  I looked into the copper plant in Pinawa, it was buried in the late 90s and still has some ways to go for its operational life.  I have confirmed that there are sections of the community that have air core cable which can be vulnerable to water penetration but those can be repaired should a cable issue occur.  As Jeremy has already mentioned, BellMTS will overlay a community with fiber in the event the copper plant has exceeded its operational life and as conditions drive it.  However, this would not apply to Pinawa.  Would you be able to direct message us at community@bellmts.ca and inform us whom in BellMTS informed you of the poor copper plant in Pinawa?  If there is a legitimate issue in the area, we would like our Outside Plant group to address it as there seems to be a breakdown in communication between Field Services and Outside Plant.  If that is genuinely the case, BellMTS sincerely apologizes and will look into getting it addressed.

Also, while you are correct that Pinawa is an On-Net community.  It doesn’t mean the community is necessarily ready for a fiber deployment.  On-Net enables us to provide business Ethernet based broadband services.  As you have mentioned, in most cases, our customers on this platform purchase L2 ethernet services or dedicated internet.  While we are able to scale extremely high speed services (up to GigE), the take rate and volume is generally low.  This allows us to build transport that scales economically to the anticipated take rate.  The transport required to provide FTTH is generally a DWDM based system (as the HSI plans have much higher throughput and the take rate is nearly total), and unfortunately this would require a significant upgrade to the transport serving the entire Sunrise area.

That being said, I can corroborate that there are no immediate plans for upgrades to FTTH service in Pinawa.  I did however look into the eligibility tables for VDSL and ADSL2+.  The community definitely has the equipment to support both, but this would require in home equipment swap out.  I will take this to our Architecture and Marketing group to consider.  I will respond back to this thread with an update when it becomes available.

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Steven Simpson

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Hi Andy. Thank you for the answers. I wish that I had responses like that from others.

Regarding the technicians, they were two guys working on the street. I didn't catch their names, just chatted in passing.

If you implemented VDSL or ADSL2+ (VDSL being preferable, but obviously much more limited by distance), the community would certainly be much happier. That would likely provide everyone with the speed they need. I know that within my workplace, we would likely bond 3-4 vectored connections if they were available. We already bond 2 dsl lines and an LTE modem for approximately 110mbps up and 50 down.

It isn't so much that we want to pay the premium for a dedicated gateway, but will have to find one if nothing else becomes available, as the needs of our business and many others simply can't be met on ADSL.

I spoke with Erica (sales rep. for pinawa) - if you have any additional information for discussion, she has my number.

Best,
Steven
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Drydrop

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Well one of the problems is that Pinawa has now an abundance of ISP but a very limited and some say shrinking number of customers. Apparently at one point MTS made the initial investment to supply the town,...first with phone and later as ISP. Since all ISP's have to make money,...well with just a few customers who will (can) seriously invest new hardware? While my upload with MTS stays always under 0.5Mbps my download is always between 5 and 10Mbps. So the more customers MTS is loosing the better for me. Overall MTS is still the cheapest compared to the new competition in town. One thing I do not understand is the fibre optic issue. Down in the states or in new developments in BC I have seen fibre optics tacked to hydro poles all along  town who needs it is easy hooked up. And from a technical point of few you can use copper wire systems also up to 100Mbps which questions the fibre optic to local customer. ...still it would hook up to a service point which comes to town in fibre optic to allow for the needed bandwidth or capacity. By the way if the land line is down I use the hot spot from my phone (4-7Mbps).
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Drydrop

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Well with MTS my mobile phone plan has no Data Limit,...actually fairly cheap ;) The problem with other providers in Pinawa (the wireless ones) is that they limit the data to share it between other customers,...or even for businesses they limit the hours of the day,...great if you have to deal with international businesses in conference calls (sarcasm). Many providers did not even applied for the Canada150 funding because they would have to guaranty the 50/10 and not as ususal in the fine print "up to XXX Mbps. If the data hubs are not strong enough it does not matter if selected customers get high data rates once in a while. I see no reason to change away from MTS.
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Steven Simpson

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Cory, regarding the 100/40 with MIMO LTE:
- I had to place the setup on a roof with dual high gain yagi antennas and amplifiers
- The nearest tower is over 10km away through Whiteshell forest.

Steffen:
- That is a cell phone plan (not a strictly internet)
- "Unlimited" is stretching the truth quite a bit. After 15gb, they slow you down to practically unusable speeds.
- MTS offers LTE internet plans but they stop at 10gb. After which point, you are charged $15/GB. In this sense, Rogers is much more competitive.

Although I am trusting what I was told over multiple phone calls with the representatives, I can, and will, build a microwave link if I have to. It is extremely difficult to support two servers, 10-15 computers, and an HPBX system off of the currently available resources.
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Dave

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Let's see how Morden is doing it on a 5G network with 100mbps downloads and no data caps.  Perhaps this may be feasible for Pinawa and maybe even some Federal money would be available for infrastructure.  Time for our council to get in contact with Morden and find out all the fine details.  It's a wireless system so it should be cheaper to implement.
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CoryB, Champion

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Mordern's network needs to get some legs under it first to see how it does.

Sure the speeds are reportedly great for the few test users they have had but it needs to be tested under a real user load with everyone pushing Netflix streams, etc in prime time.

It is also said to be "free" but the reality is property taxes are paying for it.

The other question to shake our it will it not have caps once it has been abused to heck and the uplink cost Stricker shock hits the local council.

The final piece is the new network appears to be either unlicensed spectrum or microwave. Either way it is definitely not 5G.

Stepping beyond the technology the funding model is going to be one to look into.
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Drydrop

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Don't know what the situation was before for Morden,...but there is hardly any business case to make for Pinawa at this point. The market is to small and the customer base is already cut in tiny little chunks. The town of Morden has around 9000 people living there. Rule of thumb would be this makes for 1/3rd to 1/4 of potential customers so 2000-3000 customers. In many cases I was told an investment threshold would be around 1000 guaranteed customers. Pinawa has according to the census of 2016,....1331 people living there. So the rule of thumb would be again 330 to 450 customers,...most of which actually would stick with their supplier. Again there is no business case and for a community owned ISP it is to late and also would not make sense anymore.   One thing? why is everybody so hyped about wireless,...this comes with a lot of issues especially if you do not have line of sight. In many other towns internet comes via the hydro poles. Fast, fast and cheap installed. The same way we used to get our cable TV,...much less sensitive compared to wireless.
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Dave

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You're right it does need time to prove itself, but it's another option to look at.  It can't be too expensive to maintain because I can't see the town covering $100 per month per household.  Even if we had to pay for it, it still seems like better speeds for a lower price.  Only time will tell though.  But at this point with MTS unwilling to upgrade the town we have to look at other options.  The only other options available now are worse than what MTS offers.
(Edited)
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Drydrop

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...the town acted all over the place on this when they finally did. For the Cable Satellite Service from Shaw they made damn sure and where required to present 500 people/Households have signed up to get the special package deal. This was without any RFP whatsoever. To my information MTS and Bell would have been willing to offer competitive packages for TV (cable (MTS) other Sattelite Bell (bell including a local channel like Nepawa has,...like a channel 12 on steroids with live council meetings and so on)),...but well from a business approach this ensured Shaw to have a business case with enough customers.  So again the High speed internet option is as good as we have it right now,...unless there is a large customer group willing to side with a provider at once.
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CoryB, Champion

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It comes down to the will of your local government, likely an RM in Pinawa. If they are willing to front the costs like Morden is the subscriber base doesn't matter.
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Drydrop

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CoryB,...this is an honorable thought but it is not true,...anymore that is! It is simply to late for this. A few months back I talked to one of the local ISP providers because they were on the verge to cancel their project,...since they had heard the town was to do another thing on their own. I was told if the town would now damage their customer base significantly they would have to consider suing  the town for "damages" at this point. This discussion is basically over until a company like MTS is improving the system basically knowing that they will not necessarily be able to recoup the cost. Therefore I just stick with MTS !!! ...they do have the best pricing and at least at my home a very good internet connection.
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Dave

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I see your point although I don't see how a company can sue for loss of business in a free market system.  Also the fact that you consider 5MB a very good internet connection makes me believe you're satisfied with the slow speed.  Once you've used 100MB connection then you will see how bad your connection is in today's world.  I'm sticking with MTS for now because it happens to be the best available at the moment but if something better comes along I will change.
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Drydrop

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Dave you either have a free market or you have not. If the LGD or PCDC would become a serious actor in the market, supported or financed by tax payer money, potentially using the their influence as local law makers to persuade the residents to go with them (like with shaw satellite Service),...than you do not have a free market anymore,...in particular when you officially invited and encouraged private businesses to serve your market.  Let's not kid ourselves 5Mbps is not "very good" and especially the upload sucks,...but it still is the best and most affordable around. Many friends in the US have  50+MBps up and down even so they live not in large cities. The Digital Canada150 has failed for many, because many companies did at the end not touch the funds for many projects because it would have required them to guarantee a certain speed and not being able to sell the services as "up to XYZMbps",...so many of those new ISP networks are already under dimension'ised. They are build way to week to start with,...the bandwidth just is not there.  
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Dave

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When the LGD got involved with Shaw Direct then I think almost everyone in town benefitted.  We have good tv service at a very reasonable price.  So I'm all for the Government getting involved if it increases the service and lowers the price.  They did an excellent job securing Shaw Direct.  I guess only time will tell, but 5Mbps is not a decent speed in 2018.  It may not change for a long time but I keep hoping it will.
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Drydrop

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Dave, you got to be kidding me. If Government get involved they should do an RFP!!! ...and not sneak in any preferred entity. It was my understanding that the Shaw from door to door going, looked for many "as if they had to sign on, as required by the town". THAT IS JUST NOT THE PROPER WAY. And if we talk here about technical parameters and cost,...and I would focus on that!!!. Shaw was not the cheapest option at all, they were from a technical prospective not leading at all, the satellite coverage (signal strength) was not the best at all,...and we lost Channel 12 when we could have gotten a Channel 12 on steroids with Bell.  I guess an MTS option with the opportunity to bundle it all phone, cable, internet would have looked very, very attractive to me.
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Dave

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Personally I'm very happy with the satellite service I receive for the price I pay.  Perhaps a better deal may have been had but I don't use MTS phone service so a bundle may not have been the best option for me.  I don't need channel 12, I can find out what I want on the Internet.  As our elected officials they have the power to seek out what they consider to be the best deal for the community and I congratulate them for what I'm getting.  Not everyone may be happy, but I am.
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Drydrop

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They have the power to seek out the best deal,...after they have done an RFP!, like for the water meter. Simple fact they have not done an RFP, when they should have done one PERIOD. Channel 12 was the life line for many, many people especially the elderly in our community,...taking it away this way was disrespectful! Over the initial 5 year period, we are talking hundreds of dollar cheaper.
(Edited)
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CoryB, Champion

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The challenge with the 5/1 target and the current 50/10 is they are based on somegat dated information when they are established that will long be surpassed by the end date. For example 50/10 is insufficient to run the increasingly popular smart security cameras and is borderline on supporting 4K streaming services. That is today's technology demands. Never mind what people will be expecting in 10+ years time when it is still rolling out.

When all people did was browse static web pages and send email 5/1 was far more than sufficient.
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Drydrop

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The question is also what is considered to be "FAST INTERNET", you are 100% right with the 5/1 comment. 

·         FCC (USA) "BASIC Broadband" has data transmission speeds of at least 25 Mbit/s downstream (from the Internet to the user's computer) and 3 Mbit/s upstream.
·         CRTC(Canada) declares ‘high-speed’ 50 Mbit/s for downloads and 10 Mbit/s for uploads, and declares that by 2021 90% of households in Canada should be at this minimum level. As of 2015, 82% of Canadians had access to speeds of 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband services.

Slow internet speed and data transfer limitations are major barriers to improving business investment and business proliferation in Pinawa.  
Belonging to the 18% in Canada which have no access to at least 50Mbits is a serious obstacle to promote businesses to establish in Pinawa. The introduction of Netset into the Pinawa market would, even with their most expensive package not fulfill, the 25Mbits upload speed considered to be "Basic Broadband" by the FCC considered an international standard.

So again unless somebody risks a lot for serious "HIGH SPEED" Internet there is not much to happen.