Why is Internet more expensive in the rural areas of Canada?

Why is Internet more expensive in the rural areas of Canada?

This is a great question, and there is an easy comparison to show this.

To bring fast reliable broadband speeds to rural areas, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must use point to point spectrum licensed from ISED (Innovation, Science, and Economic Development) – which is the federal government jurisdiction.

  • In the USA, a point to point link has a cost of $610 for TEN years.
  • In Canada, the same point to point link has a cost of $2,400 PER YEAR.

Yes, you read that right! The USA is $610 while Canada ISPs pay a cost of $24,000 – for those 10 years!!

That is 4,000% higher rates that we are paying in Canada, and that is also a major factor for cellular telephones too.   Wonder why our cellular costs are higher?  Similar rules apply –  there is also another factor, which is density of people.  There is 10x the population in the USA than there is in Canada, plus Canada has much more land area to cover.

For example, in Canada, there is no difference in the cost model for operating in rural Manitoba with 200 people per square mile or operating in downtown Winnipeg with 4000 people per square mile. 

If there is a cost of $2,400 spread across 200 people that is $12 per person – but with a higher density of 4000 people, then the cost drops to $0.60.  Yes, that is 200x more expensive to operate in rural Manitoba than Osborne village for this example – and why there is lower cost Internet in Winnipeg or Steinbach than there is outside of Petersfield or Starbuck.

It is economics.  If there are less people but higher costs, that equates to all around higher costs for people. 

Can High Speed Crow help with my cell phone coverage at my home or office?

Can High Speed Crow help with my cell phone coverage at my home or office?

Yes!!  We have a solution for that.  We heard from many customers their cell phone on one side of their house becomes long distance to call their neighbor, or their office is like a big tin can.  There is an option for “Enable WiFi Calling” for your cell phone.

There is no additional cost to you for this option from the phone company, but you will need to have a quality WiFi router – preferably with 802.11ac features.  We have tested this feature on combinations of Android and Apple platforms and the results are very good.  See our previous blog on routers for more information on that.

Some of the places our customers had the best improvements to use this is in Garson, Petersfield, Headingley and even by Oak Point Hwy or places in Transcona – especially in basements, or metal clad workshops. 

For your convenience, we have provided the links below by the 3 major carriers for information, but our friendly team is always available to answer any questions you may have.

  1. Telus
  2. Rogers
  3. Bell

Happy Calling!

The cold weather is here and so is the time for binge watching and gaming.

The cold weather is here and so is the time for binge watching and gaming.

With the holidays out of the way, the new activity is streaming video on your new smart TV while your kids are gaming online.  The only problem is – bandwidth capacity!  It is a simple subject, with more complicated answers.

Video is a hog for bandwidth.  Thankfully, new codecs (compression) is helping reduce what is needed.  Unfortunately, online games are sensitive to lag – think of traffic jams.  While watching a service such as Netflix, it will adjust and most people won’t notice, but with online gaming, even a 1 second lag will be noticed.

For comparison, a game like Call of Duty can use 40MB per hour, and Netflix is 1200MB per hour.  What is more important – speed or latency?  It depends on what you are doing.

In a household where more than one person streams their favorite shows combined with online gaming and tablets/smart phones, we can say the average family has doubled – or tripled – their bandwidth needs in the past year.  

We are seeing an increasing number of households backup all their iPhone pictures to the iCloud, stream from Spotify and Netflix, teenagers at home streaming 4pm to 11pm, and especially online gamers increased their requirements.

What about when you want to upgrade your phone or upload a terabyte of data as you transfer devices?  This is a unique situation, and rest assured we are looking into creating hotspots with 500Mb to 1Gb of upload and download capability.

Why didn’t someone install fiber down my road already?

Why didn’t someone install fiber down my road already?

Great question and one that we get asked frequently!  The reality is the climate we live in dictates what is possible.  Installation of fiber through populated areas requires directional drilling, which uses water, and when winter arrives there are several problems. 

Reality of Manitoba Winters  – We have 7 hours of daylight instead of 16 hours.  Water freezes, ground freezes, and people get frostbite.  Vehicles run all day long, equipment freezes overnight.  So the race is on to get as much as possible completed from mid-April to mid-Dec.  However, everyone else installing water, power, gas or telecommunications also encounters the same problem.

Installing fiber is also very labor intensive, anything from the initial plans to the inventory of parts and then the scheduling of crews plus maintenance of machines.  And that is before we get started!  Other tasks like splicing fiber and setting vaults requires careful placement and updating documentation. 

Once all that is completed, then the onboarding of customers takes place.  That includes the house side stitching and fiber installation into houses plus the additional network monitoring per customer.

After we install fiber, for the next two years we return to the vaults to ensure they are settled correctly and fit with the surrounding neighborhood.

Installing fiber makes wireless look easy!

What do I get for my tech savvy friend for Christmas?

What do I get for my tech savvy friend for Christmas?

With the holiday season upon us, panic sets in because finding that unique gift for someone special can be challenging. With all of the latest gadgets a few stand above the rest.

The first one is a Home Assistant – Google Home or Amazon Alexa are two of them…But what if your special someone already has one? Well, the next answer is a related smart gadget, a switch, outlet, color changing LED light bulb, an appliance, or even a remote control. For the person that enjoys evenings outdoors on a patio, there is LED strip lighting and various colors. Add a smart outlet, and they can program the light strip to turn on/off with a sunset time, or as needed from a phone. Other items becoming popular are automatic sprinklers connected via WiFi for added efficiency.

My those family and friends who may not be tech-savvy, an Amazon Show may be the way to go. You can ask Alexa questions, ask for video (Prime), or can do a video call. When traveling, you can drop in with a video call and can do it with simple WiFi.

At other times, it is streaming music and you can even put a few special dates into a calendar for them as reminders. These devices are much more than asking the weather – you can ask for a synopsis of a movie, and get movie times.

The most basic of Amazon Alexa is the dot, and it is an affordable $35. The echo is much better sounding but it is $150, and the Show with an 11” screen is an eye-watering $300.

No matter what you decide to get them, they are sure to smile, because at the end of the day it really is the thought that counts.

Bryan King, President, High Speed Crow

Is it time to upgrade your router?

Is it time to upgrade your router?

A common misconception is a router lasts forever. It is electronic, no moving parts, why should I upgrade?

Ten years ago, we would agree. Basic WiFi was all that was needed, and a household had maybe 3 devices on WiFi. People had a single desktop wired up to the router. We see 7-10-year-old routers that will do at most 25Mbs, and are sensitive to interference which creates high latency or even periodic disconnections.

Today, average homes with 4 people have over 30 devices. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, NEST thermostats, Amazon Alexa, Chromecast, smart watches, gaming consoles, smart TV, printers, cameras, and even robot vacuums.

The increase in the number of WiFi devices creates more challenges, but especially the need to have WiFi in every corner of your home, including the basement or 2nd floor, maybe even in the garage. And then there is the newer 802.11ac standard using 5GHz.

Many routers have “repeaters” which will help propagate the signal from your main router location. A great feature is the ability to add a second network of “guest” and leave it posted where visitors can see it and easily connect. Most newer cell phones have 5GHz – but this is different from the newest 5G cellular services you may read about.

What is 5G all about?

What is 5G all about?

There is the 5GHz WiFi standard, and there is the 5G for cellular networks – these are as different as planes and trains.  Each has its purpose, for various situations.

The 5GHz WiFi standard, known as 802.11ac, can deliver faster speeds than previous 2.4GHz WiFI but is targeted for inside your home and that range.  It is used in other situations, but that will be another article.

The Cellular 5G is the new generation following 4G (LTE/WiMax).  It is targeted for densely populated areas such as cities and it has significant data throughput capabilities.

What does this do for the average person in Manitoba?  It is a balance between economics, population density, and capabilities.

Deployment of the new 5G systems is very expensive, and the intention was not an increase in coverage but rather the number of active devices and the capacity required to support it.  The target audience is dense areas because that is the area that can support the expensive upgrades.  These areas have significantly higher usage and require the additional capacity.  For comparison, think of Costco and 7-11.  If you needed a pack of 2 batteries, it is $8 at 7-11 and Costco doesn’t sell just two but you can get 24 for a little more than $20.  In the dense cities areas, there will be a Costco.  If you live in Dugald or Petersfield it is unlikely the population can support a Costco anytime soon.

So with 5G and all the hype – it is real technology, it does work, there are rollouts happening around the world, BUT it is destined for the most dense of areas.  Over time, technology will catch up.  In the interim, make use of your WiFi.