A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rural High-Speed at the 150: A Schism or Controlled Marketing?

photo: Broken phones by esteban, via flickr

I read an article this week that got me a little frustrated. To summarize, the residents of 150 Mile House have organized a petition to convince Telus (our ILEC) to provide high-speed service. They describe a chicken-and-egg situation, where subscribers will not pay for a low-speed ISP, and Telus doesn't have enough subscribers to justify the infrastructure upgrade. (Incidentally, they also mention Horsefly as also suffering from a critical mass.)

At no point do they mention the NetworkBC programme, or BCWireless (our ISP). I mentioned it before as it allowed us to move here. Availability of high-speed was a stipulation on our purchase offer, as my job depends on it.

This, to me, is probably just a righthand-lefthand schism. Telus, as a partner in the programme, should have pointed out that BCWireless has excellent coverage in Horsefly (albeit line-of-sight only) and could possibly roll out similarly in 150 Mile House. (I've heard recently that another ISP is offering a similar service in Big Lake.)

However, a suspicion has arisen in me. BCWireless's web site is a little out of date, and indicates that a 150 Mile House roll-out is planned. However, if you view the more current PDF, that no longer appears to be the case.

But it seems the infrastructure's there: Telus's own published roll-out schedule states this has already occured, as does their interactive-but-poorly-designed map.

As I understand it, the NetworkBC agreement assured that participants would not have to worry about competing against Telus. With no other ISP listed, is Telus now the only potential high-speed ISP for the 150?

To possibly reinforce this suspicion, let's considerer that Telus is also a wireless vendor who would happily provide users with higher-cost-to-the-subscriber/lower-cost-to-the-vendor (no last-mile worries) wireless high-speed. Telus Mobility has excellent coverage throughout the Hwy 97 corridor, which is where 150 Mile House lies.

Therefore, I believe that although it's far more likely Telus' PR people don't know what is actually happening in the world of high-speed internet (or they would have happily touted how much they are helping), there's a possibility they are planning to roll out a residential wireless high-speed service to through Telus Mobility and aren't ready to talk about it.

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