Rural Internet Access - Bell Fibe to the Rescue

June 1, 2012

We have the Internet! If you follow me on Twitter, this is old news, but I wanted to talk about it here, too.

Mike and I are online a lot. We like the Internet - it's magical. When we bought our house one of the first things we did was look into getting it to the house. And, well, we seemed to be in this no man's land. A little bubble in Springwater Township that couldn't get high speed access. Well, that's not entirely true...

Our options were...
  1. Dial up. <--- No thanks. I'd rather eat lead paint chips than listen to that noise and have to wait a zillion years for Young House Love to load. 
  2. Rocket Stick (in their various forms). <--- Money money money. $30 for 500 MB? We'd go through that in a week. 
  3. Satellite Internet, like Xplornet. <--- once again, money money money. 
We were excited when a company in Barrie claimed they could get us DSL for a reasonable price. We signed up, paid our dues...but nothing worked. The real kicker? Our phone line went out as a result and we had to get a guy from Bell to come fix it (which somehow took 3 days?). We got our money back.

Discouraged, we kind of gave up. At the time I didn't have an iPhone, but Mike's plan is great and offers him 6GB of data. So we took turns on his phone, or tethering to the laptop, doing our thing. There was the odd time that we went over his data and really paid for it. Last year I got my own iPhone, but the plans available we not nearly as good, and I was stuck with 1GB of data which I regularly went over - as a result of me beginning this blog.

But now, a year or so later...Bell has come out with some new fangled Internet thing - Bell Fibe Internet. Don't ask me what it means, because I don't know.  The website claimed it was available in our area. Mike signed us up but we were definitely skeptical about whether it would work or not, based on our previous experience with Bell/DSL.

Bell sent us what we needed in the mail, and Mike got down to setting it up right away. And right away, we were instantly disappointed. Our download speed was ringing in at a whopping 0.11 Mbps, when Bell claims that Fibe should be capable of 5 Mbps to 175 Mbps. Essentially, our new fangled lightening speed Internet was slower than dial up. Boo-urns.

We both fall firmly into the procrastination camp of people, and in this case I'm pretty thankful. We didn't disconnect and send it back. We just let it be. It was working fine for text based things, and I was content for a little while to give my data a breather and just catch up on my blogs in Google Reader - no real browsing going on. We had the intention of sending it back, though, because the cost was too high for that slow of a connection. But then on Wednesday...BAM! Our speed had jumped up to just under 5 Mbps.

This is fast enough to watch Netflix! And after setting it up on my Wii, I celebrated by watching two movies back to back last night.

On a more serious note, I hope this opens doors for more rural Ontario communities. There are so, so many where the only access to high speed internet is through a library or some other institution outside the home - if the community is lucky enough to have such a place. Putting on my "work" hat for a moment...access to high speed internet opens up possibilities for increasing access to education in many communities across Ontario. Where commuting to a post secondary institution isn't feasible, whether it's because of costs or family commitments, online learning may now be an option. And in a province where it's estimated that over two thirds of new jobs will require some form of post secondary education, increasing access to education has never been more important.

Did you like this post? Click here to subscribe and be notified of new posts. You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Blog Design by Nudge Media Design | Powered by Blogger