Senior management from TBayTel attended the Regional Mayors Group (RMG) meeting in Wawa on Wednesday, 04 Nov 09. The team of Simone Laatu and Barry Streib touched on a number of issues raised by the mayors and other regional residents.
They centred their remarks on three main areas:
a. Cellular problems in specific communities;
b. The Regional Fill-in Project (RIF)
c. Future technology
TBayTel is very aware of recent service problems in Chapleau, Hornepayne and Manitouwadge. Ms. Laatu assured the RMG that the problem was not the cell site itself but rather the radio backhaul links that provide the connectivity from the individual cell site to the switching centre in Thunder Bay. The current system is being upgraded as part of the RIF. There is major rebuild in the works for the Manitouwadge site as a result of TBayTel’s involvement with medical IT network services.
A secondary issue is the different hardware that is installed at various points in the network. Much of the eastern part of the TBayTel cellular network was installed by Superior Wireless Inc (SWI) prior to their acquisition by TBayTel. This resulted in the existence of two different hardware platforms, which in turn resulted in differences in how some long distance calls are handled at the handset level. The hardware difference also causes issues with the customer billing system. TBayTel is actively rationalizing all sites to a single hardware manufacturer.
The RIF program covers all parts of the TBayTel network. The project involves the establishment of new cellular sites, wireless broadband (high speed Internet) and a major upgrade to the backhaul systems as noted above. The program concentrates on the King’s highways corridors and it partially funded by NOHFC and FedNor. It is anticipate that most of the backhaul work will be completed in the Algoma District by the end of 2009 and customers should notice the difference in call quality for the troubled areas.
TBayTel assured the mayors that they were aware of the recent changes in the Bell Mobility and Telus wireless networks and were developing plans that would address the issue. They assured the Group that the current network would be in place for the foreseeable future but that in the long term a different technical solution might be developed.