Tuesday 16 August 2011

Tbaytel RIF Project for Algoma Complete

The Algoma District portion of the 4 year Tbaytel Regional In-Fill (RIF) project is now complete. Tbaytel activated the final Canopy fixed wireless equipment at the Goulais (Buttermilk) site on August 15, 2011.

Within the Algoma District, the RIF project resulted in the installation of new cell sites at Sanigra Lake, Michipicoten, Goulais River and Heyden as well as the installation of Canopy fixed wireless broadband (high speed Internet) hardware on the cell sites at Hawke Junction, Batchawana, Goulais River, Bellevue, Heyden and Searchmont.

The RIF project is a separate entity from the agreement between Tbaytel and Rogers to build a 3G/4G HSPA network overlay using the existing Tbaytel CDMA facilities including the new RIF sites. This project remains ongoing with number of sites still scheduled for upgrade.


The RIF project started on May 11, 2007 when the North West Ontario Innovation Centre (NWOIC) issued a public Request for Expression of Interest (EOI). ADnet championed the Algoma District interests throughout the project’s duration. The EOI conformed to the NOHFC guidelines for cellular coverage in effect at the time which stated King’s Highways in the area were the targeted coverage area.

The EOI asked interested vendors to submit outline proposals to provide increased cellular coverage along the Hwy 17 corridor from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie and broadband (high speed Internet) with a minimum of 1.5 mbps download[1] capability at designated locales[2] along the same corridor.

After a due diligence review which included input from ADnet, the NWOIC selected Tbaytel as the vendor of choice and submitted funding proposals to NOHFC and FedNor for financial backing to offset some of the project’s total $6.3 million cost.

NOFHC came on board the project on September 04, 2007 when they announced funding in the amount of $3.4 million conditional upon a Tbaytel contribution of $2.4 million and a FedNor contribution of $500 thousand. FedNor finally joined the project in the summer of 2008. The project total of $6.3 million broke down into $5.2 million for cellular and $1.1 million for broadband (high speed Internet).

[1] This was the speed the CRTC/FedNor/NOHFC used at the time to define broadband (high speed) Internet. It is now generally accepted that the target speed should be 4 Mbps download. The systems installed under the RIF have this capability.

[2] The principal criteria were population density and broadband (high speed) Internet alternatives.

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