Tuesday 7 February 2017

Searchmont Bell Site Active

For those not yet aware of it, the Bell cell site located at the Searchmont Ski Resort is now active. It is configured to handle the full range of HSPA and LTE voice and data service utilizing the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 1900 Mhz bands.

The site has four sectors meaning antennae are optimized for four quadrants as opposed to the three sectors or omnidirectional used at many other northern sites. Quite often sites that provide highway coverage may only use two sectors along the direction of the highway. Obviously, the use of more sectors provides more efficient coverage.

The new Searchmont site also provides a full range of data hub service including the BWI5/WI5F through the Station Mall Bell store.


  1. After suffering with poor Tbaytel internet service for the past 7 years life is so much better with good internet service here in the Searchmont area.

  2. Hello,

    I am just wondering if you have any information about the Xplornet towers going up on St. Joseph Island. What kind of internet plans are they going to be providing?

    Thanks, very grateful for this site!

    1. Thanks for you kind words

      I was not aware that Xplornet was constructing towers on St. Joseph Island nor have I been able to gain any information from my usual sources. Can you provide more details about where, when and who is constructing the towers?

      I do know that after a short hiatus, Xplornet is again signing up satellite customers in Northern Ontario using the new EchoStar XIX successfully launched on December 18, 2016. They are claiming download speeds of up to 25 Mbps with various data caps. However, because it is a satellite based service, the latency will still be high,

      If Xplornet is building terrestrial towers on St. Joseph Island, it would seem to indicate that they are getting ready to offer their LTE fixed wireless service to subscribers. At other locations where this service is available, Xplornet offers a number of packages.

      Plan/Speed Cap Price
      LTE 5 50 GB $65
      LTE 10 200 GB $75
      LTE 25 300 GB $85
      LTE 25 500 GB $110

      Like all wireless systems, whether mobile (cellular) or fixed, the networks are subject to congestion which means that as the systems gain more customers, speeds will slow down and seldom meet the advertised speeds unless the ISPs either restrict the number of users or increase bandwidth/radio sectors as the number of users grows. The Internet is loaded with sites complaining about the speed of wireless ISPs.

    2. Thank you for your reply with some pricing information.
      I looked through the past articles of the island clippings and found the notice of intent for the tower and have included the link.

      May 11th 2017 issue

      the notice is on page 12.

      I am also aware of Xplornet drilling core samples at a different location that is close to one of the new bell towers that was recently erected. Makes me wonder if they are going to erect new towers around the same locations as bell did?

      Anyways I thought I would let you and everybody else that checks for updates on this website know that there might be somebody else coming to the Wireless service game which should help all of us!

    3. Latest issue of island clippings issue #1102 has proposed 70 meter tower on corner of f&g and 20th side road. Also an open house on Aug 30

    4. Thank you for the info.

      Xplornet has announced through various public media that they are installing at least 73 tower sites in Northern Ontario stretching all the way to Timmins. They have not publically declare what specific equipment will be mounted on the towers or when they will be activated.

    5. The tower at Hilton beach is up... still no service announcement yet.

    6. Thanks. I have not heard anything either.

  3. Hello Hermes, do you know of someone to inquire about boosting the bwi5 signal just north of Island Lake. My understanding is that the service is attainable in that area because I've tested with my bwi5 hub while driving up 556 through aweres then the signal dimishes especially just past island lake into the curves where it's needed.
    We'd be ok spending to rectify this.

    1. Yes, I understand Bell retail stores are selling the BWI5 product to residents of the Island Lake area even though it was not part of a Deferral Account area.

      BWI5 is obviously a Bell product service offering so Bell is the company that needs to be lobbied to get improved coverage.

      Some folks have had luck in acquiring a very serviceable signal in the area by installing a cell signal booster and antenna system. A good system can cost a few hundred dollars for installation and set-up. I can recommend Marko at Northland Consultants:

  4. I live in Goulais river and have the new zte hub which is running off of the Pineshores tower. I didn't think that tower was lte. Is it possible to switch to Searchmont.

    1. I am not sure what issue you are trying to address.

      I doubt if you could get a usable signal off the Searchmont tower in Goulais River due to the distance and terrain involved. Depending on your location on Goulais there is a chance you may get a signal off one of the other area sites at Heyden, Buttermilk or Nils.

      According to public data, the Pine Shores tower and the Searchmont tower operate in both LTE and WCDMA (HSPA) modes. There are differences in the frequencies used. The Pine Shores tower only operates in the 700 Mhz and 1900 Mhz bands while Searchmont operates in the 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz and 1900 Mhz bands. All bands are LTE capable and the 800 Mhz and 1900 Mhz bands are HSPA capable as well as LTE.


  5. Note added by Hermes: The original submission by Ryan Adams had an incorrect link which has been corrected in this comment post.

    Ryan Adams has left a new comment on your post "Searchmont Bell Site Active".

    Note added by Hermes: The original submission had an incorrect link which has been corrected in this comment post.

    I would like to refer you to the promise that Bell made regarding external antenna's.... Bell pays and not you:


    Refer to para 25, and for the actual document click on footnote 60.

    Ensure you provide that document to the CRTC when you complain (the one linked in footnote 60)

    If the service in a Bell Deferral Account area is not up to par, a complaint to the CRTC will be in order.

    Bell received a small fortune from the CRTC, and if you are in an area, and get substandard service, complain.

    CRTC Case ID 721846 involves a person who was denied both DSL and cellular service in a Deferral DSA until I told him that he was in a Deferral area. He complained to the CRTC and Bell had to go to great lengths to afford service.

    Don't give up as Bell will screw you around first.