Friday 30 July 2010

Broadband Statistics From the CRTC

The CRTC has released their annual Communications Monitoring Report 2009. The full 213 page (7.10 MB) report covers all aspects of the broadcast and telecommunications industry in Canada and may be downloaded from the CRTC site.   Since most reader will be interested in the part pertaining to the Internet and broadband, I have posted a 10 page PDF extract at the ADnet website under the What’s New column.

The table below from the report is the high level summary. The statistic on average downloads and uploads near the bottom of the table are noteworthy and is far out of line with the total being touted by Bell in their Deferral Account proposal where they cite less than 2 GB per month. It also belies the argument of the proponents of 3G HSPA as the solution to broadband in rural areas as it is greater than the cap provided in the flat rate service shown before. Overage  charges will run up the total bill quickly.

It also has a rate of growth in the 30% range for 2008 to 2009 which is only likely to increase at a greater rate with the introduction of new services such as Netflix. Rogers appears to have admitted as much with their recent cap adjustment although they state there is no direct relationship.  


Internet and broadband availability at a glance




Revenues ($ billions)




Internet access and transport

















Residential subscribers (millions)




Residential high-speed access revenues per subscriber per month




Internet access market share (revenue)

Top 5 major ISPs (including affiliates)



Cable operators



ILECs (excluding out-of-territory)



Broadband availability (excluding satellite)











All speeds






Broadband (1.5 Mbps and higher)



Broadband (5 Mbps and higher)



Average Gigabytes downloaded per month per user



Average Gigabytes uploaded per month per user



Source: CRTC data collection

Thursday 29 July 2010

Batchawana Outages Follow-UP

TBayTel confirmed they had a short term system outage and while the cellular network came back automatically, the Internet hardware needed a hard reset that required the dispatch of a service technician from the Wawa work centre.

They had no comment on  the remote reset action that users reported.

TBayTel is investigating further as why this happened at all and how to detect/respond to these types of troubles better in the future.  

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Internet Service Speed Categories

Listed below are the speed categories used by the CRTC and Industry Canada. ADnet will comply with this convention in all documents from this point forward.

Low-speed Internet service includes speeds that are below 128 kilobits per second (128 Kbps).
High-speed Internet service includes speeds at or above 128 kilobits per second (128 Kbps).
Broadband Internet access service includes speeds that are above 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps).

Monday 26 July 2010

CRTC Asks for Public Input on Internet and Telephone Service

The CRTC issued a call for public input on Canadian telecom services on July 22, 2010. Details of the undertaking and how the public can participate are available on the CRTC website at 

This consultation will last four weeks, from July 13 until August 10th, 2010.When the consultation is closed, all comments will appear on the CRTC’s website.

The CRTC is asking five base questions:

1. What services should be included as part of your basic telephone services today?

2. In the context of (universal basic wireline telephone access) , what role, if any, should the CRTC play in ensuring that all Canadians have access to broadband Internet service?

3. Do you think that cell phone service can be a substitute for traditional home phone landline service? Explain why or why not.

4. Do you think that wireless services (e.g. WiFi, 3G networks or satellite) can be substitutes for landline services to connect to the Internet? Explain why or why not.

5. For what activities do you use or expect to use your Internet service?

This is your chance to make your views known to the CRTC. You can be sure the industry based special interest groups will be.

Friday 23 July 2010

Wireless Outages at the Batchawana Site

I am receiving reports that there has been a number of outages affecting the Canopy fixed wireless broadband services off the Batchawana site.  The problems seems to be associated with Canopy services only as the cellular services still operate during the broadband outages.  Reports indicate that service can be restored remotely by the TBayTel help desk.

I am not sure if this is systemic problem or just some glitches during the burn-in period.

I will continue to monitor the situation and make my concerns know to TBayTel management .

Deferral Account Update

The final date to submit comments to the CRTC on Bell’s Deferral Account proposals was 08 Jun 10. The CRTC issued a letter on 16 Jul 10 confirming this date and rejecting inputs received after the deadline.

From the wording of the CRTC letter it seems they are working towards a decision on the Bell proposal for the HSPA solution as opposed to the original DSL proposal.  There was no indication as to the date that the decision will be rendered.

As  a reminder, in the Algoma District, the Deferral Account decision affects the areas of SSM- Airport, Wawa, Goulais, Echo Bay and St. Joseph Island.

Additional information on the Deferral account may be found at .

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Engineering Dispute Delays Heyden and Bellevue Activation

There is still no word as to when the Heyden cellular and broadband (high speed Internet ) or the Bellevue broadband (high speed Internet ) sites will be activated.

The delay is due to a difference in technical opinion between the tower owner and TBayTel  on the impact of adding the necessary additional back haul and broadcast antennae to the Bellevue tower.

Batchawana Gets Broadband Service

It has been a bit of a struggle but the first customer to get broadband (high speed Internet) service from the Batchawana site was connected this morning.  The initial reports indicate the customer was happy with the installation process and the service.

Monday 12 July 2010

Next Generation Satellite Broadband Service

It is hard to visualize the day when end-to-end terrestrial broadband (high speed Internet) service such as DSL,cable, cellular wireless, fixed wireless or hybrids thereof will be a available to all users in Canada. A small percentage of users will always be served by ISPs using a satellite link as part of the network even if the final connection to the user is terrestrial.

Satellite based broadband (high speed Internet) connectivity does not have a very good reputation amongst users and this is putting it mildly. Over subscription, inconsistent data transfer rates, high latency, atmospheric  and weather interference, inability to handle VPNs are just some of the technical complaints while the initial cost of set-up, one-time hardware costs and monthly recurring costs are some of the financial issues often cited. 

Like cellular telephone, satellite services have gone through a number of “generations”. The new services expected to be on-line in 2011 have the potential to address many of current issues. 

More information about the next generation of satellites can be found at: 

The video portion of the site is also available on YouTube:

3G HSPA Broadband Pricing and Capacity - Revised

I am frequently asked about the 3G HSPA Broadband (high speed Internet). service currently offered along Hwy 17 from Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury and which will be offered along the Hwy 17 Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay corridor by the end of 2011. 
The following collection of public links and information is provided as examples of services obtainable. ADnet neither endorses nor receives compensation from any of the vendors identified. It is considered accurate at the time of posting but is subject to change at the whim of the vendor or a CRTC ruling.
3G HSPA technology uses the cellular network as the medium to deliver Broadband (high speed Internet). It is an order of magnitude improvement over the previous 2.5G technology. The service is available as a standalone data package or bundled with other vendor offerings. It provides a nominal download speed of 7 Mbps at the cell site but degrades the farther the user is from the cell site. At about 5 km, the data rate is approximately 1 Mbps. The user receives the service via a hardware USB data stick or a wireless/Ethernet data hub. A nice feature of the data stick approach is its portability, a feature the frequent traveller will appreciate.
The main drawback with the 3G HSPA system is that it can become very expensive if care is not taken to monitor downloads to ensure the cap is not exceeded.  There are a number of software programs available that monitor data usage and can be set up to warn you when certain data levels are reached.
3G HSPA Access Hardware
Bell Turbo Hub – HSPA Data Service
Bell Data stick – HSPA Data
Bell pricing for Data plans (the voice add-on is a version of VoIP not cellular)
Rogers Turbo Hub – HSPA Data Service
Tbaytel Data Hub _ HSPA Data Service

Data CapBell RogersTbaytel
Flex RatePer GBFlex RatePer GBFlex Rate Per GB 
3 GB
5 GB
$ 55.00
10 GB 
15 GB


20 GB 


Bell and Rogers Data Compared based on Bell's Deferral Account Submission and Rogers Data Calculator
Sample Traffic Bell Rogers
50,000 E-mails 2 GB 1.2 GB
4,000 E-mails with large attachments 2 GB 1.31 GB
20,000 Web pages 2 GB 4.75 GB

Sunday 11 July 2010

Broadband Canada Announcements 09 Jul 10

The Broadband Canada announcements are coming fast and furious. Another round of announcements was released on 09 Jul 10 including three in Northern Ontario but not in the Algoma District. Based on the companies named, they appear to be fixed wireless and satellite based systems. 

The full list is available at 



Spectrum Telecom Group Ltd. / Blue Sky Economic Growth Corporation Beaucage, Chisholm, Rutherglen, Nipissing, West Nipissing, Sundrige, Strong, Estair, Wahnapitei, Skerryvore, Shawanaga, Bell Lake, Bonfield, McDougall, McMurrich, Armour

Galaxy Broadband Communications Inc.

Cochrane District

TBay Tel / Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre Inc. Oliver-Paipoonge, Fort William, Neebing, Township of Shuniah



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Thursday 8 July 2010

Broadband Canada Update

Broadband Canada published a second round of  vendor selections on 06 Jul 10. All seven locations are in the province of Quebec. Details can be found at . This link also contains a link to a map showing the coverage of the projects announced to date.

Sunday 4 July 2010

Latest Reports on Batchawana Installations

I have received reports that Quattra SCS of Sault Ste. Marie has been contacting potential TBayTel fixed wireless broadband customers in range of the Batchawana site to arrange for appointments to install the necessary hardware. I am still awaiting confirmation from either a customer or the TBayTel head office that installations are in fact taking place.