Friday 15 April 2011

Goulais River Broadband

By the end of May 2011 many in the Goulais River will have access to not one but two different broadband delivery technologies provided by Tbaytel. This comes after years without broadband (high speed Internet) coupled with numerous delays.

The services are:

  • Fixed wireless based on the Motorola Canopy system; and
  • 3G HSPA based cellular data service  (see this blog for more details)

Both systems will use wireless technology and the towers at Batchawana, Bellevue, Goulais (Buttermilk),Heyden and Searchmont will be the base stations for access.  Ideally electronic Line-of-sight (LOS) with one of the base stations is necessary to acquire the signal and the acquired signal has to have the necessary signal strength measured in dBm. 

Unfortunately, the characteristics of wireless technology mean that there will likely be potential users who cannot receive the necessary radio signal.

The chances of receiving signal can be enhanced by using a pop-up type installation for the fixed wireless or adding an external Yagi antenna in the case of 3G HSPA.Tbaytel can address the pop-up antenna issue and Northland Consultants can address the Yagi antenna issue

The fixed wireless will likely be available a few weeks before the 3G HSPA service.  However, it requires the services of a professional installer as arranged through Tbaytel. The 3G HSPA technology can be self-install once the hardware is acquired. See the notes under Wireless Type in the chart below.

These technology are not interchangeable with each having advantages and disadvantages There are notable differences in download/upload speed, hardware, flexibility ,data caps, and price. End users will have to decide what meets their needs beat. Some people may want to get both services.

The following chart addresses some of these issues.

Wireless Type




Fixed Wireless
Small panel or yagi antenna installed on user residence.

1. Relatively inexpensive to install
2. Consistent data speed compared to satellite.
3. Medium range initial user cost
4. Can connect to LAN
5. No data cap

1. Limited data speed
2. Line-of-sight to base station required
3. Subject to terrain masking
4. Requires professional installation.

MRC: $47.95 * 
Speed: up to 4 Mbps but 1.5 Mbps is the norm. 
Activation OTC: $75.00
Pop-up Tower (if needed) $300.00

Data Stick or Data Hub connected to computer. Can use external antenna for better speeds

1. Greatest data speed available in area
2. Broadband and cellular capable
3. Expensive initial user cost without contract
4. Can connect to LAN
5. Can be self installed.

1. Line-of-sight to base station.
2. Speed drops farther user gets from base station
3. Expensive if basic data caps are exceeded
3. Subject to terrain masking

MRC: $35.00 – 1 GB **
$65.00 – 5 GB
Speed: up to 7Mbps rural; 21Mbps urban

Data Hub Cost Purchase $400.00 Reduced if specific length contract signed

Data Stick Cost Purchase $130.00 Reduced if specific length contract signed

* MSRP – may be reduced by bundling or other deals.

** Based on latest rates published on Tbaytel website as of 15 Apr 11.    

3G HSPA Explanation

The network infrastructure being installed by Tbaytel is compatible with the Rogers network infrastructure. That means that Bell or Telus Smartphones, iPads, Data Hubs etc. will not operate or connect to the network.  Bell and Telus CDMA phones will continue to work in the area.

The necessary hardware needs to be acquired from Tbaytel, Rogers or their authorized agents. However, the exact financial impact such as roaming charges for using Rogers hardware over the Tbaytel network has not been made clear at this time.  

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