Sunday 15 April 2012

Heyden Bell Site Status 15 Apr 12

Signs continue to confirm the reports in my blogs of 4 Nov 11  and 29 Jan 12 about Bell Mobility expanding into the North Sault area. There is now a new power line near the entrance to Beaumont Mobile Home Park; it goes up the hill to the proposed location of the new Bell tower identified in the public consultation process.  From road level it also appears there has been some clearance work done on the crest of the hill.

I guess Bell did not want to see a repeat of the Echo Bay/Hwy 638/Hwy 17 situation where lack of a power line meant the location had to be run on diesel generator for some time after the site went operational.

If the Heyden Bell site follows the previous patterns for new Bell sites, it will be a HSPA+ only and will not support legacy CDMA hardware.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

CRTC Consultation on the Cellular Sector

On April 4, 2012 the CRTC published a Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-206 seeking “views on the state of completion in the Canadian wireless sector.” The CRTC does not currently regulate the wireless industry. This is based on a 1994 conviction that there was enough competition in the marketplace to regulate the industry. Recent surveys, reports, and studies have led some to cast doubt on the feasibility of the unregulated approach. (Note: One might consider that Industry Canada/Spectrum Branch indirectly regulates the industry by application of regulations, procedures and control of spectrum that need to be followed in order to establish service.) 

A press release by Mr. David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie outlined his view of the current situation as expressed in the contents of a proposed private member’s bill. There are similar bill in other provinces in various states of progress. Quebec is the only province that currently has clauses affecting cellular service in their consumer protection related acts.

There is a mechanism in place to allow individuals and organizations to respond to the CRTC call for consultation. Details on how to participate can be found on the CRTC website. The call has generated significant response already and can be found at this site.

I suspect that the majority of the interventions will involve Mobile handset based service and their costs, poor customer service and lack of vendor response to customer concerns. I will be surprised if there are many interventions concerning data hubs and basic rural broadband (high speed) Internet service

In accordance with CRTC policy, all submissions will be made public and posted at the intervention site. It will be interesting to see how the cellular vendors respond to the consultation process.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Deferral Account Information as of 03 Apr 12

This is the follow-up to my blog of 22 Feb 12 on the Deferral Account situation.
Bell submitted the required annual report to the CRTC dated 30 Mar12. It was notable for its lack of detail, in particular the omission of any community names and a detailed schedule. The following is taken from the report published on the CRTC web site.
4. Broadband IP networks have been extended to 22 of the approved communities in 2011 in support of the future provision of broadband services to those areas. These fibre optic networks are being engineered with full diversity to ensure a level of service that will be equal to what is currently available in the rest of the network. The Companies are in the process of completing similar work for another 46 communities during 2012.

5. Finally, Bell Canada is in the process of modifying its processes and systems to be able to provide the approved retail wireless broadband services to the approved areas, and plans on completing this work by the end of this year. Bell Canada expects to start offering its wireless broadband services to some of the approved communities by the end of this year or early next year. At this time, the Companies are unable to provide a precise roll-out plan for this program.

My interpretation of the above is that Bell is reneging on its policy of wireless only for new broadband (high speed) Internet installations and is installing fibre optic based networks in 68 of the Deferral Account communities but no locations are specified. I suspect they are the communities on the suburban fringe of major market areas and to some degree are accounted for by new urban sprawl since the original Deferral Account plan submissions. At the moment, I have no way to determine if any areas in the Algoma District are affected.
I will continue to monitor the project and publish information as it becomes available.