Interventions Phase 2: Intervenor 667

Document Name: 2015-134.227100.2527822.Interventions Phase 2(1$6h@01!).html

Living in a rural area, I have no cable options on our road (we use over the air which in our area gives us the basic TV for news, educational programming and entertainment). The only time this is an issue is when schools require the kids to watch a specific program on a channel that we don’t get.The phone lines are old, requiring frequent servicing just to keep the land line operational, and do not support DSL or any sort of high speed internet. Satellite internet is costly and is not amenable to any application that requires heavy uploads. This leaves USB type ‘rocket sticks’ and microwave towers. We’ve had the only local microwave provider come out several times as they state they cover our area, but once here, they tell us that the trees in the neighbourhood block the signal and the only solution would be to spend about $1000 in tower installation which ‘should’ work (but is not guaranteed). So currently we have a Rogers rocket stick for which we get the following service. Every month we go over the limit and end up paying twice as much before we are cut off. We don’t do any streaming or downloading of videos or music. When we need to do uploads such as filing taxes, uploading files for photo printing services, telework, etc, there is a high frequency of service being cut off causing issues with file transfer or having to start the process again. The connection slows down further and more of the limits are eaten up with continuous software updates that are now the norm. It would be interesting to see on a regular computer with Microsoft Windows, a Microsoft Office Suite, some anti-spam and anti-virus software, adobe reader and other free programs to read regular audio and video files, drivers for devices, etc., what is the average amount downloaded per month to just keep the computer current. There are more pressures to use the internet coming from governments and businesses who insist on all transactions being done online (banking, bill payments, purchases, correspondence, filing of paperwork, etc). These sites often are built in an environment with high speed service and unlimited bandwidth and increasingly use graphics and videos in their look and feel as well as advertising. As a consumer, you have no way of knowing how much of your limit they will eat up and it is difficult to stop videos and graphics from loading or playing automatically.Having two children, there is increased pressure for the kids to use the internet for schooling and educational purposes. Schools assume internet connectivity in their correspondence and assign projects that require internet usage. Instructional materials are often video instead of text based. Even as an adult learner, I recently discovered that text/paper based correspondence courses to deliver distance learning have been replaced by e-courses requiring not just email and online texts, but chat sessions and teleconferencing capabilities which are not possible on my current internet service options. Ironically thanks to the internet, distance learning opportunities are now no longer a possibility for me.Teachers and governments will often tell citizens to use the public library if they don’t have home internet. There seems to be a lack of awareness of the size of rural libraries and their limited hours of business.And while telework and internet businesses should be a major part of the solution for Canadians to reduce greenhouse emissions and traffic issues, the reality is that rural citizens who would benefit the most from working online, do not have adequate infrastructure or affordable service options to benefit from these type of work arrangements.In terms of the uploads/download speeds and limits required for internet, a simple study could be done including:- how much traffic does a computer generate just to keep its software up to date?- what speeds are required for regular banking and government sites to view the site and do interactions?-how much traffic does social media (the kind that government supports and uses as part of its telecommunications) generate?-what bandwidth/limits is required to have a productive telework arrangement?-what bandwidth/limits is required for companies that have to run servers with data and web applications?-what bandwidth/limits is required for a user to download e-books and e-magazines from a library?-what bandwidth/limits is required for a typical distance learning program from a college or university?I don’t live way up in the arctic or in some remote location of the prairies or the maritimes. The fact is, I live in the nation’s capital – Ottawa. So if the problems I’m experiencing are this bad here, I can only imagine the conditions on a native reserve or in some northern community or tiny fishing village are. High speed internet access with higher limits (or limitless access) should be considered part of the basic essential services and be included in the basic service objectives of the CRTC. Aging land lines should have a renewal plan that includes the replacement of these phone lines with basic DSL service. While mobile can be useful for many people, it is just as limited in remote areas in terms of requiring innumerable towers in vast areas of sparse or no population to make them all interconnected. Furthermore, as witnessed in past states of emergency (9-11, ice storm, blackout) telecommunications that rely on electricity have limited use when the grid has been compromised and people rely on traditional phone lines. What we have currently is not world-class, it’s third-world class. And basic telecommunications should not be limited to clients that are profitable as Bell keeps telling me when I ask why our lines that their own technicians deemed as old and worn-out over 10 years ago have not been replaced. All Canadians should have access to decent and working basic telecommunications.Susan LehmannRaisons pour comparaitre / Reasons for appearanceI only found out about this consultation yesterday and do not have time to provide further details but I am interested in gathering data from my rural neighbours to put together a more comprehensive profile of rural users and their needs. I am also in the process of trying to get an answer from the City of Ottawa and Bell Canada on what their plans are for improving the telephone communications in our area. I believe the perception is that there is no issue, that there is sufficient competition, and that Ottawa as a whole has access to low-cost high speed internet and I intend to prove these assumptions to be false.