Interventions Phase 2: Intervenor 406

Document Name: 2015-134.226729.2518837.Interventions Phase 2(1hzjp01!).html

I live 20 minutes from the high-tech business parks in Markham, Ontario yet have no access to reliable high-speed internet at reasonable cost or even at excessive cost. That's because my home is on the Oak Ridges Moraine which has remained a rural area due to strict environmental controls aimed at protecting the water supply of Toronto and other cities in the "Golden Horseshoe." I have tried satellite internet and found it grossly unsatisfactory. In addition to very high cost and very slow speeds I had to repeatedly climb onto my roof to clean the dish after snowfalls. I now use a best-of-the-worst option: the Rogers RocketHub. The RocketHub essentially turns my computer into a cell phone and connects to the internet via cell towers. Including tax this costs just over $81/month for a little more than 5GB of data. Urban and suburban friends are amazed by this and wonder how much of Canada is still in the "digital Third World." But more important than price -- at least for me -- is the fact that speeds are often very slow and signal dropouts are frequent. Accordingly, I cannot watch anything more than a brief video clip, cannot stream radio or music, and can only fantasize about accessing quality services such as Netflix. Completing online forms -- especially those from the government -- is often maddening. Due to slow page loads your online questionnaire took much longer than the predicted time.Bell recently sent a flyer that said DSL was now available in my area. I quickly signed up but the technician sent for the installation told me I was too far from the closest central office. The distance was 9.8 km -- almost twice the 5 km limit for service, he said. Another tech from a Bell contractor subsequently spent four hours trying to link me to their "fixed wireless" signal. He tried several antennas on different frequencies and a wide variety of positions on my roof. Unfortunately, all of the signals received were too weak or dirty.I'm lucky in that I'm retired. I pity anyone in this area who needs internet access for work or school. Our local newspaper -- the Uxbridge Times-Journal -- reported late last year that lack of high-speed internet is hurting our real estate market as house hunters increasingly reject homes they would otherwise buy. This area's economic development is already constrained because so much of the land in Uxbridge Township cannot be developed because of the Oak Ridges Moraine environmental controls. Lack of reliable internet service further impedes economic growth. Even though I am on the edge of suburbia I fear that without decent internet service my wife and I face a future of isolation as content -- be it TV or radio or government communications -- increasingly goes digital. Your online questionnaire asked who should pay for upgraded rural service, but did not really allow me to express my preference. I feel there should be a CRTC fund WITH a government subsidy. Given that market forces have already failed us, I see no role for them in this combination. I include a government subsidy as part of the funding equation because there are financial savings when government can communicate with citizens online, especially in data-intensive areas such as tax return filing. Also, we are probably not far from the day when a lot of medical diagnosis and consultation can be done online, generating savings for the health care system. I very much hope that my wife and I can benefit from such service.May I raise a tangential point? Ontario's Hydro One provides me and my neighbours with reliable electrical service through hard wire lines already installed. Has the CRTC approached Hydro and other electrical distributors about using their lines to duplex DSL internet service? I have heard that this is being done in several parts of the U.S.Thank you for your time and attention.