Hi, I moved to Stanley Bridge PEI six months ago. Not sure if this is the right place to raise this issue but it’s worth a try. We are currently on DSL Internet with Bell Aliant and was hoping to eventually have access to the High Speed Fibre which is running on our road on Rattenbury Road. I spoke to a good source from Bell and they told me that Bell has no intention of running Fibre to any home off Rattenbury Road except for the subdivision 2 KM down the road. Can you please inquire on why Residents on Rattenbury Road is not getting this service.
This is an issue that has been raised by many people on Rattenbury Road. I spoke with a couple of people at Bell, and as you might expect it all has to do with cost.
The “Granville on the Water” subdivision has no copper lines that could be used for DSL. The residents are currently being provided with high speed internet from Bell – as mandated by their agreement with the PEI government – via their “MiFi” wireless solution that uses mobile phone technology. MiFi costs Bell a lot because they have to take the equivalent of a mobile phone bill that would have data charges sometimes in the thousands of dollars and offer it to people at DSL prices (less than ~$60/month) because of their agreement with the government of PEI. Bell considers this subdivision as “greenfield” (new) development and meets their business case calculations to install FibreOp when they take into account the money they are losing on MiFi. The high speed internet bills of the people in this subdivision will increase, but they will receive fast FibreOp high speed internet, and Bell will make money (or lose less).
To get FibreOp to the subdivision Bell needs to run “feeder fibre” down Rattenbury Road from the “Central Office” (CO) switch in the area. To connect homes on and near Rattenbury Road to this “feeder fibre” requires installing switch boxes and then running FibreOp lines from the switch boxes direct to each home. When Bell does its calculation of the cost to install switch boxes and run fibre to each home their business case fails – they don’t make money. Their is no additional incentive for Bell to switch their DSL high speed customers to FibreOp because this service is already in place and meeting their contract (“up to 1.5 Mbps”) with the PEI government.
So, that’s why Bell will not install FibreOp for people near the “feeder fibre” that is being run down Rattenbury Road. In fact my guess is that there are “feeder fibre” lines in many places on PEI that Bell could connect people to – but because DSL meets their contractual obligations to the PEI government there is no incentive for them to spend the additional money to make this happen. The Liberal PEI government negotiated a bad contract with Bell, and then extended it, and now Islanders are paying the price with slow internet access.
The good news is that various other ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are expanding throughout PEI in 2017 with the promise of providing high speed internet services with speeds of 5 Mbps download and upload or better. In the Rattenbury Road area it looks like the Xplornet ISP will have a 5 Mbps up/down high speed internet solution available to you some time in 2017 (beware that their current satellite-based service is nowhere near this fast). Also local PEI ISP “Wicked Eh?” will hopefully expand to the area – but not likely until at least 2018 at this time.
The official response from Bell is:
The fibre cable we are installing along the road is a transport cable designed to connect our facilities. It will provide Internet congestion relief to the Stanley Bridge area and allow for the expansion of our Fibe service to Granville on the Water. As a new development with the appropriate density, we were able to make a business case for this Fibe expansion. However, to expand Fibe to customers in the area of Rattenbury Road we would have to double back with a Fibe distribution cable in addition to the equipment necessary to provide the service – we estimate this would be in the vicinity of $250K to do the neighbourhood properly. At this point we do not have any plans to expand service to that area.