Main content of the website

Internet Connectivity

SPRING 2022 UPDATE

Internet Connectivity remains a topic of interest for many residents and Council is active with various partners in understanding how our entire Township will be covered.

The Provincial government continues its work towards full broadband connectivity in Ontario by the end of 2025. There is a commitment of nearly $4 billion in funding-based opportunities for unserved and underserved communities. The Building Broadband Faster Act (2021) and Getting Ontario Connected Act (2022) coupled with the Accelerated High Speed Internet Program ($4 billion funding) may soon produce some news about what could be coming in the Archipelago and who will be doing it. The province just closed an auction to fund internet service enhancement projects across the province. To date there has been one announcement from the Province (April 19th) identifying some of the winning bidders and the communities that will be served.  We are still waiting for further announcements to see how the subsequent announcements will impact the Archipelago.

News about Starlink continues to emerge and the Beta test for the Starlink service is something that dozens of residents are trying.  It remains an option for individuals in our Township.

We continue to see service expansion by many of our existing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and are working closely with them to create new service options and widen service coverage in our township. – 

North Archipelago - Wards 1-3

Efforts to enhance bandwidth and the availability of internet service options in the north section of the township have been addressed though a new series of towers connecting back to Parry Sound.(see inset) The most recent tower addition and furthest north is the new 260' Pointe au Baril tower jointly built by the Township and Vianet. Located in Pointe au Baril on North Shore Road, and operating this spring this new infrastructure is expected to provide new broadband fixed-wireless internet services to a coverage area of 8 kilometers and create further opportunities to enhance coverage in the north.

 Existing internet services via Bell's cellular network exist for most of the north and the Skerryvore area also supports a fixed wireless solution via NetSpectrum.

Residents in the north might also be eligible for internet service though Spacelink's satellite beta program.

South Archipelago - Wards 4-6

Ward 4 - Several activities associated with Bell were observed last summer. Bell has deposited submersible fibre on the Georgian Bay floor down the South Channel from Parry Sound. The result reportedly will be a more robust cellular network. Bell is also beginning to emerge with proposals to offer fixed wireless from some tower infrastructure.

Ward 5&6 - Fixed wireless service exists from Lakeside Wireless around Healey Lake and up into the south Crane Lake area. Bell has just recently circulated a proposal to erect a new tower (52m) between Healey and Kapikog Lakes (adjacent Penn Road) on Crown Land.  The proposal has a number of steps to advance through before MNR could provide Bell a site to use.  The proposal is to address cellular coverage but will also provide a fixed wireless internet service via the same infrastructure.  If the project continues to advance it would not be until 2024 that the proposed tower is built.

The Township continues with a number of initiatives through its Connectivity Committee and our website page <<https://www.thearchipelago.on.ca/p/internet-connectivity>> can be a source of news and updates.  We strive to be a catalyst for internet enhancements and new services. 

Help us identify service gaps or deficiencies in our township by completing an internet assessment survey at your location in the township: https://performance.cira.ca/smartnow

NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND PROJECT UPDATES


Internet and Connectivity are terms used extensively throughout our webpage and content.

INTERNET is simply the product individuals want to subscribe to and use while CONNECTIVITY refers to the way people are hooked up to the Internet, and may include dial-up telephone lines, cable, always-on broadband connections, Satellite, Hotspots and Wireless.

We would like to highlight some differences in the latter – CONNECTIVITY – for your awareness.  Internet connection options vary by Internet Service Provider (ISP) and by region. Customers should consider some of the following factors before selecting an Internet package: speed or bandwidth, cost, availability, reliability and convenience. In order to determine what Internet plan is right for you, we recommend you review the different types of Internet connections available on the market today.

Understanding The Differences Between Internet Connections
When determining which type of Internet connection is right for you or your family, it's important to understand the distinction between each connection. In today's age, there are numerous ways to connect laptops, desktops, mobile phones, gaming consoles, e-readers and tablets to the Internet. Some of the most widely used Internet connections are described below.

WIRELESS
Radio frequency bands are used in place of telephone or cable networks. One of the greatest advantages of wireless Internet connections is the "always-on" connection that can be accessed from any location that falls within network coverage. Wireless connections are made possible through the use of a modem, which picks up Internet signals and sends them to other devices.

MOBILE
Many cell phone and smartphone providers offer voice plans with Internet access. Mobile Internet connections provide good speeds and allow you to access the Internet.

HOTSPOTS
Hotspots are sites that offer Internet access over a wireless local area network (WLAN) by way of a router that then connects to an Internet service provider. Hotspots utilize Wi-Fi technology, which allows electronic devices to connect to the Internet or exchange data wirelessly through radio waves. Hotspots can be phone-based or free-standing, commercial or free to the public.

DIAL-UP 
Dial-up connections require users to link their phone line to a computer in order to access the Internet. This particular type of connection—also referred to as analog—does not permit users to make or receive phone calls through their home phone service while using the Internet.

BROADBAND
This high-speed Internet connection is provided through either cable or telephone companies. One of the fastest options available, broadband Internet uses multiple data channels to send large quantities of information. The term broadband is shorthand for broad bandwidth. Broadband Internet connections such as DSL and cable are considered high-bandwidth connections. Although many DSL connections can be considered broadband, not all broadband connections are DSL.

DSL
DSL, which stands for Digital Subscriber Line, uses existing 2-wire copper telephone line connected to one's home so service is delivered at the same time as landline telephone service. Customers can still place calls while surfing the Internet.

CABLE
Cable Internet connection is a form of broadband access. Through use of a cable modem, users can access the Internet over cable TV lines. Cable modems can provide extremely fast access to the Internet.

SATELLITE
In certain areas where broadband connection is not yet offered, a satellite Internet option may be available. Similar to wireless access, satellite connection utilizes a modem.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
ISDN allows users to send data, voice and video content over digital telephone lines or standard telephone wires. The installation of an ISDN adapter is required at both ends of the transmission—on the part of the user as well as the Internet access provider.

There are quite a few other Internet connection options available, including T-1 lines, T-3 lines, OC (Optical Carrier) and other DSL technologies.

As you decide what Internet connection is the best fit for your needs, you may wish to narrow down your selection based on your preferred download and upload speeds, or based on deals and pricing options through an Internet Service Provider. 

ISP (Internet Service Provider)
An ISP is a company that provides Internet connections and services to individuals and organizations. In addition to providing access to the Internet, ISPs may also provide software packages (such as browsers), e-mail accounts, and a personal Web site or home page.
Council’s focus on connectivity needs for the region received support in 2015 when an internet advocacy group officially became a Not-For-Profit (NFP) organization called WPS SMART Community Network.  The Archipelago and other area municipalities supported the creation of the NFP and have relied on their group of knowledgeable volunteers to fulfill a common mandate: focus on building high-speed internet capacity, fund raising and advocacy.  Today, the Township is able to move forward with a plan and several activities because of the depth of research and planning that has been completed by the WPS SMART Community Network.  

 
2021 Resolution and By-Laws
  
 
 
 
 
2020 Resolutions and By-Laws

 
 
 
 

The Township has benefitted from a strong effort by WPS SMART Community on many interests.  Click here to review the chronology of activities.
 
In addition to the activities of WPS SMART Community, the Township has established an Ad Hoc Committee for Connectivity.  Terms of Reference for this Committee, meeting dates, agendas and minutes will be posted in the "Internet Connectivity" documents folder as they are formalized. 
 
The Township of The Archipelago has purchased infrastructure, budgeted monies and continues to work along side WPS SMART Community and various Internet Service Providers on a number of interests.  Updates will be added to this section on a regular basis.
Our goal is to ensure availability of stable, dependable, affordable, unlimited high speed internet service for residents of the Township of The Archipelago.  We are developing a framework which will lead to the provision of 100% internet coverage for the Township (50Mbps down/ 10Mbps up).

Click here for further information on how this goal may be realized. 
The establishment of new tower infrastructure will bring internet bandwidth into areas beyond the nucleus of the Town of Parry Sound and will enable further last mile dissemination.  Using existing towers and the Internet Service Providers that may already be active in the area, OR, with new possible infrastructure to reach further than the service coverage that currently exists, WPS SMART Community, together with area municipalities and Internet Service Providers are working on identifying the next phases.

Click here to visualize this plan. 
Q: I already have internet.  Why should I wish to see my municipality become more active with this topic?

A: Actually, very little of our Township has access to internet service and speed that the CRTC has targeted for all Canadians.  Read about the Digital Divide here .

Click here to see internet coverage mapping for the West Parry Sound region 

Q: Why not wait for the big Telecoms to invest in our area rather than use municipal funds?

A: Many of the private sector investments aim only to cherry pick high return on investment areas and services. Current tower infrastructure and services are 'ad hoc' networks. They do not form a coherent provisioned neighbourhood service that is cost effective nor capable of reliable high speed service.
Q: What about Satellite internet options? 

A: Internet services through satellite don’t support the CRTC targeted speeds and services/equipment are not yet widely available through dealerships in our area.

Q: How do I find what internet options are currently available to me at my location?

A: There is a website that might lead you to discover the options available in your location. 

Q: How do I check my internet speed?

A: Click here to check your internet speed.  
Q: Where can I report my internet speed to help increase the connectivity findings for this project/interest. 

A: Great, we are interested in your results too. Please click here to report the findings.