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Internet Connectivity

SUMMER 2022 UPDATE
Internet Connectivity remains a topic of interest for many residents and Council is active with various initiatives, news and service providers in understanding how our residents will acquire service or benefit from enhanced services.

Perhaps one of the more significant initiatives unfolding this year is the Province’s - Ontario Accelerated High Speed Internet Program (AHSIP). 

The Provincial government continues its work towards full broadband connectivity in Ontario by the end of 2025 through the Building Broadband Faster Act (2021) and Getting Ontario Connected Act (2022) coupled with the Accelerated High Speed Internet Program ($4 billion funding) for unserved and underserved communities.

On August 4th, 2022 the Province of Ontario announced it has signed agreements with eight internet service providers to bring access to as many as 339 municipalities across Ontario.

The Township of the Archipelago is named as one of the municipalities that will be partially served by the service agreements under the AHSIP. The announcement references The Archipelago in a project awarded to Bell Canada. No scope of the project is defined but Township Staff is working with Bell representatives to express interests and learn details. 

So far we’ve learned the rules of the funding are to service residential addresses on roads. There remains a need to also provide a solution to service water access residents within our municipality.

To address this issue a letter was sent to the Province, addressed to the Honourable Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure regarding the AHSIP initiative. The letter addresses concerns that the AHSIP may not account for the many water access residences and the need for flexible internet solutions that would be required to provide service coverage to geographically diverse settings like those that the Archipelago exhibits. The letter Invites Ministry staff to engage Township staff on several findings and interests. A copy of the letter can be viewed here

ToA Representatives had a conversation with the a/Director, Strategic Policy and Analytics Branch Broadband Strategy Division, Ministry of Infrastructure.  We were informed that their mapping team looked at their different data layers and based on the approach they plan to use to identify underserved premises, it appears that they will be able to identify these island properties. The Township  is working at developing a resident survey to define underserved areas – watch for a request to participate in telling us how well you are currently served with internet options. 

Ongoing Internet Service Provider (ISP) Connectivity Initiatives

See map of operating wireless ISPs in our area (current activities listed below).

Ongoing ISP Connectivity Initiatives

Vianet

  • New 250’ tower in Pointe au Baril offering fixed wireless.
  • A letter was sent to Vianet expressing a desire to leverage current infrastructure investments and expand Vianet’s service coverage throughout the township – North and South. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.
  • ToA Representatives have invited Vianet to review the Township of The Archipelago to see service market and infrastructure assets to potentially utilize.  An in-person tour is being planned out for September.

Bell 

  • Bell proposal for Kapikog Lake Tower W771 reportedly in project build queue for fall of 2022.  
  • Cited as ISP in AHSIP funding announcement attributed to enhancing internet within The Archipelago. 
  • Observed enhancing backhaul networks to improve/broaden network capabilities.
  • ToA Representatives held discussions with senior management at Bell Networks.   Bell representatives invited to tour township and identify service needs for underserved areas.

Lakeside Wireless

  • Operating fixed wireless services in the southern portion – Healey Lake – of the township.

Rogers  

  • New services offered in Pointe au Baril – land access.

Other ISP News/Announcements

Starlink

  • FCC Cancels $886 Million in Funding for SpaceX's Starlink | PCMag

Telesat 

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.