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City of Ottawa To Offer Rural Broadband Services?

The City of Ottawa has issued an RFP calling for providers to partner to provide "broadband infrastructure and services to Ottawa’s rural communities, similar or superior to services that are currently available in urban areas of the city and at a price that is equitable in comparison to such urban areas."  Might this be the beginning of municipal backed broadband services from the city?

6 Comments

  1. I live in Dunrobin and was told verbally by SimplySurf that I could have 3Meg bidirectional wireless Internet access in my house by the end of February 2006. On July 21st 2006 I finally had my first connection to the SimplySurf network. I unfortunately had a private IP address and could not use their service to run my webserver, ftp site or Internet radio station (a point I made very clear, multiple times, right from the start). My access was put on hold and I had no connection until late November. I currently use a Zyxel ZyAir AG-200 adapter (cheap) to connect to the SimplySurf network and it is completely unstable. I also have an external antenna (paid for by myself) which is connected to a proprietary “modem” provided by SimplySurf which is worth approximately $80 and I paid them $250 for it. This connection also drops frequently and will often be unable to connect unless I leave it overnight. In total I have paid about $700 and have received intermittent and slow Internet service that is overall worse than dialup.

    My problems are shared with ALL of my neighbours who have elected to get this service. I have been leaving voicemail almost daily at SimplySurf and have had zero calls returned.

    Any suggestions on how 10 families in Dunrobin can get Internet access?

  2. I’m considering signing up withy Simply Surf (only provider, and only alternative to dial-up) and am wondering … is there an update to Dave’s problems and concerne?

  3. Hey Chris,

    Getting replies around here is like getting an answer when you call SimplySurf. 🙁

    Dave.

  4. Dave,

    How has your connection been since SimplySurf visited your home and adjusted your antenna, etc?

    Have the returned phone calls and site visits been satisfactory?

    SS

  5. Hi Dave,

    I’ve been thinking of signing up with SimplySurf as well. Live in Corkery Woods Area. Have they resolved your problems since your last entry into this Blog?

    Charles

  6. Grab a beer and enjoy the ride…

    My personal experience is that I do get an actual person answering the phone a little more frequently than previous but I have stopped leaving messages so I can’t really speak for returned calls.

    On February 5th I was visited by a representative of SimplySurf who told me to reposition my panel antenna vertically instead of horizontally (I had installed it myself). I had looked at the signal pattern diagrams for my antenna which showed that it is almost exactly the same vertically and horizontally so I was sceptical but tried it anyways. It made a BIG difference in signal strength and I now have a much improved connection.

    My antenna plugs into a “modem” that I purchased from SimplySurf, which makes the wireless connection to my closest access point, it also provides me internal ethernet (similar to the funtionality of a cable modem from Rogers and a home router from Future Shop built into one box). When making the initial connection to the SimplySurf network this modem has a “web interface” accessed with a browser just like you would when you are setting up a home router. When connected, I can open this web interface and it will show me a picture of a kind of “meter” that looks like red/yellow/green lights to indicate signal strength. Since adjusting my antenna my little meter sometimes shows all of my lights as being green and below it says my signal strength is “Excellent”. Usually I have only the last light “unlit” and below the words “Very Good” appear. This would lead me to believe that my signal strength is really pretty good.

    That being said, since February 5th I have still had numerous disconnections and lags. I like to play a game called Guild Wars which requires a connection to the game’s servers. My “in game characters” are stored on their servers (rather than my PC) so offline play is impossible. This game is something I use as kind of a “yardstick” to measure my connectivity because it requires this constant connection. If the game experiences a disconnection for approximately 15 seconds or less, my connection to the servers will recover but 15 seconds in a real-time game can be quite “fatal”. If the drop in connection is between about 15 and 30 seconds, the game will likely be interrupted and I will be presented with a “Do you wish to reconnect?” prompt. I am sometimes able to recover when this happens, however sometimes I have to start my current mission over (which will certainly piss off my current group who will think I abandoned them). If the disconnection is any longer than 30 seconds I am pretty much toast as far as Guild Wars is concerned.

    So is the problem just Guild Wars or is it other applications as well? Well, when I experience problems with the game, I often switch quickly to other applications to see if they are also having trouble. In some cases, I open Internet Explorer and quickly open up a few web pages that I know I do do not have cached (which would be an indication that it is only my game that is not working). Other times I find that none of my Internet related applications are able to contact outside sources (which leads me to believe that there is some break in my link to the outside world).

    So the bottom line is that since my antenna adjustment, my SimplySurf connection is currently the most reliable it has ever been. Sometimes I can play Guild Wars all night and experience only one or two small lags. Sometimes I get many lags and sometimes I get a few disconnections (almost always less than 15 minutes). Twice since February 5th I have experienced extended service interruption (one was 1 hour and the other was almost 3 hours). In the past month I have had an overall average of 1 or 2 service drops (between 1 and 15 mins) per day. It isn’t in my opinion as reliable as many other Internet connections but it is the only option (other than dialup) that we have right now.

    For anyone thinking that Guild Wars may not be the greatest tool for testing bandwidth and conectivity, that may be the case, but I would like to think that it at least means something that I do not experience these issues when I take my laptop and use it on Rogers, Magma residential ADSL, Telus Corporate T1 and Telus Corporate ADSL.

    Hopefully I’ll have some time in a couple of weeks to drop back in here and share my experiences trying to get a Vonage (Voice Over IP) phone working on SimplySurf.