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Cherry Capital Connection, LLC Looking to define interest

 
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:46 am    Post subject: Cherry Capital Connection, LLC Looking to define interest Reply with quote

Following is an article from the Elk Rapids News on our WI-FI progress in ER. We have similar stats for the Straits area. We would like to work with Bois Blanc to deliver Island wide WI-FI. With our current fiber we have the capacity in the straits area and our towers have a number of views of the Island. If there is interest please let us know. This spring we plan on visiting the Island to begin our analysis. We have been doing business in the straits area for over 6 years.

By - Thomas Stephenson, Director of Communications, ER-BAM
In May of 2010 a local citizens group, ER-BAM (Elk Rapids - Broadband Area Maximization), developed a public-private partnership with a local wireless provider, Cherry Capital Connection to bring a Wi-Fi network to the Elk Rapids area. After reviewing the year-end usage numbers, it has become obvious that the young network has been well accepted by both the citizens and visitors of Elk Rapids, prompting ER-BAM to declare that the initial phase a success, thus warranting further investment and expansion. As stated by ER-BAM’s president, Barb Mullaly, “This is one step closer to becoming a ‘wired’ community.”
Thirteen Wi-Fi ‘Hot Spots’ were installed in and around the village area under the guidance of ER-BAM and Cherry Capital Connection’s General Manager Tim Maylone. These ‘Hot Spots’ are specific designated areas that allow the local citizens and visitors to log onto the Internet with the first thirty minutes complementary – “free of charge”, and then if the user wishes to continue they can simply use a credit card to remain on the Internet. In addition, a pre-paid plan is also being offered for those individuals who prefer not to pay by credit card. The ‘Hot Spot’ located at the Elk Rapids library has a program where the first four hours are complementary – ‘free of charge.”
With total numbers supplied by Cherry Capital Connection and the Elk Rapids Library, in the year 2010, individuals used the new ER ‘Hot Spots’ Wi-Fi network to log onto the Internet 16,225 times, with 5,219 of that tally being recorded at the Elk Rapids Library. In addition, it is estimated that users logged on to the Internet an additional 5,127 to 12,817 times opting only to use the complementary – ‘free of charge” option. In response to this success ER-BAM, in concurrence with Cherry Capital Connection will be rolling out a multi tier program that promotes the Elk Rapids Wi-Fi network. According to Barb Mullaly, “We plan on rolling out the campaign late spring/early summer.” Tim Maylone added, “Cherry Capital Connection will be adding a community page to our hotspot product which will allow the community to target local messages for promotion.”
A primary goal of ER-BAM is to develop a successful municipal Wi-Fi network that will help Elk Rapids participate in the ‘new economy’ taking one more step towards an idea location to live, do business, and visit. Having a free and fast wireless system will assist in the economic development of the Elk Rapids community by attracting investments, facilitating a mobile working environment and supporting Elk Rapids café culture. Consumers and visitors alike are increasingly expecting to find Wi-Fi available wherever they go; they like to use their laptops, iPhones, and other devices in public and are always delighted when they stumble upon a wireless hot spot. The existence of a Wi-Fi network will help in making Elk Rapids a more desirable place to spend time, and an obvious inherent benefit of increasing desirability is increasing foot traffic thru the retail shops, restaurants, cafes, etc, helping the overall economic development of Elk Rapids. The members of ER-BAM are pleased by this progress of the young Wi-Fi network as it helps the organization achieve some of its’ goals of utilizing broadband to its maximum potential, creating innovative economic wealth building opportunities for the community, while preserving the character and pristine environment of the Elk Rapids region. If you would like to join in the efforts of ER-BAM, a band of broad thinkers, please visit our web site at www.er-bam.net
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:27 am    Post subject: Wi-Fi Reply with quote

You may be a little late getting here with your services. Our phone company has gotten a government grant to install broadband. I'm guessing that they will lay fiber optics beginning with a cable laid across the South Channel. Anybody, tell me if I'm wrong. Wi-Fi and hard wired fiber optics are two different things, but can't someone with fiber optics broadcast their own local Wi-Fi hot spot?

Some of the details about the fiber optic broadband was discussed on this site here: http://www.bois-blanc.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1776&highlight=broadband

A few years back people would have jumped at the chance to get fast internet from towers on the mainland, and some have it now. Times are changing though, if it is true that we will all get fiber optics.
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:52 am    Post subject: The USDA grant award is really two different issues Reply with quote

Not late at all. This is the time to act. Hopefully the following items will help define the economic impact on the comunity.

A collaborative / coordinated "hotspot" system on Bois Blanc that enables the ability to deliver a message and create a place based marketing strategy is different then the fiber on the island or dsl to the door strategy.

The suggestion is that for EDC reasons Bois Blanc should consider an island wide CCC managed WIFI system that is integrated into a wider network.

With a wifi account on Bois Blanc a user can travel to Mackinac Island, Charlevoix, Gaylord, Grayling, elk rapids, etc and use their internet access. Not just at home

CCC purchases fiber from companies like TDS making their investment more viable.

CCC delivers services in 11 northern Michigan Counties and many northern Michigan communities

With an island wide WIFI consumers can purchase high capacity Fixed point wireless to the home or business. Providing a bit of competition

Since CCC is in 11 counties we can connect your home or business on the Island with your home or business in another location using the internet or the CCC private network.

To make the greatest economic impact CCC is suggesting a collaborative effort providing a message that extends beyond a specific area can deliver a great deal more for a small investment.
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Al's Sister
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to say that the Island took a long time to get electricity and now you may be getting fiber optic before I will here on the mainland! LOL! Watz up with that?! LOLOL.. Mr. Green #Silly
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Middle mile verse last mile with fiber Reply with quote

This is a bit off topic for this thread and we really do want to hear peoples thoughts on a proposed Island wide WI-FI system.

Cherry Capital Connection as part of our own ARRA grant application reviewed the TDS grant application. The grant as we understand it was fiber on the island in support of an upgraded DSL (copper phone lines) delivery system. So fiber around the island to various points of termination then copper wire to the homes to deliver DSL type services.

The other aspect included increased capacity of wireless bandwidth to the Island from the mainland. This is a typical TDS delivery similar to their Beaver Island delivery. It is our understanding the end user does not get fiber. TDS will need to clarify this point.

In the Fife Lake area (I assume Al's sisters home town) you have Fiber by Charter Communications then coaxial to the door. In Fife lake CCC is working on a delivery of fiber and WIFI to the door. It is highly unlikely Fife Lake would get fiber to the door.

Although fiber is a good idea at $7,000-$15,000 per household plus monthly bandwidth charges in excess of $1,000 per month this is generally not economically feasible. A county would require $40 million or more to make this a reality.

With 400mps plus capacity available to and from he island the Island and 5-10mps both directions to the door a hybrid fiber / wireless delivery at a total cost of $700 per household this CCC model is a very cost effective and competitive solution. The connect-mi organization just released the results of a statewide study. Local ISPs such as CCC are working with the MPSC and Connect-MI to further define at the county levels. Please visit their site connect-mi.org. The NWMCOG is holding a meeting March 1 where Connected nation will be available for questions. CCC and ER-BAM will also be at this meeting.

What CCC is proposing is an island wide wifi system that would enable a local message, provide 30 minutes free access for visitors and provide a competive Fixed point wireless access system to the internet on Bois Blanc Island. We would negotiate with TDS on use of their fiber if there is sufficient island demand. We already have a number of service sites in view of Bois Blanc that can bring bandwidth to homes and businesses on the island

Sorry about the long response. "Al's Sister" we are working on the rural areas of Fife Lake for this summer.
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:04 pm    Post subject: Middle mile verse last mile with fiber Reply with quote

duplicate removed

Last edited by ertimm on Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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hoverusa
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the joys of knowing that my iPhone worked just great for me on the Island last year, I didn't even bother to bring my laptop with me!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As things stand, I have to "borrow" wifi by driving a short distance to my neighbors who have Hughs net with wifi connected. I use it only long enough to upload and download email for that day. They have been gracious enough to allow me to access to their equipment.

Are you talking about island wide wifi saturation or hubs scattered around the island? I'd love to have net access within my cabin. For a few weeks use each year, the expense of having a land line installed for DSL, isn't worth it for me.

What I don't understand is how island wide WIFI coverage would be cost effective for providers since the island population is only 40-60 people (including children) between Dec- April. Five months. There isn't a significant population other than June, July and August. Most of the year-rounders already have satellite or cell access.
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:20 pm    Post subject: Cost of WI-FI Reply with quote

The goal would be Island Wide WI-FI. CCC has a 10 year proven deployment method that enables remote / rural markets to be developed. We are an Elk Rapids based company so we are very familiar with the seasonal nature of the region.

The consistent unemployment numbers in the area do not help the situation.

However, with a local strategy that controls costs, increases capacity and delivers a market message that is exploited over the region good things can happen.

To your specific concerns

The 40-60 full time residence would finally have a choice in service providers. satellite or cell access have their applications but also have significant limits. As the use of the internet for phone, TV etc the cost of cell will increase and satellite has difficulty in supporting. High Capacity fixed point WI-FI does provide a robust solution. For those on the island 6-7 months we have seasonal plans for fixed point wireless. The unique aspect is that the seasonal plans are always on allowing a property owner to monitor their assets from off island.

Our "On Demand Hotspot" addresses the visitors and those island land owners with shorter stays/visits.

With "On Demand Hotspots" that is integrated with the greater CCC network another layer for financial success is created.

Then there is the person who lives on Bois Blanc and Traverse City or Bois Blanc and Fife Lake. CCC can service their needs in both locations. Creating another level of financial success.

Unlike other telecommunications efforts this model has no federal funding or subsidies associated with the deployment or reoccurring operations, so it depends on consumer loyalty and general acceptance through subscription. Since our primary funding is through subscription we must address the needs of our customer. We drive down costs by working with local owners to create opportunities that drive down costs and increase capabilities.

This is why we are asking. We hear that Bois Blanc had asked about WI-FI for the island at a MTA meeting downstate. We received a call and this prompted the discussion. It has taken CCC 10 years to build up it infrastructure to be a position to service an area like Bois Blanc but we are prepared to meet the demand, once the demand can be defined.
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Rosemary
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your company did this on our Island, what would be the cost? (for an8 month resident).

I do think this is a little late....because we are getting internet thru the phone company. (Maybe I didn't read back far enough, and maybe this question was already answered).
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK... Now I am really lost here. I read through all the previous posts 3x to make sure I wasn't overlooking something.

I am back to the same questions: who pays for the cost of this equipment and cost of operation, especially during the 9 months of the year when use would be minimal if at all.

I think WIFI makes far more sense that wired in DSL. Available to everyone on the island: resident, seasonal or vacationers.

I am on BBI for maybe 60 days a year, total. Will I pay to have a landline and DSL installed? NO WAY. not worth it. I can borrow WIFI from my neighbors and use my cell to make an occasional phone call. Inconvenient but cost effective.

TDS has taken a real hit from cell service. Even if someone has to drive a little to get reception, it still beats the cost of having a landline for minimal use. Cell service on BBI has greatly improved in the last year. As hoverusa put it, he didn't bother with his laptop this year. His Iphone kept him up to date with email and so forth for the week or so he spent on the island.

I might suggest a real look at the summer demographics on BBI: Retirees, many of which do not use the internet, ever. Of the 40-60 people on BBI through the winter, (including kids). This actually represents maybe 20-25 households, with 50% of those not having or even wanting internet service. Some prefer not having electrical power, by choice.

I have many friends on Beaver Island. The winter population there is 10x of BBI. As I understand DSL and WIFI efforts on BI to date, it has failed due to interest by a handful and disinterest by most.

So direct question: Who pays for the cost of installing this equipment and the cost of propping it up during the non-use months? Fed tax dollars?

If that's the case. Any wonder why the fed deficit is what it is?

I am used to having 24/7 i'net access and it is sort of a nuisance to not have it on demand. But I can live with it and in fact is sort of nice to disconnect from the wired world now and then.

The common sense economics of this, just don't compute.
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:39 pm    Post subject: CCC tries to create an infrastructure that goes a stepbeyond Reply with quote

This is based on our historical track record

Infrastructure cost can vary but generally it is a CCC cost.

Operational costs is a CCC

For a user "On Demand Hotspot" has no CCC equipment cost. Bandwidth usage charge only, daily, weekly, monthly $38.00 or quarterly charges $91.00

Equipment and labor installation cost for residential is $470-$570 one time. Monthly is $38-$50 for residential. But we have a seasonal program.

Private hotspots (for a business or larger home averages $750.00)

We have many shared install programs and customer volume packages that reuce the cost of entry and cost per month.

DSL is the slowest broadband medium, WIFI in many cases exceed coaxial and is a good replacement for fiber at 20mps/20mps service

Borrowing as you call it is in many cases a violation of a contract and in other cases a violation of MI law if the ISP did not provide written permission. It happens but we do not encourage that discussion.

It you look at voice services at $30.00 per month the total package is very competitive.

Our packages may not meet Your specific needs.

Cell phones are subsidized by a federal program but with budget cuts this may end in the very near future (it is a $40 billion fund that some are looking at seriously)

We have looked at the total year demographics. Since we control our re-occurring aspects the effort looks feasible.

With microcells, netflixs, VoIP and other such services the use of internet to save money is on a dramatic increase

WIFI on Beaver Island because the company could not control his costs. We can because we will be feeding BI from our fiber on the mainland, as we would for Bois Blanc. DSL is less then attractive because of the lack of bandwidth to the island. CCC has been preparing for BI for the past two years. Bois Blanc is a much simpler environment for CCC since we have a wealth of points of access in clear line of sight relatively close to the island already

Not sure what is meant by propping it up during the non-use months?
CCC has never received federal dollars. Not that we woudl not take it if it was offered but no on the Fed tax dollars unlike most telephone companies.

We are use to providing 24/7 internet access and redundancy in our network is key to this success.

If the economics are not there we will not do, but are numbers clearly show it can work. The real question is how an island wide network will impact the economic environment of the island

How can broadband help deliver a market message that draws new economic opportunities

How can cost effective broadband improve medical conditions and educational opportunities

How can broadband and a wifi strategy extend the economic opportunities of the island and create new opportunities on many levels?

Would you stay on the island longer or would others if cost effective broadband was readily available?

hope these items answered your questions
Please provide more questions and observations
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hoverusa
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim,
I applaud your attempt to bring services to BBI, my favorite place in the world! I was going to stay out of this, as I am not there except a week or 2 a year.

Yet I would like you to explain your comment and I quote:

'Cell phones are subsidized by a federal program but with budget cuts this may end in the very near future (it is a $40 billion fund that some are looking at seriously)'

What century do you live in?

I work for major tele-communications company,
and I know my competitors by heart,

No Major cell phone companies are going away any time soon

Mike
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The question raised was again would BBI support or is there interest in an island wide WIFI system. This system would help improve the economic environment in what is being called the new economy.

Your comments have been useful and we appreciate your input even if we are unable to meet your specific needs.

At no time was there a mention of the cell phone industry going away soon. Although there are a number of think tanks that have predicted a failure in the next 5-7 years. But that is a different discussion with many points of view

You are correct to ask what century are we living in? 100 or 50 years ago it made good policy to subsidize an emerging technology known as telecommunications. However these subsidizes are under review and may be terminated.

The WISP industry is an emerging industry that has not had the support of federal subsidizes. As with an emerging effort it is a collection of many 3,300 or so independent efforts. WISPs are like the cable industry 30 years ago but are anticipated to be the size of the cable industry within 10 years.

The next 5-10 years seem to be an exciting time for the regulated telecommunications, cable and WISP industries.

Northern Michigan is blessed to have a good representation of all three industries. But this was not a thread about cell phones or the local phoen company. It is not an either or situation. It is a discussion of wifi and is there an interest or demand to bring an emerging industry to influence the local and regional economy.

It does sound like if there was wifi hotpots you would use them during your two week visit. If the region (north of M-55) had a unified wifi system that people may stay longer and participate in the economy more.

do you think having island wide wifi would make a positive impact on the economy?
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A unified Wi-Fi north of M-55 would be great, to answer your question. But what makes people skeptical is cost to them, of course. The devil is in the details.

I'm a mechanical sort of guy and so my question is this. Wi-Fi, from what I have read, is a line of sight thing between the sender and receiver. So, would you give some detail about how you would cover those not living on the southern shore of BBI? You say that yours is a hybrid fiber Wi-Fi solution, so would that part be done through towers placed around, and on, the island? Or am I totally lost on how you actually get the signal though the air to everyone. Maybe your thinking about using a lower frequency that can go though the forest. Is that it?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of questions are now popping up.

At least we are in agreement that WIFI is superior in bandwidth to DSL. I am not sure BBI has "market enough" to support both technologies. My take is that more and more people will abandon land lines (and associated costs) in favor of cell, especially only for infrequent use during vacation-visits.

Quote:
Equipment and labor installation cost for residential is $470-$570 one time. Monthly is $38-$50 for residential. But we have a seasonal program.


Personally... those costs are out of my budget for a few hours use over an entire summer.

Quote:
If the economics are not there we will not do, but are numbers clearly show it can work. The real question is how an island wide network will impact the economic environment of the island


BBI has an economy? I can count 6-7-total privately run businesses on BBI, four are seasonal. None are dependent on the internet.

Quote:
The real question is how an island wide network will impact the economic environment of the island


Minimally if at all. Mostly a convenience for vacationers in the summer and an improvement over satellite for the year-rounders.

Quote:
How can broadband help deliver a market message that draws new economic opportunities


If there untapped markets on BBI, I can't think of what they could be. Keep in mind the BBI is the antithesis of Mackinac Island and the attraction in that it is not overly commercially exploited. Commercially zoned property on BBI has pretty much grandfathered in.

Quote:
Would you stay on the island longer or would others if cost effective broadband was readily available?


No. I use access only long enough to periodically send /receive email. I generally try to stay OFF line, away from the computer and outdoors during island vacation time.

Quote:
Not sure what is meant by propping it up during the non-use months?


The non use months being December through May when BBI is inhabited by a handful of people in a few households. How can keeping this system up and running for use only 50% of the year, be cost effective?

___________________________________________

If I interpret correctly, how this system will be employed: WIFI towers will be sequentially placed , presumably along the south shore (which contains power lines and the majority of the cottages). Will they be close enough so the signals overlap, like cell phone except wifi?

Those outside of the signal radius (inland) would have to connect via coax or otherwise drive to within signal range?

The signal range of say a laptop with internal WIFI might be only a couple hundred feet (transmitting). I am aware of directional antennas and amplifiers that solve this problem, perhaps up to a mile or further line of sight. Is this a solution beyond a permanent wired in access?

If that were the case and that booster equipment were affordable, I might be more interested.

I recently helped a friend, living on a sailboat in a marina, that was having WIFI access problems : Weak signal dropping the connection from inside the cabin. The solution cost $50 and included an external USB wifi N transceiver connected to a 25' USB extension cable with the transceiver fastened to the mast, 15' above the boat. All of a sudden, everybody's wifi in town was coming in 3-5 bars, up to 1/4 + mile away. Overkill much?
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ertimm
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cost to them under a CCC model is what has been listed already in this post. Of course as the network grows the monthly reoccurring costs to the consumer should decrease, capacity and capabilities increase.

Your sailboat solution is great and tailored to this exact application.

We are very well aware of the Northern Michigan markets

With public safety, economics (yes even on BBI), alternate products through internet and the increasing cost of cell (the pay as you go model) WIFI is increasing in popularity.

BBI is a market we want to serve and is one piece in the unified M-55 north project.

Hopefully we hear from others that stay on the island
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Conis
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three-four years ago, before cell service went all digital, reception on BBI was pathetic in the best reception spots, usually analog or nada. At that time, I was trying to mount a campaign to improve service on the island with one, maybe to low impact cell towers on east and west ends. Not only for the benefit of those on the island, but for the high volume of marine traffic through the south channel. A saftey and emergency use issue above all else.

Since that time, cell service on BBI has improved dramatically, I suppose due to improvements made to towers ( and new towers since), along the 23 corridor. Many claim they can now get cell service anywhere on the island where 3-4 years ago, south shore only and nada 1/4 mile inland. So that has all been resolved by infrastructure improvement.

What few realize is that VOIP 'net phone (Majicjack-Vonage) can provide superior service at a fraction of the cost. And streaming on demand video such as netflix, hulu etc can be brought in via broadband, at a fraction of the cost of satellite with 500x the amount of commercial free entertainment. All via WIFI if bandwidth will support it. I have a roku player via DSL service and it supports HD video without a problem.

For what my 2cents worth amounts to:

I do believe wifi would bring BBI into the 21st century as far as communications. It makes more sense than DSL since landlines are on the way out Where is the point TDs pulls the plug with a dwindling customer base on BBI, DSL or not?

Would it have a major economic impact? I really doubt it because of where BBI is, what it is, and inaccessable for half the year except by air or snowmobile. Nor is it ever likely to be a commercial-tourist mecca. Underlying sentiments of islanders don't support that and in fact may be drawn to BBI because of the absence of same. I am, anyway.

Would they support wifi? probably if they could connect directly without wired in (costly) installation... even if it meant purchasing and outdoor antenna and amplifier (similar to wiex equipment for cell service). If access fees were modest, by the hour, week or month with easy sign up and no contracts... there would probably support. If not, there will be a lot of sharing going on, about like things now stand.

I have a difficult time perceiving BBI as a "market". It is more like a place with infrequently seen hermit types, doing their own thing and more offline, than on. Many/mostly retirees. The next generation are the ones that are wired 24/7.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:42 am    Post subject: i know Reply with quote

I know that Fife Lake is in dire need for better connection ..I stay there when I am not on the island and we have no cell coverage there at all .
its a real problem there ..
you mentioned fife Lake so I decided to add my input about that area ....
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fife Lake, we are working on securing additional locations in the fife lake area and plan to deliver services soon.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:07 am    Post subject: good Reply with quote

That is good news .. It will make alot of us smile ...
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