Tag Archives: High Speed Internet

With every fibre of my being

OK, I get it now. “Streaming something” means it flows like a clear fast-running stream, not oozes like snowmelt into a mud puddle. When you press play on something, it plays right away, doesn’t buffer. Someone emails you a 6 MB photo from their phone and it pops right up, not stops your other emails from coming in for minutes. Want to download a movie? Whoomp, there it is!

Yes, in case you didn’t hear the cheers from Lot 11 and see the pigs flying over the frozen lakes of hell, we got fibre optic cable installed today at our house here in the boonies. Fibre To The Home. FTTH. For real. I honestly never thought we would ever have a wired high speed internet service here. I assumed something like Starlink would save us, or that super 5G with 20 Gbps that is said to be coming. Even five years ago FTTH out here was laughable.

A very helpful Bell Aliant technician from Nova Scotia spent much of today running the fibre op cable in our 1,000 foot lane, trudging through 3-4 feet of snow to run it from electrical pole to pole, then laid the final few feet over the snow (!) as a temporary measure until a contractor can return after the snow melts and the frost leaves the ground to bury the cable (maybe June?). The electricity to our house goes underground from the last pole, but we never buried a conduit to run fibre. When we built our house nearly 20 years ago, there was not even an inkling that something beyond the copper telephone wire buried along our lane decades ago would be run into our house.

In quick time the technician set up the modem and wireless television receivers. We kept a landline phone, and with a few taps on his mobile phone app, our phone was connected and ringing.

By coincidence, I had more coffee today than usual, so I was already very wired, but being able to zip around on devices gave me a different kind of jittery magical buzz. I downloaded MacOS Big Sur 11.2.3 on my new M1 MacBook Air in just a few minutes, in the middle of the day, no less, while lots of other things were running in the house. Knowing that the fast connection was coming my way, I had ignored the update as it would take hours, and then usually stall.

We got Fibe TV because that is my mother’s entertainment. We’ve had ShawDirect satellite television (and its predecessor StarChoice) for probably around 25 years. It was fine because we had no other option, but every few years the dish had to be upgraded and then the television receivers, and it was expensive and not a very advanced system, so won’t really be sad to say goodbye. The Fibe TV is so fast, and live tv can be watched on any device, recorded, rewound, video on demand, and on and on. I especially won’t miss trying to clean off the dish during a raging snowstorm so my mother can watch The Price Is Right!

I was even able to get my old Apple Airport Extreme and Express to hook into the new system, so that is acting as a janky mesh system for our non-WiFi printer and some other devices.

As long as we don’t mangle the very delicate cable on the ground (I have covered it with a piece of wood until I can fashion something more ramp-like for the furnace oil delivery man to drag his filler hose over), we will be connected to the modern world in a modern way. I see what you’ve all been talking about. It’s pretty nice to be zipping around with you.

The new normal. We’re supposed to be getting “up to 500 Mbps” down, but this is just fine for now. The jitter reading is my present level of caffeination, I guess.
The last few minutes of the old high speed. Yes, that was .756 Mbps down and .327 up. To be fair, we usually got around the 1.5 Mbps down that we paid $107 plus taxes and fees and nonsense a month for.

The low-down on the upload

I took over the volunteer webmaster position for our community website when the previous person moved back to the US a few years ago. He was a coder and I am not, but he assured me I could learn all the PHP and HTML and ABCs easily enough. He was overly optimistic!

I managed to update the website he created a few times by copying and editing bits of code but, to be honest, the site changed so infrequently I had to relearn each time I made changes, and I wasn’t enjoying the experience.

Last year I figured out how to make a basic WordPress site and built a new community site. Today I messed something up and now need to restore the site using a backup I thankfully downloaded. Unfortunately this is my Internet connection speed right now:

By the way, the answer to the question is that I’m getting exactly what I expect to get.

The file is 575 MB, so I think a trip to Summerside (45 kilometres away) to grab some wifi will be in order next week, and fingers and toes crossed the backup works.

Higher and Higher Speed

Buried in the early shock of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown was the exciting announcement on March 13 that areas of PEI with poor internet access would be getting proper high speed service by the end of June 2021.

We’ve been down this road a couple of times before and have been disappointed that it never came our way, but this time there are maps and lists and even talk of fibre op! We moved from dialup to 1.5 Mbps “high speed” at the end of December 2009 and that seemed like a miracle; 10 years later, it doesn’t seem as shiny and lovely. Here’s a speed test tonight:

That’s Mbps, folks!

For this “unlimited high speed internet” plus our home landline and my ancient phone plan (from 1999!) that doesn’t have any data OR texting, we pay $212.

Plan for our area.

If this promise of internet Nirvana wasn’t exciting enough, along comes Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink service, a plan to place thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit to make broadband internet available to the whole world by the end of 2021. Some of the satellites have been launched and are visible at night as a line of lights moving across the sky. They will be swinging by PEI tonight at 9:25 p.m., so I’ll be out having a peek at the future.