Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Do you ever find you're running behind yourself and can't catch up? That's me. I know I am stressed to the max: far, far too much work in and far, far too little of me to go around.

I am taking a break to write before I go completely around the twist. I took a few hours off on Sunday (friends are kind enough to feed me) and I felt guilty. Then I knew I was in trouble. Guilty for taking off a few hours? I am in madness. I wish I could time the work that comes in the door, but it is always in one big flood of boxes and requests and emails. Speaking of.

The interwebz is gone hopeless again here which seriously impacts my days, so I took the time yesterday to write to my local MHA (Member of the House of Assembly in Newfoundland) yet again, with a copy to the local paper. Our local election is October 11th - which might fire up his arse a little, yeah? - and to date I haven't heard back.

Dear (Name redacted)~

I am sure you are getting just as tired of this as I am of writing to you and I even had columns in The Telegram published on this issue. I've been seven years now, count 'em, seven years, advocating for high speed service in my peninsula of (blocked for privacy).

Seven long years of empty promises of "next year", "soon", etc. The turbo stick was a temporary stop gap measure, which when it works it is OK. Adequate. About half the speed of broadband at more than twice the monthly cost. Oh monopolies like Bell Mobility can charge what they like and tell you to suck it up when you call frequently to complain as I do. They even have the nerve to tell me to walk up a hill and use it there, or go out on the road for better reception or get more users complaining (which I did) and they might check the cellular towers. They tell me to run my business from the top of my hill or the middle of the road in front of the house where there is better reception!

All very amusing I am sure to those who are complacently using their broadband and fibre optic in the comfort of their homes and offices only a few kms from here. I am told it is hardware failure, yet I take my turbo stick across Canada with me and it works perfectly everywhere else and has the capacity to work perfectly here. On those few occasions that are getting rarer and rarer. Why the inconsistency of service? No one has the answer except to blame me, the user for not working where they tell me to work, in the midst of traffic or at the top of a nearby hill with the birds.

I find it appalling that we continue to be treated like second class citizens out here, not 90 km from the metropolis of St. John's. Where I have to take up my knitting as I wait for page downloads and uploads and updates to software which can take hours while I do nothing else on my system. The inefficiency and unfairness of it all in trying to run my business makes me crazy to be perfectly honest.

Reliable high speed access is a RIGHT in this day and age. Like health care. Like education and fire and police. Why on earth is it not being fought for? Am I the only one living in this ongoing frustration, losing business (and my mind) because of the failure of the government to provide the most basic of business infrastructures?

I was in Ireland during the spring and even the out islands have broadband service. They were shocked to hear that our island of Newfoundland doesn't have this basic technology in the places that need it the most (remote health care, education, web-based business start-ups, information sharing, remote and satellite branch offices, etc.)

What is the latest on this? Am I still stuck out here losing business due to the inadequacy of my government in providing what so many others have taken for granted in the last 25 years?

Best personal regards as always,

PS And I as I write this, my internet connection has been dropped four times. FOUR TIMES.


  1. Yes I really don't understand the problems with getting highspeed in NL and NS. In NS we now(as of this year) have wireless highspeed - which is great when it works but it frequently goes out - if the wind is in the wrong direction or something. Amazingly in our tiny little outport on the Burin we can get highspeed but for the time we are there , we still manage with dialup - (cost reasons).But the cell phone doesn't work unless we walk 'up the hill'.
    They say the terrain makes it difficult but I too have been amazed at places around the world where they've had HS for ages, eg top of a remote mountain in Chile!Hopefully you get caught up soon especially as you need it for your work!

  2. What completely frosts me, Linda is that the mayors of the communities who were on the ball so to speak, got highspeed threaded over the barrens to them (one case, St. Shott's is 14KM off the main highway)because they would not stop demanding it. My mayor was snoring, thinking internet was a "fad".
    As to cellular service, I dread to think of an accident on a lonesome road late at night with no emergency service, it is a disgrace....

  3. It's ironic, isn't it, that the places/people needing something most have most trouble getting it....in your case, a reliable internet connection. Must be a corollary of Murphy's Law - or some law or other.

    Hope you get satisfaction - or at least a nice response promising assistance, WWW.

  4. What aggravation. I've been there.
    Our service now is wonderful but not cheap: around $200.00 a month, which includes two land lines and two cell phones, with no charge for calls within the U.S, including Hawaii.
    We suffered along for quite a while, starting with dialup when we first came to the Big Island of Hawaii in 96followed by so-so DSL, followed by OK cable and now premium cable and wi-fi.
    We don't have cable TV, though. It isn't necessary when we can stream so much video and news.

  5. T:
    How true, i can see marvels down with highspeed in the outports, particularly remote medical analysis which is such a pain for elders having to travel, etc. Along with sharing of community skills, etc.

  6. Hattie:
    that sounds like a bargain to me, my landline, cell phone and turbo stick are costing me more than that!
    How wonderful you can stream news, etc.
    I don't bother with teevee at all, so cable would never be an issue for me!

  7. You have my sympathy. The darned satellite is no better. I can cut up a couple of dead trees while waiting for an image to upload to Sparrow Chat.

  8. Its terrible to be stuck in Bell Hell as some of my friends in the country villages here have told me.And ya know when the politicians and the monopolies get in bed together somebody is gonna get screwed.Us.

    I will now appreciate even more your postings now that I know your frustration in getting them online.


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