We need the internet – and your help


This is kind of how Raymond and I feel sometimes when trying to communicate with the world when we’re at the Manse in Queensborough. People, I’m talking about internet – or more specifically, lack of same. And I really, really, really need your help.

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t normally post on Sundays, having been brought up (in the Manse, a United Church minister’s house) in the tradition that we all need a day of rest – and in the Christian tradition that day is Sunday. But I’m bashing out a post this beautiful sunny first-of-September morning in Queensborough because of the utter failure by the internet and the Rogers wireless system to allow me to share my last night’s effort. (It was about cats, but you’ll just have to wait for that one.)

The Manse doesn’t actually have internet yet; Raymond and I rely on the wireless signal to our phones and iPad to get it, and it’s my phone I use to post when I’m here. But the strength of the wireless signal in these rocky rural parts on the Canadian Shield is (to put it mildly) variable. Often one’s ability to get the World Wide Web (remember when people called it that?) depends on which side of the house you’re standing in, or which direction you’re facing, or what time of day it is, or – most especially – the weather conditions. When it’s overcast and humid, as it was last night, you’re kind of doomed. As was last night’s post, though I tried valiantly and repeatedly to get it out there.

So the time has come for real internet at the Manse. Real high-speed internet, wifi, the whole nine yards. No fooling around. I am determined, and when Sedgwick is determined about something, nothing gets in her way.

But, people – especially those of you who also live in these rocky rural parts – I really need your help and guidance on this. It’s easy to get blazing-fast, reliable internet in a big city like Montreal, where the phone and cable companies will set you up in no time. But what works here? Is Bell’s Sympatico an option? Shaw? I know the goal of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (a project of the county wardens in this part of the world) is to provide good internet access throughout the region, but does it? Is Queensborough actually included in that coverage?

I do not want this to be an exercise in frustration. I want to be able to ask the right questions of companies that SAY they can give us good internet access in Queensborough. (Like maybe, “Then how come you weren’t able to for such-and-such a neighbour down the road?”) I most assuredly do NOT want dial-up. Or internet that only works when the weather co-operates. My internet standards are high, and I realize that in saying that I may sound a bit like a “citiot” (“cidiot”?). But it’s true. Hey, I make my livelihood in the communications business.

And besides: newly retired Raymond has a very pressing need for live coverage of the Red Sox by the New England Sports Network team on MLB.com. This is important to his happiness, people.

My thanks to you all in advance for any internet wisdom you can share. Here’s to connectivity in Queensborough!

18 thoughts on “We need the internet – and your help

  1. Sunday or not, Dr. K. is on duty.
    Here are some suggestions. One of our fulltime/seasonal helper/campers has the solution of a “hub.” They are Bell subscribers and his wife has added a small modem aka, hub to her table top and she gets great internet service. Another option might be to check with Xplornet. They have added all kinds of small towers in rural areas of late and can tell you with a visit if a signal is OK at your location.
    While we deal with Bell, I can relay stories by the score of Gayle’s frustrating hours trying to sort out billing etc. Isn’t it strange that a communications company does so poorly at communicating?
    Happy surfing…GnG

    • Oh, us, too, Grant! We were on Bell dial-up for nine years when we lived in the back-of-beyond near Trout Creek, and Bell was absolutely heartless with regard to our pleas for upgraded lines. When we moved to Madoc and had more options, we dumped their satellite service because it was a lot of money for a lot of garbage programming, then dumped their phone service because it was a lot of money just for the privilege of having a line into the house. And did they care? Not at all. The Bell Internet connection is just great in Madoc, but if I had a better option, I’d dump that as well. And before you get back to me on that, I am aware of the new Internet offering through Hastings Cable, but our several enquiries about it have gone unanswered so far.

      Katherine, sorry this hasn’t addressed your needs at all. I guess I still have a little venting to do about Bell. All I can offer you, having dealt with a similar situation up north, is my sympathy. Your neighbours in Q’borough will be able to talk in more practical terms, I’m sure.

      • I think we all have our Bell horror stories, though I also have some about the company that provides our internet and cable TV in Montreal. It seems to be the nature of the beast. But a question for you: is Bell Fibe available in Madoc? If so, do you have it? If it’s available so near to Queensborough, maybe it’s time for me to start bugging Bell about it. (Yeah, a lot of good that’ll do…)

  2. We’ve been using Xplornet since we moved here (just south of Queensborough and truly in the middle of nowhere) and it has been very satisfactory. I have the EOWC MAX service (was partially subsidised by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network) and it allows video streaming (which I need for my work) without glitches. You can buy or rent the satellite dish, and it is relatively small – roof mounted where there won’t be a tree between the satellite and the dish. There’s also a tower now in Flinton, but I don’t know if you are in “line of sight” to it or not. There are other services available, but I have some cautions: if you plan to do a lot of streaming, downloading or uploading, find out if there are monthly limits. Rogers, for example, automatically bills you without notification when you’ve gone over the limit. Ask lots of questions!

    Pauline Weber


  3. I use a Bell Turbo Hub and it functions quite well except for the bandwidth limit Bell has imposed. It requires line of sight to function as do most other services. As Queensborough is at a lower elevation than here, the best solution is probably satellite. There are still possibilities of disruption in inclement weather, but nowhere as bad as it was in early days. Besides that if you satellite signal is down there is a good chance your hydro will be as well.

  4. High-speed internet access has been a source of frustration in downtown Queensborough. Prior to the EORN initiative, many of us had fairly good service through Reztel. Alas, when EORN awarded an exclusive service contract to Xplornet, Reztel pulled out of the market as they couldn’t compete with the infra-structure subsidies provided to Xplornet. [In contrast, in Peterborough County, EORN awarded contract to both Xplornet and a pre-existing local high-speed provider.] Furthermore, the signals from the Xplornet WiMax towers [Madoc, Eldorado, Flinton] cannot reach Queensborough because it is in a valley. Accordingly, most of us were resigned to subscribe to Xplornet’s satellite service which is more expensive and less reliable [it inexplicably freezes for short periods several times.per day].

    Other options include dial-up and Bell/Rogers/Telus cellular “turbo sticks”. Bell fibre optic Fibe service has not been offered in Queensborough [just in major metropolis such as Marmora & Madoc] even though fibre optic cables run right through the community. Sigh.

    • If Fibe is available as close as Madoc, Graham, I think it’s time Queensborough started lobbying for it too! Given the responses I’ve had to my post it seems like there’s a lot of frustration out there; if somebody could actually deliver on fast, reliable internet service for anyone in Queensborough, I bet quite a few people would sign up right away.

  5. Two words… Good Luck…
    See above comments for details I need not repeat, we used to be with Reztel (service was not good – leaves on trees in summer hindered sight to tower, wet leaves – forget it!!), have had a Telus Hub for 2 years, see above comments for weather-dependable service, $70 per month for only 10GB (in stages starting at $45 pm for 3 GB).
    When you find the ultimate solution – do share…!!!

  6. We have the Xplornet wi-Max system from the Madoc tower and it serves us quite well. Xplornet tried to insist we had to go with their satellite service but I insisted I didn’t want satellite so they finally installed the Y-Max on the top of our tower and we very very seldom have any interruptions. In your mail you will see advertisements and quite often for new customers you can get an additional 30 GB to 100 GB per month for very little charge. At the time I signed up the deal was $49.95 per month plus for an additional $5.00 per month I received an additional 100 GB per month. When you add the Ontario Gov’ts exhorbitant HST rip-off it still only comes to approx. $63 per month. I have yet to lose service or experience ‘slow-downs’ and usually my speed tests show a download of something in the neighbourhood of 5 + which for rural connections is not bad even though it pales in comparison to larger metropolitan areas such as we had in Ottawa and Toronto. It seems since the gov’t got involved to provide high-speed internet access at affordable prices, what is considered high-speed and affordable suddenly and drastically changed by definition, however, recognizing this, I still feel from what is available, I’ll stick with Xplornets’ Y-Max system. Feel free to drop over for a test drive and see if it meets your requirements.

    • I ditto on Xplorenet. So far it has put us with the real world. I don’t fall asleep waiting for dial up. Although it was a really tough call. That big ugly dish on the side of our old heritage building does not due our authenticity justice. I asked Jos could you not have installed a white one? We could have wireless we did receive it.. But chose wires and a NEW computer. 🙂 But Queensborough is with the times. Look forward to connecting with you on the world wide web..

      • I have to say that despite the hassles that may lie in store re getting a fast and reliable internet service set up, I really am looking forward to the day when we have it! After more than a year and a half of a very dodgy connection to that World Wide Web when we’re here at the Manse, I am MORE than ready to be better-connected!

    • I will almost certainly take you up on that “test-drive” offer – and thank you for the heartening news! The fact that you have a very high tower doubtless helps. I wonder if the service would be as good for those of us who don’t have a tower like that.

  7. CS – wondering where you live? I live in Q’Bro and Xplorenet simply told me they could not provide anything except the satellite here, that we are in a ‘black hole’ in their coverage area – it was quite recent, within the past month or two… maybe I spoke to the wrong person… or was not emphatic enough that it was worth a try… Maybe I will call them again and find out what the financial implications are of as you say ‘insisting’ that they give it a try – what it will cost if they come to instal if it really does not work? (We are lower down the hill along Bosley Road from the manse)

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