Friday, January 4, 2013

Fibre-op Technology - Let's not get left behind

(I always find Barbara Dean Simmons Editorials in the Packet though provoking. In this week's Packet see argues that governments should get on-the-ball with new technology (See: To 2013...and Beyond) .  I want to take that a step further in relation to Clarenville)   

Happy New Year everyone!

When I arrived here in Clarenville twenty one years ago, the first person that I met at the College, where I work, was then Principal Steve Quinton.  Steve began to tell me about how he and a group of progressive individuals had lobbied to make Clarenville a hub in the technological revolution.  Shortly after that our campus was hooked to a brand new fibre optic network that connected Clarenville to the world at then’ blazing’ speeds  – through that innovation and initiative we (the Campus and the Town) gained a reputation for practical application of technology.

Today we take it all pretty much for granted – we all connect to the internet and use it without a thought.   Technology has marched on however and the latest wave of technology - fiber connectivity directly to businesses and our homes, is upon us – but not here in Clarenville. 

In recent advertising and press releases, Bell Aliant has touted that they are building a stronger fibre-op network.        

Karen Sheriff, president and CEO of Bell Aliant recently stated in the Telegram
"Fibre-op right now is being built in the St. John's metro area. We're just about half complete with that build in St. John's," she said. "Within Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is obviously a very important part of our territory, and that's why we are investing in building fibre-to-the-home, and also we are expanding our business Internet network. We call it our next-generation network, which is also an ethernet product. We are investing in that." 

Currently however there are no plans by Bell-Aliant to install this next generation network in Clarenville.   This network could mean much more that better TV and internet.  Local businesses hoping to do work for the information intense oil and gas industry will be at a distinct disadvantage without it.  As well, if Clarenville is to continue to attract new families, it will need this amenity –  our competitor communities in the greater St. John’s, Gander, Grand Falls and Corner Brook area will all have it.   

I admire the vision of the people like Steve Quinton who saw the potential of the early internet.  I hope that I see some of the same vision among the current crop of community leaders to press for the newest and best technology here – I for one am convinced that our future success as a community depends on it.


  1. Unless you have multiple receivers in your house and plan to do some very heavy video streaming on a regular basis, FibreOp is not an improvement over existing services. TV is not better - just more expensive. Internet is not noticeably better for the average user - just more expensive. And if you don't choose the more expensive option, HD and PVR are not options at all - you'll lose them, even if you already had them before switching. You'll also lose your home phone in the event of a prolonged power outage (more than 8 hours), putting people without a cell phone in a potentially life-threatening situation in the event of a medical emergency. I was brow-beated into switching by an Aliant agent who wouldn't take "no" for an answer (he lied about the results and did not mention the loss of home phone service in an outage). I am not satisfied with my new diminished service, but Aliant refuses to switch me back to my previous package. I recommend that you lobby to keep FibreOp OUT of Clarenville - not to bring it in.

  2. Keep Fibre-Op OUT of Clarenville? Why would you try to stop such a great invention? Fibre-Op is by FAR the leader of internet and television speeds, and will only open up multiple opportunities to advance our high demand for internet speeds. Take the schools for example. With the amount of technology used to educate our children, it isn't fair to hold them back with slow, outdated technology. iPads and Macbooks in the classrooms today, along with iPhones and iPods to boot. With all of these devices firing on all cylinders, we NEED the power behind them. WiFi is limited to the bandwidth of the schools internet speed. I know many many people who already have the Fibre-Op package in St. John's and they ALL tell me how much it has made their lives faster and more efficient.

    Sure the average user won't notice a WHOLE lot of difference NOW, but what happens when there are newer, faster devices which require higher network speeds to function to their full capacity? Think back when you had dial up internet. Did you not want to upgrade to cable then? Just stop a think for a minute before you jump down Bell's throat.

  3. I'm not sure that FiberOP is so great. For the typical user, current "last mile" technologies like DSL and Cable have plenty of bandwidth, and the backbones for those systems are already fiber. The shared loop technology that FiberOP isn't anything new, Verison FiOS has been providing this technology for nearly a decade, based on TDM technology that has been around for 30 years. FiberOP is not a new technology at all.
    There are truly new Gigabit technologies coming soon. Let's skip FiberOP and bring in the real future of Internet access.