INTERNET OPTIONS

Almost two years ago I somewhat painfully removed myself from getting Internet access from one of two big players here in this province. In British Columbia, most people are either with Telus or Shaw. Both companies charge exorbitant prices for access compare to other Western nations. I moved to an independent ISP, thereby cutting my monthly costs by more than half. Beyond the initial installation problems I’ve been quite happy with my service.

About a year ago though, the municipality that I live in announced they were building out their own fibre optic network to connect businesses and homes. The city would own the network but lease portions of the network to ISPs to provide access to the Internet. In other cities, the fibre network is built by the ISPs but only the big ones have the capital and resources to do that. It’s also the big ISPs that then charge you big bucks for access. In my city, because the city owns the network, independent ISPs have the ability to move in and offer their services.

In about two months, four different ISPs will be offering Internet access to residents and businesses through this new fibre network. For my apartment building, residents will have two different ISPs to choose from. The first company, Novus, has already released their pricing: 25 Mbps Internet for $30 per month, HDTV and Internet for $45 per month, and HDTV, Internet, and home phone for $55 per month. I currently pay about $30 a month as well but for only 6 Mbps speeds. I would more than quadruple my speed at the same cost. As you might imagine this is extremely attractive to me as an option. The one wrinkle is that Novus has indicated that 15% of the building needs to at least show interest in signing up, as I guess anything less doesn’t make financial sense to them.

The other ISP hasn’t made their pricing plans available yet. I’m not sure if they’ll be able to do better. I feel bad for my current ISP. They’ve been great and really support their independent business. It would be difficult not to switch though. Who wouldn’t want a 4x increase in speed at the same price? Also, access would now be on a brand new fibre optic network. No more modems for anyone in this building anymore.

Novus is holding info sessions at the end of this month in the lobby. I’ll know more then.

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