Keta Cable boosts bandwidth

Town of Port McNeill approves antenna installation, expanding Keta's infrastructure.

PORT McNEILL—Having already relieved broadband internet congestion in its markets in Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Sointula, Keta Cable was back at work this week expanding its network capability.

But that doesn’t mean wait-listed customers in Port Hardy will be able to access high-speed service immediately.

“We’re currently pushed through to Port McNeill, but there’s still a lot of work to do to link up with Port Hardy,” said James Bayliss, technical manager for Keta Cable. “I would hate to give an estimate; it will be status quo until they’re linked in.”

Status quo in Port Hardy means a continued wait for prospective new subscribers. Since Telus Communications reached its bandwidth capacity more than a year ago, its has placed new subscribers on a wait list while it works to install a fibre-optic line along Highway 19.

In a presentation to Port Hardy council, Telus projected a May 2014 activation of the line, leaving Port Hardy customers with options limited to satellite service.

Keta Cable, which purchased its bandwidth from Telus, was in the same straits until its recent purchase of additional bandwidth from Shaw Communications. That bandwidth was delivered last month to Alert Bay from Campbell River, via a radio tower atop Newcastle Ridge.

“That took all our Alert Bay customers out of the Port McNeill pool, as well as Sointula,” said Bayliss. “There are no service waits (for cable connection) in Port McNeill.”

The next phase in Keta Cable’s plan was to connect the signal from Alert Bay to a tower in Port McNeill, providing a critical link to extend the bandwidth up the Island. But when the company’s installation contractor, North Island Communications of Campbell River, could not get a line of sight to the Port McNeill tower, it applied to the Town of Port McNeill Nov. 4 for permission to install a receiving antenna atop the Town’s water tower.

That permission was granted this month and a contract was signed that will net Port McNeill $200 per month in rental fees. But the approval took councillors by surprise, and at the last council meeting, Nov. 18, Mayor Gerry Furney was unable to get a second to a motion to retroactively approve the lease.

“Council had no idea we reached a decision,” said Coun. Gaby Wickstrom. “I don’t think any of us were against the project itself in principal, just the fact that an agreement was reached without further input from those of us around the table.”

With the installation of the antenna on the water tower this week, Keta Cable may begin the process of expanding its service to Port Hardy. Telus has a fibre-optic line between the communities, but Keta Cable does not have access to it.

“We’re on about our eighth plan to provide that access to Port Hardy,” said Bayliss. “Right now we’re looking at linking them via radio signal.

“But our number one goal is not to add customers or offer great new packages. We want to improve service to our current paying customers and make it as enjoyable for them as possible.”

That includes the possibility of boosting maximum monthly bandwidth limits, for which the company has been criticized even while it has steadily increased that limit for residential customers over the past five years without raising its base rate.

“It’s certainly on our radar,” Bayliss said. “Our customers have told us they want higher usage limits. That’s something we’ll be looking at.”

 

Just Posted

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

North Island Gazette
EDITORIAL: What to do about homelessness in Port Hardy

‘people suffering from homelessness deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion’

North Island Eagles logo
North Island Eagles give update on the upcoming 2021-2022 season

The North Island Eagles minor rep hockey teams are getting ready for… Continue reading

Ma Murrays 2021 virtual ceremony screenshot
North Island Gazette wins big at 2021 Ma Murray Newspaper Awards

Zoe Ducklow and Bill McQuarrie both won gold at the online ceremony

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read