A group of neighbours on St Joseph Island have banded together to help get improved – and less expensive – internet to their community.
Because the northern island is considered rural, there are very few options for internet providers.
Aaron Fisher says his bills from Bell are expensive– usually in the hundreds of dollars– and are even worse now that his family is at home due to the pandemic. After surveying his neighbours he went searching for a cheaper and improved alternative.
Net Spectrum of Sudbury is now working to get the community connected.
Fisher says he’s disappointed other telecommunications companies won’t expand into rural areas.
“They’ll cherry pick neighbourhoods where they can get a dozen customers with one shot,” Fisher said. “That leaves a lot of us people who are more spaced out in sparsely populated areas, getting the short shrift every time.”
Net Spectrum said it will use one of its towers on St Joseph Island to link up with another near Sault Ste Marie.
Geoff Hatton, Net Spectrum’s CEO, says they’ve been helping rural northern Ontario customers get connected for years.
“It’s not that nobody can’t [connect rural users.] It’s more of just a choice that businesses make,” Hatton said.
“We’ve just never charged for usage or overages. I don’t know if it’s our overheads but we’ve been competitive, as far as rates go. We’ve always felt that charging people for usage isn’t good practice.”
The improved internet is expected to be up and running within the next few months.