How does our Broadband work?

 If you have questions about your internet service, post your questions here and one of us will try and answer your questions.  THE LIAS BOARD


Can you tell me who is the best person to contact in LIAS about the functioning and reliability of the high-speed network, please.


Basically, I want to express my concern that the cost of wireless internet on Lasqueti is about what I think Telus and Shaw charge on the other side, and yet service (at least for us, but not just for us) is not nearly as reliable as it should be.


The level of dependability that we have with the Lasqueti wireless system would not be acceptable from other service providers, and it seems important to me that reliability be greatly improved before the system is expanded, or the cost of subscribing should be reduced considerably.


What is the best way that I can get this idea expressed so that the board hears it and addresses my concern, which is shared by at least some other people on other parts of the island?


Thanks very much.


PS - these are not as important, but they seem to be a bit symptomatic: your telephone message on status of the system was over three months old recently, and the web site says to contact Rainie, and contains information about the upcoming AGM and dinner that took place in 2008, I think.




Hi Peter,

The best person to address these concerns to is Willy Clark, LIAS' Board president.  Willy's email is willy [at] lasqueti [dot] ca (willy [at] lasqueti [dot] ca).


While I can understand your concerns about the functioning & reliability of the network, I must say, I am a little puzzled about the comparison to Shaw/Telus. It seems to me that you are suggesting that LIAS - a non-profit society providing high-speed internet to a remote community - should be able to be competitive, in service & price, with Shaw/Telus, et al.  I can tell you, with regard to price, that LIAS does not profit in any of its transactions.  For example, we buy the SL9 radios (client radios) for $321 and sell them for $325; the bandwidth (the internet signal) we purchase in bulk from Telus & sell it at a rate that is at least comparable with Telus/Shaw, and even competitive when compared with other remote communities.  LIAS only makes enough money on the sale of bandwidth to pay Larry & my wages (I receive $800/ month), and to provide for the maintenance of the system (ie: purchase of transmitting radios, antennas, towers, solar panels, batteries, cable, generators, fuel, etc.).


I realize that internet service on Lasqueti is not problem-free, that on some days the system is down, other days it is slow; there are a number of factors at play here:

  1. the initial set-up of the network was accomplished with a lot of "trial & error" (or rather "educated guess & opportunity to learn")

  2. because we live in a remote community we are forced to deliver bandwidth using a system for which there is no Instruction Manual 

  3. because our Access Points* are on private property, we do not have free and unfettered access to many key points of the LIAS network.  (*sites where internet signals are transmitted/received: your AP is at Guy Immega's)

  4. our location & geography also make things challenging (tides & hilly, rocky terrain play havoc with radio signals) 


When the internet is slow it is usually due to a large volume of users doing things like downloading movies, watching YouTube, or using Skype (Voice Over Internet Phone).  The only way to remedy this is to buy more bandwidth from Telus, or to tell people what they can & cannot do on-line.  One idea we have been discussing is to offer those users who require more bandwidth a higher fee.  Believe me, we are working to address these things, Larry is here at least 60 hours/week tweaking the network (most of that volunteer time, by the way).  And he has managed vast improvements (if you recall what things were like last fall).  Unfortunately, with only 2 staff (both underpaid) and a limited number of volunteers (also stretched to the limit), there is only so much we can get accomplished in a given time frame. I do not say all this to deflect your concerns, merely to apprise you of the facts.


There are many other issues that impact internet service on Lasqueti, but hopefully this quick overview gives some more perspective.  I will pass on your concerns to the Board of Directors, but feel free to contact Willy yourself.






Hello Willy, and Jamie,


I wrote to LIAS, c/o Jamie Booker, and he said you were the person I shoudl contact, as president of LIAS. Jamie said he'd pass on my concerns to the board, and I assume that he has done so. If the board has not been made aware of the concerns that I expressed, please let me know and I will forward a copy of my email to you.


I am writing now about the LIAS June newsletter I have just received. I have several concerns which I will briefly outline.


Winter power


It seems that at least some of the Access Points will not be operable in the winter, as the solar power is only enough to run them when the sun is shining and the days are long. Unless something is done about this, not only will the APs stop working, but the batteries will be seriously discharged and quickly ruined. My guess is that this will occur in October, and perhaps early in the month, rather than in November.


The power situation at Guy's place has been a problem, and he has lots of panels and a back-up generator. I don't understand why there continue to be two Access Points there, using twice as much power as one. It would be simple to change everyone to one radio frequency, presumably the 900 one, and very much reduce this problem.


The same situation exists in False Bay and at Laurences. Is there any advantage to running two radio antennas instead of one at these points? At least there are lots of users of the False Bay AP. The seven users at Laurences could all use one, and save half the power.


System maintenance


It seems that the board has decided that the users will maintain the Access Points. I don't think this is a good idea or that it will work. It certainly isn't something that we agreed to when we joined LIAS and signed up for  broadband service from LIAS. We did understand that the system would be, as far as possible, set up, run and maintained by volunteers, but that is not the same as making everyone responsible for maintenance of their own AP.


Lias changes $40 per month for service that will soon be limited to 10GB/month. Even if people pay $400 per year, that comes to $33.33 per month. With the 119 people shown on the Excel file (which I assume includes the people at Cook Bay and on other areas of Texada, but I'm not sure), at the discount price of $33.33 per month, LIAS would have monthly income of $4,000. Surely this would allow for payment for reasonable maintenance of Access Points by someone responsible and trained and/or knowlegeable.


Photo contest


I have no intention of climbing up my tree to photograph my radio installation. When and if there is a problem, I will probably take a camera up when I do, but it's not worth doing on its own.


Finally, it seems like LIAS must be having difficulty providing service, even with well over 100 subscribers. When the system was first proposed, it was presented as easy and trouble-free, though it wouldn't reach everywhere on Lasqueti for some time, and might not ever reach some places.


Perhaps I am not understanding something, but it seems to me that broadband service for Lasqueti is not as simple as was presented, and is not as reliable, and is more expensive.


I'm sorry if this seems like too much complaining. The news in the LIAS newsletter contains several surprises to me, and not happy ones.


Thanks for reading this, and letting me know if there is anything I can do to help.   Peter



Peter; Thanks for your letter. Jamie mentioned that you emailed earlier and that he responded, but his email does not appear to have answered your questions completely. We understood that the June letter would bring up lots of issues for our members. We are hoping to create more dialogue and understanding about this community asset we call LIAS. I would like to give you a quick response today, to let you know that we are hearing your concerns, and a more detailed response once the board and tech. committee can add some depth to my response.


The access points must be maintained by generator in the winter which keeps them operable year round. This means that someone must have the job of maintaining the charging system. At most access points one or two of the users of that access point are doing this. At other access points, like your own, we must pay someone to do this. The LIAS board is in the process of looking for someone who would be willing to take on this job. The power situation at Guy's has been the most problematic, but we have gone a long way to improving the power situation there this spring ( more later). The 900 radios are only good for certain situations and are not good for everyone; therefore, we must have different radios for different users. For example, to receive a signal directly from Quality Foods, a 900 would not work. The same goes for the Cook bay Access point.


 The Issue of user maintenance is again a new idea which will be discussed at the General Meeting in the winter. At this time I simply would like to get people thinking about this. Basically, user maintenance would probably mean charging in the winter and communication between users on the same access point. I am not sure what you agreed to when you joined the access society so I can not respond to that. I would be very interested to know what you " agreed to when you joined LIAS and signed up for broadband service", If you could communicate that to me then I will be better able to respond to your concerns.


As to money. Lets work on the principal that we have 100 users paying $400 a year. Though we have more signed up, that number fluctuates and not all are paying on a yearly basis. The cost of maintaining the system: paying our two employees; paying for bandwidth  (there is more used every month); payments to Gillies Bay; construction and hardware costs; and fuel and incidental costs uses almost all of the $3333.00 per month that is supposed to come in each month. This income has not yet allowed LIAS to put any money aside for; emergencies, more solar panels, increasing the wage of our underpaid employees, or hiring someone to maintain the access points. By the way, what do you think a fair wage would be for the maintenance of the 12 access points? We have been trying to determine this and have not figured it out yet.


As to photos we can only expect to get what is easy to do. For a radio in a tree( like mine) a photo from the ground at the back and at the front is all we expect.

In regard to the statement that "LIAS must be having difficulty providing service" yes it is difficult for a board of three, a tech. committee of two and two employees to do everything and keep everybody happy especially when many do not pay for their service. But then again LIAS is not a board of three, a tech. committee of two and two employees it is every one of you who want to make this work. LIAS is not a service! LIAS is a cooperative society.


More later  Willy

joseph's picture

Thanks Willy

I joined LIAS almost 3 years ago now, and it was always my understanding that the service being provided was decidedly NOT run on a corporate model, and that it would take a community effort to set-up and maintain the system.

I think comparing the service to the one Shaw or Telus provides for residential broadband is a red herring since neither of those services is available on Lasqueti EXACTLY because they could not make any money here given the infrastructure and access costs.  It would be more appropriate to compare the cost and level of service to Roger's mobile stick or a satellite internet service - if you do the math that way, you'll see that LIAS provides a low-cost solution.

If people had false expectations when they signed up for broadband with LIAS, that may indicate LIAS has not done enought to communicate clearly about the nature of the system and service, but I don't have any recollection of anyone promising this would be a simple system to set-up, nor that it would run trouble-free.

Thanks for addressing these concerns in a public forum Willy - I think it is really important for system users to get a clearer understanding of what their $400 / year pays for and how the system is maintained and operated.

How does our Broadband work?

Posted by Peter Johnston on Saturday June 26


My first email to Jamie was mainly to state that my Access Point was not working reliably, especially in the winter, and to ask that consideration be given to making existing service work more reliably before more Access Points are added to the network. I expressed the opinion that LIAS broadband costs are comparable to Telus and Shaw, but the service is not as reliable and dependable, in at least several cases, including ours.


I was not satisfied by Jamie’s responses. I was even more surprised and dis-satisfied by the LIAS newsletter I received from Jamie shortly after this, on Monday, June 21. Here it is, in full:


Lasqueti Internet Access Society


<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
Happy June LIAS members,

This latest LIAS Newsletter is packed with important information—including new policies—so please read carefully. Contact Jamie if you have any questions: jamie [at] lasqueti [dot] ca, or at 8619 Mon – Wed & Fri from 12 noon – 5pm.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> ACCESS POINTS

We'll start this month's letter with Vocab; this month's word is Access Point (actually, that's two words...we'll let it slide this time).  For those of you who don’t know, an Access Point, or AP, is the site where a LIAS broadband signal originates.  There are several A.P.s up and down the island.  If you receive LIAS broadband, you get it from an Access Point.  Attached to this email is an Excel document with all Lasqueti LIAS members and their corresponding APs.  Find your name on the list and in the column next to it will be the name of your AP.  The doc is grouped by AP, so you’ll easily be able to see everyone on the same AP as you.  If you have trouble with the internet, the first call you make should be to someone on your AP – if their internet is working & yours is not, the problem, most likely, is with your computer system or your radio set-up.  If several people on your AP are having internet problems, then the trouble is most likely with the network (ie; then you can call us)

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> NEW POLICIES

At the last board meeting (1 June 2010) a motion was passed to change the existing fee structure. As of July 1st there will be three payment options for service: Yearly at $400.00, Quarterly at $110.00 and Monthly at $40.00. It is no longer cost effective to offer hourly, daily, or weekly service anywhere but at the Internet Center.  This new fee structure will also alter the concept of “Hotspots” on Lasqueti. 

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> Secondly, we will no longer allow members to receive service indefinitely without paying. We will begin cutting off service for non-payment in the near future. You will be advised via email when this will happen. LIAS barely makes enough in fees to cover the cost of running and maintaining the system; therefore we have developed new policies that will make LIAS more cost effective. Another policy change is that there is now a base amount of data usage allowable for each basic service agreement. As of July 1st, members will be allowed 10 gigabytes of download/upload data per month (one movie is approximately 0.7 – 1 gigabyte).  If members require more data we will develop a fee structure for that extra usage. Nothing will happen to your service until we have talked to you about your usage. Some members are simply not aware of their data usage or how to limit their usage. We pay the same amount for uploading as downloading, So if you use peer to peer downloading services (file-sharing), please limit your uploads,

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->Trade-in Policy

Weak Signals – the issue:  If you have a weak signal, it impacts the whole network, slowing down internet reception for your neighbours and others on the network.  Weak signals are usually the result of either improper equipment or improper installation.  We continue to identify members with weak signals and have managed to recommend ways for these members to boost their signals to acceptable levels.  So far this has meant either repositioning or changing their radios.  For those who need to change their radios we have developed a trade-in policy. This policy states that LIAS will buy back radios in good condition at a 25% per annum discount for depreciation and in most cases LIAS will waive the $50.00 programming charge. Members are reminded that LIAS has determined that for the benefit of the whole system, there is a minimum signal strength. If for some reasons members cannot or do not improve their signals after advice from LIAS or from an installer, LIAS may have to discontinue service to that radio/member.  We are hoping that this will never be the case. 

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST

In order to maintain the strength and integrity of our Broadband Network, we are requesting that all members provide LIAS with photos of their installations. These photos, which can be emailed to LIAS tech [at] lasqueti [dot] ca, should show the back of the radio facing toward the Access Point including a clear site of how the radio is mounted (an example will be posted at photos from a cell phone are fine.  In order to help members with the proper placement of their radios LIAS is in the process of training some new installers.  If you wish to have your radio assessed or serviced contact Jamie for the name of an installer.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> As well, LIAS is in the process of creating a user manual for our members in order to allow you to understand your service better. This manual will advise you what to do if you do not have service (the first step is to call a member on your same Access Point to determine if it is your radio or your Access Point), or if you have a poor signal strength, and how to find out about your radios signal.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> We continue to up-grade our access points and are about to erect the mid-island tower that will, hopefully, complete the construction of the backbone. We still need, however, to find ways to power each Access Point in the winter when there is little solar power. We do not have the money to buy enough panels in order to power each AP nor do we have the manpower to charge the batteries at each AP in the winter months. Therefore, we are doing what we can at this point. This will not become a problem until November, so for now all is running well.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> The concept of the LIAS system is one of community service based on neighborhood access points maintained by members.  What this could mean is that each Access Point would be maintained and serviced by the members who receive signal from that site.  If you could start talking to your LIAS neighbors about how you could start supporting your Access Point it will help this next evolution of the LIAS model to develop.  We are in the process from developing maps and spreadsheets of the system that will identify the users of each AP to each other.  In the mean time ask you neighbors, get to know how the system works.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

Clear Signals to you all;

The LIAS Board

June 2010

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->


It is unclear whether this newsletter was from Jamie, or from the LIAS board. The imperative tone of it was surprising to me. Significant issues were that LIAS apparently allows users/members to not pay, from July 1 we will be allowed only 10GB without extra payment, we should submit photos of our antenna and its orientation, and that Access Points are to be maintained by the members who use them, and that some of them will stop working in winter.


If LIAS allows people to use the broadband system without paying, something is desparately wrong. The solution is simple. Cut off people who don’t pay.


I have no idea whether Sue and I (and occasional neighbours who use our high-speed connection) use anywhere near 10GB a month. I suspect not, but that’s a guess. It makes sense that large users pay more, especially if it costs LIAS more.


Submitting a photograph of an antenna in a tree isn’t a simple or easy task, and I am not willing to do it “on demand”, especially when there is no apparent problem.


The idea that Access Points should be maintained by the people who use them is new and not reasonable. It certainly isn’t reasonable to impose this on users without any warning or discussion, let alone their consent.


It makes a lot of sense, now that I know which other users use the 900 radio at Guy’s, that I phone them and see if theirs is working before I report it as not working to LIAS. I’m happy to do this, because it makes sense to be sure that the problem is at Guy’s rather than at my antenna – though I think that all the problems I’ve reported in the past have been either at Guy’s or somewhere else in the network, rather than with our equipment.


In the list of people and the Access Points we got with the June newsletter, there are 114 users listed. I think they are all on Lasqueti (or surrounding islands), and there are another 30 or so in Gillies Bay, but this might not be accurate.


That represnts quite a bit of income, if people pay for their service. Even at the lowest rate of $33.33 per month ($400/year) it means that LIAS should have an income of about $4000 per month. If there are in fact 30 Gillies Bay subscribers (and they pay) there would be almost another $1000 per month.


I have no idea of the costs that LIAS has, so no way to judge whether this is sufficient to pay all of the costs, let alone maintain the system and make improvements. I’m planning to attend the Annual General Meeting to find out.


LIAS is organized as a non-profit society. It could be a co-op. Most organizations, both co-ops and societies, use volunteers, especially to set them up and get them going. Most of them continue to use volunteers. The directors must be volunteers. Most of them also used paid staff. This is true of the Pete’s Lake Water Users group, and of the Lasqueti Community Association.


It was not part of the “deal” that when we signed up to broadband that we agreed to contribute our time and energy to maintain the Access Points. It doesn’t make any sense to require this of everyone. Some of us are not able to get to the Access Points, at least not easily. Most of us wouldn’t know what to do when we got there. LIAS would need to find volunteers to train the volunteers, and then to troubleshoot and correct the things they did, at least at the beginning. It’s no way to run a complex communication system, especially without the consent and agreement of the participants.


Willy’s response to my second letter shows much more flexibility than the newsletter, and I am hoping that there will be much discussion between broadband users (and others if they are interested) to work out the best way to proceed, so that everything that needs to be done gets done most easily and efficiently, and the system works reliably for its users at reasonable cost and with a minumum of energy (of either kind).


Joseph makes the point that comparison with Telus and Shaw is unfair, because they aren’t available on Lasqueti, and that comparison with Rogers mobile stick would be more fair. By my searching (I had to look on the “contact us” page to find it, Rogers charges $175 for their rocket stick. With PST and GST (HST after July 1) this comes to $196. If you sign up for three year’s service, there is no charge for it.


The actual service through the stick depends on your level of usage. For up to 2GB per month the cost is $27.99 (31.35 with taxes), For up to 25GB per month, it’s $35.99 (41.31 with taxes). These compare completely favourably with the cost of Broadband on Lasqueti. I think the service is slower than broadband is supposed to be, but I don’t know how much slower.


I assume that sattelite service would be more expensive, but I don’t really know this.


The Rogers mobile stick works on our side of the island, though I don’t know if it works at our house. I’d prefer to participate in a community system, but not if it costs more money, is less reliable, and I have to climb my tree to photograph my antenna, and learn to maintain my Access Point. I don’t even want to know where my Access Point is or what it looks like – I just want it to work reliably, all year round.


I was one of the people that was not in favour of rushing into broadband. I don’t have much time or energy or interest in learning to maintain it, or meet its and LIAS’ demands. I’d be fairly happy returning to dial-up service for $10 per month and no electricity or maintenance. It would allow me to refuse or delete long emails and attachments. On the other hand, I’m happy to stay with broadband as long as it isn’t too demanding and onerous.


I’d love to hear other opinions and views, preferably posted here to the web site, but also privately.Thanks for reading parts or all of this, and thinking about the issues.   Peter




Peter's statement: “ I’d prefer to participate in a community system, but not if it costs more money, is less reliable, and I have to climb my tree to photograph my antenna, and learn to maintain my Access Point. I don’t even want to know where my Access Point is or what it looks like – I just want it to work reliably, all year round.”

It sounds as though you actually do not want to participate in the community system, as this system requires some participation of the members to make it work.

I have used the satellite system and found it to be less than reliable (rain outs, satellite problems, software issues, etc.) plus it is more expensive and is not friendly for Voip services. I also had to maintain my satellite dish installation as the likely hood of getting a tech to come service it was almost non-existent. In my location, Rogers internet is intermittent at best, and the telus usb option doesn't work at all. In both cases, they are more expensive for the amount of usage (bandwidth) that I consume.

I volunteered to help make this community based system work. It is not always easy, as climbing the rock face to access the tower is probably more suited to a younger person, but I recognize the benefits to having this service and I am happy to make some small sacrifices to make it work. I am not a “techie”, but learning to do a system re-set, or checking battery connections, or starting a generator, is within my level of abilities.

I applaud the work of Larry and others involved. I recognize they are overworked and underpaid, given their level of knowledge. I also understand that $4000, or even $10000 per month (gross) is not enough money to pay salaries commensurate with their level of expertize. You only need to look at starting salaries for teachers in this province to get some perspective....

As for the unpaid or non-paying customers, perhaps someone within the LIAS network, with bookkeeping experience, can volunteer to assist LIAS. We have problems, lets find solutions, it's not that difficult!

In my opinion, (please note, this is MY opinion, not necessarily shared by others) those people who do not wish to help make the system work, i.e. be part of the solution, should definitely find another service that works for them. It will make their life more enjoyable and that is something we all need.

LIAS and my two cents worth

 I've been following this thread with some interest if not full comprehension, being a techno-dud at best. However, I am really happy that LIAS exists. It's meant a huge difference in my life.  After I signed up I spent a ridiculous sum on a piece of hardware for my Mac that allows me to retain access to dial-up. Because I love dial-up? No. It's because I've been here long enough to know that nothing on Lasqueti ever runs the way it's supposed to all of the time. Occasionally I have had moments where everything I have is working: the water supply, batteries, internet, truck etc.   If I'd had champagne on those occasions I'd have cracked it open and celebrated. That's just the way things are.  And despite my silly purchase, I've never used dial-up since I signed on with LIAS -not because the system is perfect but because dial-up is truly something to avoid. Anyone who wants to go back to it - well, godspeed. Let me know how it works out.

Now: the Rogers stick. If someone's using one I'd love to know the price of it - not what they tell you but what's on the bill.  I have an iPhone and a Rogers plan that costs $62 a month.  After several bills of about $135/month I came to realize that $62 is what you pay if you don't use it for anything. Betcha the same is true of the famous Stick.

I look at LIAS the way I look at everything on the island. Things that are worth having require a community effort. The more people that don't sign on, the more difficult it will be to create and maintain a decent system. The economies of scale, I guess. Like everything else worth having, it takes a village.

Kudos to the LIAS staff and their endless patience with techno-duds like me.  I have yet to sign up on an annual basis because I never seem to have that $400. But this discussion has spurred me on and I will do so. Guess I'll take it out of the champagne budget.











access points


just a reminder to Peter. The point of more access points is to make the broadband signal better for everyone.The principal of the backbone is that it not only creates a backup for access points; for example, if the new tower we are building at Hemmis Rock ( Ross and Nadine's) were to lose its signal it could pick up the signal from the new access point at Yellow Mountain ( Peter and Suzies); but that allows fewer clients on each access point. The fewer radios on each access point results in a better signal for those radios. We plan on explaining how this system works in the usermanual we are in the process of creating. The key is that your information arrives at your radio in packets, and those packets arrive in a sequential order based on the number of radios on you access point. If there are 20 radios getting their signal from the Quality Foods access point then each of those must recieve their packets in a sequential order of 20 radios.

One last word, I am sorry that Peter is unhappy with LIAS, but I am happy that he has a choice to use Roger's Stick. Not everyone has this choice. One of LIAS's founding principals was to provide broadband to as many people as possible on Lasqueti not just the easy places like False Bay. Bringing service to Peter has always been a problem, I am sorry that his signal is not what he wants but we have spent a lot of time and money thgis year trying to improve his access point.


Hi All, When I signed up for LIAS I was getting dialup from Telus. The telus system was a mess and basically useless for my needs. This is still the only system Telus offers here. Having lived on Lasqueti for 30 years I knew that a complex system like LIAS was going to be a crap shoot and that only with some very dedicated people would we stand a chance of coming up with a system that would work. I have had problems with this system. Mostly, but not all, because of my actions not LIAS'S. With expenitures of cash and time my system now works beyond my wildest dreams. The support I have received from the LIAS staff has been far better than I have any right to expect. As a member of this cooperative venture I have put in time to set up towers and helped out with materials when I could. I look forward to doing more work on OUR system when I can. I spend five months a year off Island yet I pay the yearly fee of $400 because I want to see this venture work. Having been out in the world I have found that most broadband systems have problems. When our situation is compared with other systems I think we are doing an amazing job. I want to thank all those who helped set up this system and also those who continue to improve and run it. Peace, Tolling

More on LIAS Service


I'd like to add my two cents worth. When we signed up for the service we were using a Satellite for internet dial up being totally unworkable for someone who telecommutes for a living. The service we received from Lincsat was so poor that I could not even use Skype for calls nor could we listen to streaming audio. Email and net surfing was plausible with patience and we paid more than twice what LIAS charges us. Now with the service that LIAS offers I can use my voice over IP phone to connect to my office in New York, I can stream audio to my heart's content and on good days I can even watch the odd movie on line. Melinda gets to video talk with her family. This is vastly better service than Lincsat ever came close to delivering. Not to mention that when Lincsat had hardware upgrades to improve service they simply demanded full payment with no credit for old equipment something our friends and neighbours at LIAS don't do.

Now I'd like to offer some other speed perspectives. Being a bit of a nerd I use to see what my connection speeds are in various places I travel and work. I have three other service providers in my internet world. Rogers provides me with my iphone service and they charge almost twice what I pay at LIAS and deliver speed that is more or less equal to what I get on LIAS. They also limit me to six gigs not the ten that LIAS is offering. Then I have a Verison USB modem (rocket stick in Rogers speak). I use it all over the US and it consistently gives me speeds less than or equal to what I enjoy at home from LIAS, they too cost more per month. I got the USB modem because most of the hotels and airports I end up in that offer "high speed" service are terribly costly ($10 to $15 per day) and painfully slow. In my Albany office we have a T1 connection from Time Warner and it's blazingly fast and I certainly wish I could get connection speeds like that here. I'll also quickly state that the trade off between living on this blessed rock and the "real world" doesn't come close to bridging the speed gap.

I also want to note that when we first started looking into Broadband the "experts" told that us we simply had too many trees and hills to make it work, and never the less it's working.

In closing I'll say something about the winter power situation as I supply power to an AP for my self and a few neighbours. Yup there is a big power draw, it cost's us about 1 kWh per day to hold up the radios and for sure our PV and wind system are not up to the challenge during the winter. I do expect to contribute fuel to the system through the dark months, but I have AP wired up to my home power system and simply accept that it's part of the load we need to survive here. All told I expect that we will pay up to $100 more on fuel through the winter to support the extra load, but when this is added to my LIAS fees it's still tons cheaper than the satellite cost us.

I want to thank all the volunteers at LIAS who provide us with great and personal service, they have bent over backwards to help Melinda and me get the service that we need. I would have a very difficult time doing my job from Lasqueti without their service and support.

I would like faster service and more band width and I'm one of those folks who is willing to pay extra to get it for my business, but I have to say that for the most part we are getting a bargain for the service, speed and devotion that LIAS offers us. 

I can't imagine any for profit company providing us this level of service for the price. 




lias questions

These questions wer recently asked of LIAS

LIAS, 3 questions:
1. do you slow down our internet once we have passed our 15gb?
2. how can you add more people onto yellow mountian when it is already maxed out with the current users?
3. if lias is not being charged 2$ a gb when we go over, why do you charge us that much when i already pay for the admin costs in my $400/year?
i am responding to lasqueti local talk. i have only you(us) to set me(us) straight. i am frustrated that i pay so much for internet and it is slow so much of the time. if it was able to work with consistent speed, and yes i am watching movies, i wouldnt have a problem paying more.

Here is Larry's response.
If you can't browse the internet then there is a problem which needs attention.

If you can and the problem is related to stuttering during video playback then the situation is different. Some of your questions aren't really technical in nature so it may be more appropriate for Willy or our new manager Adria to answer, however I can say the following:

At the moment no, though this would be one way of handling overage and is under consideration.
Yellow Mountain is not maxed out.
The charge was determined by the board to discourage use beyond a certain level.

There are several important points to mention relating to 3. While $400 per year may be a substantial expense, it is comparable to other ISPs. In fact the admin costs are not entirely covered by client fees; if clients paid for the actually cost of running LIAS the rate might be more like $1000 per year. In particular the price that clients are paying is insufficient to cover the bandwidth cost which would be necessary for widespread and unlimited movie watching. This is being looked into but the most recent data is that everyone would have to pay at least $20 per month extra to improve the streaming situation. Not all clients want to pay more and thus it might be an extra $40 per month if the cost were distributed amongst those who do.

The broadband system was funded by the government and put in place so that people would have reasonable access to information and resources on the internet rather than for entertainment. As I understand it the intent of the subsidies and grants was to support economic and personal development, to ensure that people in remote communities weren't left behind. Although the distinction might be less clear as time passes, watching movies is not considered a necessity and is not funded.

The key element with the $2/GB charge is this: the purpose is to discourage clients from using more than their allotted share. An alternative would be just to cut clients off when the 15 GB limit was reached; a solution which has its own problems.

LIAS has a finite amount of total bandwidth to be shared by everyone and in busy periods this pushed to the limit; there is no extra available. Limiting the total bandwidth indirectly affects how often each client might be movie watching and therefore also how many clients will be watching at a given time. Suppose LIAS can support only 10 clients all watching video at once with reasonable quality. Without the 15 GB monthly limit it is much more likely that there will be 15 or 20 clients trying to watch at a given time, all with poor result. The bandwidth limitation serves to improve the quality.

I haven't checked the situation recently but it is possible that every night between 6pm and 10pm 20 people try to watch video. This isn't going to work unless LIAS has access to more bandwidth* and this won't happen unless enough clients want to cover the $2000-$2500 additional cost per month for this capacity. It is likely that 10 clients don't want to each pay $200 extra per month so a sufficient number of clients is needed. I find it difficult to believe that clients would be willing to pay more than $40 extra for a total of $80/month, which means at least 50 willing clients. Also this is the cost from telus with no additional money included for equipment upgrades or anything else.

*Another option would be to cut client usage to 5GB/month but this would sort of defeat the purpose.

I hope this explains things a bit, - Larry