Why I gave up on local wireless
October/2007: A bit of an update. Read this in the context it was written. I'm now on a wireless connection with the Wynndel Internet group. I'm still convinced that a lot of the stuff below is true and relevant.
As some may know, there is a group attempting to create a wireless network in Wynndel. I guess I'm partially responsible for getting it going ... but I'm no longer involved. I wish them well.
On April 24/2005 we had a long chat in the van der Poel household about my involvement in this project. And a decision has been reached: I'm out-a-here.
Several issues have led me to this decision. A few I'll just keep private (not so much for me, but there really is no point in getting more people upset). But, let me list a few:
- The complete confusion that is being created with the latest govt/telus announcement. I think that some people worked very hard on this ... and more than a few got screwed. But, all is not lost ... there are ads in the newspapers from Telus announcing their "connecting communities" program. Sure reads to me like we'll be getting broadband real soon :)
- My falling out of the BC3 group. Yeah, this was a "tempest in a teacup", but it really opened my eyes. BC3 is supposed to be a "consumer group" or an "advocacy group". But, since they are funded (almost completely) with govt. money ... you figure out the rest. The movers and shakers in this group treat the whole issue of connecting communities as a bit of a "religion". And woe to anyone who dares present alternate views on their religion. The upshot of this is that I don't like religion of any kind, and certainly not when it is sponsored by the govt.
- A personal belief that it just isn't going to work. Our communities are too small for us to create systems with 20 to 40 users AND support these users via a society. We do not have the technical depth to create AND run AND maintain these systems. I'll grant that we might be able to set it up ... but I'll eat my modem if a mini-system like this can survive longer than a year. And I am not about to entrust my connectivity to "the guy down the street". I'll live with dialup first. At one point, when we were looking at a larger, valley-wide, plan I thought it might work. But the govt. has put a large slash though this idea. Quite sad, really.
- A complete lack of interest in our community. I was hoping for a decent turnout at our community meeting earlier last week. As it turned out, most of the people who stayed for the the broadband presentation were there because we would not let them leave after the WID AGM. Certainly, the people who would benefit the most (businesses, educators, realators, and young families) were NOT there. This is pretty cynical on my part, but if they want it then they are on their own. It was most interesting to see that most (with some exceptions) of the folk who were involved in the original committee and attended the BC3 workshop couldn't bother to attend. Frankly, I think that most of the people who didn't attend were just a lot smarter than I am.
- A vision (and, no I didn't smoke anything or take drugs) that there are better solutions:
- the entry of private providers in conjunction with the govt/telus.
- Ka satellite. Expensive, but it will be available this summer. And, frankly, I don't care about the cost ... and those to whom the cost is important, well they should have been at the meeting.
- Cintex are planning on providing wireless to Kootenay lake and Creston. One member of the group has already signed up ... again, not a cheap solution, but at least it appears that it'll work. Unfortunately they have proven to be a pretty flaky outfit with constant "next week" promises ... and still no service to our area.
- A private partnership with Telus. No reason someone like Kootenay Internet, Cintex, NetIdea, or even Uniserve can't put this together.
- Finally, I'm completely tired of the constant techno-babble, changing goalposts , etc. fostered by all the players in this. I just want broadband. I don't want to become a network guru. I don't want to join any societies. And I sure don't want to "build networks". Hey, I don't even want to change the world. I just want broadband at my home. Period.
To those nice people I've meet in this game ... please stay in touch. I'm not mad at anyone, just tired of the BS and the process. In the meantime: I've got a lot of gardening to do, I have some music projects which have been on the shelf too long, and I have some software projects to complete.
This website will stay up for a few more months. Complete with all the negative BS a few of you object to. If anyone wants to steal or borrow anything there, feel free to do so.
I would turn in my "community champion" coffee cup, certificate and medallion. But, I never got anything. Matter of fact, I never received ONE official bit of mail from the govt., Telus or BC3. Not one. So, I should be grateful that they didn't waste money on me ... seems that the only fool in all this was me ... not only did I spend way too much time on the process, I also spent my own money on website development, domain registrations, long distance telephone calls (yes, even calls to Telus have cost me), gas, etc. I'll mark it down to "life lessons".
And if someone does get this thing going in Wynndel: Give me a call when it's up and running. I'll evaluate what you have and maybe even sign up.
Sorry if this disappoints.
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