If you’ve been playing the home game, you’ll recall that when we last spoke yesterday I’d received a call from a Regional Manager at Bell Aliant letting me know that, after a day of wrangling with various parts of Bell’s operations, they were able to provide wireless Internet service to my Cousin Sergii in Green Meadows under the so-called “PEI plan.” He promised that a sales representative would call me today and, true to his word, I got a call from “Marcie” at Bell Aliant, a vision of courteous, professional, helpful service.
A “MiFi” unit has apparently been located — I was told yesterday that it might be a 6 month wait, so this is either extremely good luck or squirting oil on a squeaky wheel — and Marcie took my payment and credit information (it seemed easier for me to be the customer here, given that Sergii has no Canadian credit record) and promised to call me back later today when the hardware — a Novatel MiFi 2732 — is ready for pickup. Apparently the unit allows either a wireless or wired connection to devices, and works best when pointed toward the nearest Bell Mobility tower.
Piecing together anecdotal stories from other customers, and things told to me on the phone yesterday by Bell representatives, it seems that the “PEI plan” is an arrangement by which Bell Aliant buys wireless service from Bell Mobility, and covers the costs and obligations that would otherwise be billed to the customer — the hardware cost ($100+), the requirement for a contract, and the usage-based billing. I heard from one customer yesterday that, were they to have been billed for last month’s “PEI plan” usage at regular rates their bill would have been $468, so that’s a pretty sweet deal.
As a short nerd-out diversion, I looked up the geolocation of Green Meadows (thank you to 1996 Peter for putting the latitude and longitude on those pages) and then entered what I found — 462200 / 624400 — into the Industry Canada spectrum database, selected a radius of 10 km and a frequency range of 800 to 2000 MHz — and found the nearest active Bell Mobility tower is in Mount Stewart (map, photo), about 9.3 km away. There’s a closer tower, in West St. Peters (map, photo), about 6 km away, but Industry Canada records appear to suggest it’s not currently active, although that information might be out of date.
The specs on the MiFi 2732 suggest it’s capable of 7.2 Mbps down and 5.76 Mbps up, which certainly qualified it for “high speed”; I’ll report back what the actual throughput in the field is once it’s installed, which, I hope, will be later today.