Because I found it so difficult to get information about the so-called “PEI Plan” from Bell Aliant, here’s a brief synopsis of what you need to know if you’re interested in taking advantage of it yourself. I wish Bell Aliant or the Province of PEI documented the details themselves somewhere; for now, apparently, the details are in an internal Bell Aliant document that employees cannot release to the public.
- The plan is in place as a “stop-gap” measure for rural Islanders who live at addresses not yet served by Bell Aliant’s wired Internet. So, to be eligible, you need to establish that your address isn’t eligible for wired Internet. You should be able to find this out on the High Speed Availability Check page on the Bell Aliant website, but there might be an additional “check with engineering” when you request the service to double-check this.
- There’s no cost for the hardware: Bell Aliant provides a Novatel MiFi 2732 as part of the plan (you must return the device if you cancel service).
- No long-term contract is required. You must give 30 days notice to cancel service.
- There’s a $35 one-time sign-up fee.
- If you’re not already a Bell Aliant customer for other services, they’ll do a credit check before approving you for service. You’ll be asked to provide your date of birth and one of your SIN number or a credit card number. The credit check happens quite quickly.
- There’s a monthly fee of $49.95 for the service.
- There’s no usage cap, and no usage-based billing: you pay $49.95/month no matter how much Internet you use.
- You can connect up to 5 devices to the MiFi unit via wifi. Range of the signal, in my testing, is sufficient to reach all corners of a large house.
This service is a good deal compared to the equivalent Bell Mobility service (which is, in effective, what you’re being resold a version of by Bell Aliant): with no contact you’d need to spend $199.95 for a wireless MiFi-like device, and the mobile Internet plans increase in price as you increase usage (I exceeded the 100MB entry-level $22/month cap simply by testing the device and in the 18 hours since I dropped the device off for my cousin usage has been 500MB).
To order this service do NOT call Bell Aliant’s regular customer service or support numbers, as it’s likely that the people you talk to will not know about this PEI-specific plan. And do NOT go to the Bell Aliant-branded kiosk in the Charlottetown Mall, as they are not able to provision the service there.
Instead, call the Bell Aliant Charlottetown “mobility” office at 902-566-0117 and ask about the “PEI wireless rural Internet plan,” or go and visit the office in person: it’s located in the old Island Tel maintenance building at the corner of Queen and Belvedere; park between the large headquarters building and go inside the marked entrance, then through the first door on your left and ring the bell on the desk. A (in my experience, helpful and friendly) representative will come out to assist you.
If, for some reason, you are told that the service is no longer available, or that there’s a long waiting list for hardware, point them to my experience, and mention to them that the official position of Bell Aliant, as communicated to the media after I raised the issue, is that there is no waiting list or delay in providing service to eligible customers.