I’m an Island Tel Customer Again

Over the last 15 years I’ve written 111 posts that mentioned Island Tel and 119 posts that mentioned Aliant, it successor company. Put together, that’s a lot of ink spilled in commentary on the phone company.

I was an Island Tel customer from almost the first day I landed on Prince Edward Island, and over the years we’ve had all sorts of adventures together: the company equipped me with a giant “cellular modem” while the Confederation Bridge was being constructed to allow us to set up the “Island Cam” on the ferry going back and forth across the Northumberland Strait; we worked together on a complicated project in the mid-1990s to equip all of the visitor information centres on the Island with Internet via ISDN; I’ve carried Island Tel mobile phones, used Island Tel dial-up Internet and admired Island Tel commercials. The company even threatened to sue me once.

I stopped being an Island Tel customer a number of years ago, jumping ship to Eastlink, the company’s primary competitor for phone, Internet and television service. Eastlink is no phone company, in the classic “we’ll send out a tech in the middle of the night to ensure you have phone service” model; but I’ve been relatively happen with its service over the years.

But then I met Paul Murray.

Paul works for Bell Aliant here on PEI as the sales manager for the region and several years ago when we were setting up the TeacherNet project at Prince Street School Paul came on board as a sponsor. He did this quickly, efficiently and with good humour, and Bell Aliant continued to support the project for an additional year after the original sponsorship ended.

While there was no expectation of my abandoning Eastlink as part of his arrangement, I felt a gratitude to Paul, and felt it only just that I seek to migrate to Bell Aliant here at the Reinventorium. It took a couple of years – some complicated engineering challenges had to be solved because the conduit into The Guild had been blocked by the construction of a new building – but today I called up Eastlink and cancelled our service after Bell Aliant’s Fiber Op was installed last week.

With the move we jump from 20 Mbps down. 2 Mbps up to 50 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up. Most of the time I don’t notice the difference, but when I do – uploading photos to Flickr, for example – I really notice it.

To my delight, the wireless router that’s our new gateway to bandwidth – it connects to the “media convertor” that turns light into, well, whatever Internet is – is quite capable and supports things like setting up a DMZ, port forwarding, static IP address from DHCP based on MAC address and more. So I’ve also retired the Apple Airport Extreme that’s served us well here for a couple of years.

Given our mercurial history, nobody is more surprised than I to be an Island Tel customer again. And while the days of “when you call, I’ll be there” might be over, it does, in a way, feel good to be back.