Staying Connected

Having a PEI cottage in a rural setting is highly recommended. One of the few challenges we have faced so far is staying connected. For the first few years, our dial up connection worked well, but last summer (mysteriously) it suddenly seemed impossibly slow. I recalled reading that our federal government was committed to “broadband access” for all, so I started investigating other options. I quickly discovered that Aliant (PEI phone company) does not offer high speed access to my part of the island. There are some local companies using (I think) microwave towers and satellite dish receivers but I haven’t yet been able to figure out the logistics of all this.

Instead, I discovered (by accident) that certain models of Blackberries can now be used as modems (at least on Bell service). After installing a small program on my laptop, I was ready to test out my new mobility (the test was in London, Ontario). To my amazement, it just worked and I was quickly connected at 112 kbps. I understand that if you are lucky enough to be in a Bell EVDO network area (Charlottetown and the surrounding 10 miles or so), speeds are much better, but 112 kbps is a marked improvement over the 24 kbps I was used to in dial up mode. There is (of course) a separate data plan for this service (which is apparently cheaper than merely paying the straight data charges).

This may not be the end of the story as I saw a Rogers ad last week that seems to promise high speed access anywhere you can plug a modem into an electrical outlet. The ad appeared in one of Canada’s national newspapers and the fine print did not contain any geographical exclusions (other than the “for details on coverage visit…), so I guess I will have to investigate this option too. Even 112 kbps makes internet and email work somewhat slow – I still imagine that I would be so much more productive on holidays with high speed.

But is there something wrong with my logic? Perhaps because it is summer, I seem to be seeing more articles about the need to “detach”. Are there people out there who actually turn off their Blackberries for hours at a time when on holidays or who don’t “dial in” once a day? Based on the number of postings I saw on SLAW last week, it seems that summer is when bloggers get really busy!


  1. Digital cabin fever: you’ve identified a growing malaise within the digitally connected community. Here’s an article on what you’ve just described, that came up when I reviewed my RSS feeds along with yours: