SUMMER STARTS AT ESIS

As the summer starts to settle on the East Shore, ESIS is happy to report that everything is running smoothly. We have been getting quite a few new installs, which has kept the field staff busy. The field techs. have also kept up with improvements to the network. There is a new tower at Queens Bay which will give better service to the east shore of Kootenay Lake. Matt has been busy upgrading the servers for better efficiency and back- up improvements. The fibre drop at Blue Point is up and running and several new radios have been installed on the tower there. These new radios and the fibre drop will give excellent coverage, in both speed and data available, to the Boswell and Sanca areas. ESIS is now able to supply good reliable high speed internet to most people from Sanca Creek to north of Riondel on the East Shore as well as from Woodbury to Proctor on the West shore. There are plans to put up a 100 Ft. tower at Kokanee Springs Golf Resort this summer. The tower and related hardware should be arriving near the end of June thanks to Gord Jeffery for hauling from Calgary.

ESIS is your society, run for your behalf by the staff and Board of Director.

Thank you for your support.

2017 ESIS Annual General Meeting: A Year in Review

On Tuesday May 23rd, the East Shore Internet Society held its Annual General Meeting.  A special thank you to the 30 plus members who attended!  For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a summary of what you missed:

A Year in Review

Garth Norris walked us through the last year, highlighting upgrades to the Blue Point access with a new fiber building, a tower rescue course ESIS’ support team participated in, the generous grant of a truck by Simon Hann from Pilot Bay, a review of promises the Board made and followed through with from last year’s AGM, as well as a look at the package upgrades made throughout the year. Overall, a very good operational year with many successes thanks to many people’s involvement and commitment.  Garth also took the opportunity to explain why the Board needed to raise the away rate back to $20/month, how the away rate caps at $100, clarified issues surrounding membership in the society and confirmed the Board is actively taking steps towards complying with the New Societies Act.

ESIS Treasurer Brian Philp shared 2016 financial statements, demonstrating how ESIS is currently managing the Connecting Canadians Project funds and how it is maintaining its financial health. With an overall net increase in its subscriber base, income was up from previous years.  To the question “How are we doing?” he responded: “ESIS has money in the bank and doing well.”  Good news!

Connecting Canadians Project

Board President Fraser Robb reviewed the high-level 3-year project plan and emphasised the success that most subscribers have now been upgraded to new equipment.  In the coming year, phase 3 of the project will see new towers as well as upgrades to some existing towers, bringing completion to the project, potentially ahead of schedule, by December 2017.  Exciting news was shared that thanks for its expansion, ESIS has established a new client-base in Woodbury and looking to do the same in Procter.  The increase in subscribers will help sustain ESIS with additional revenue.  Fraser confirmed that the project is a success as a result of the work of many, with special thanks to ESIS staff’s initiative and dedication as well as the many hours invested by the Board and members of the local community.

Elections

The members thanked outgoing Board Members Mel Gale, Brian Philp and Dan Séguin for their work over the past year and a half.  Elections welcomed two new Board Members Dave Blair and Ivy Jeffery who will each serve a two-year term.  Directors rolling over from the last Board will serve a one-year term.  The staggered terms are a result of a newly accepted resolution now in place to ensure institutional memory and a higher degree of Board continuity.  As a result of this year’s elections, the ESIS Board is now: Richard Bertram, Dave Blair, Ivy Jeffery, Garth Norris, Fraser Robb, and Rose Strom

The AGM was an evening to come together to celebrate this year’s accomplishments and look to ESIS’ bright future.  It’s also a time of year when we are reminded that ESIS is our society – it is only as healthy as the community that chooses to directly support it.  It only continues thanks to the tireless efforts of those who choose to roll up their sleeves and help out.  So, for those who like fast and reliable internet, please reach out to the new Board and ask “how can I help?”  There are opportunities for folks of all ages and skill-sets.  Get involved!

For more information, you can review the documents below or get in touch with the Board at board@eastshoreinternet.ca

Happy summer!
Your East Shore Internet Society Board & Staff

ESIS in Spring: Faster Speeds, More Data, AGM Date and Board Nominations

 

ESIS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT
Tuesday May 23rd, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Crawford Bay HallThe whole community is invited and each subscriber-account
in good standing will have a vote.

After a long, long winter, spring has finally sprung!  Spring is often seen as a time for renewal, growth, and expansion; we feel it in the air.  At ESIS, the season comes with exciting news for all its subscribers – enough of the Connecting Canadians network upgrades are in place that we can now offer all subscribers speeds of 5Mbps.  And what’s more speed if you don’t have more data, therefore we’ve increased data packages as well.  The great news?  This all comes at no extra cost to subscribers!

Faster with More Data: Newly Revised Packages
Effective April 1st, all ESIS packages will receive significant upgrades at no extra cost.  We are pleased to announce that all subscribers will receive an increase in speed and data, regardless of their package.  One caveat is that although ESIS will do its best effort to achieve the posted speeds, in some instances subscriber geographical location may prevent maximum speeds from being realized.

Package Cost/Month NEW Speeds NEW Monthly Data
Bronze            $50 + Tax 5Mbps down / 1.5Mbps up 100 GB
Copper             $70 + Tax 6Mbps / 2Mbps up 150 GB
Silver                $90 + Tax 8Mbps / 2.5Mbps up 300 GB
Gold                $110 + Tax 12Mbps / 3Mbps up 400 GB
Platinum           $155 + Tax 15Mbps / 3Mbps up 600 GB
High Volume
Platinum
Call for Pricing 15Mbps / 3Mbps up 600+ GB

New Less Expensive Installation Charge
As way to entice new customers to join or rejoin ESIS, we are reducing the cost for a new installation from $150 to $100. Of course, we live in challenging geographies therefore some extraordinary installations may require an extra mast, additional networking equipment, very long cable, or interior cabling.  In such cases, additional charges may apply. These charges are always confirmed with new subscribers prior to the work being done. So, if you know folks who aren’t with ESIS, make sure they know about this new info!

Update to Away Rate
Although in many areas our financial review allowed us to increase packages and reduce installation cost, we determined the we needed to increase the “Away Rate” from $5/month to $20/month.  This shift is in support of ESIS’ long-term financial viability and in line with what other internet providers offer.  This new rate will become effective next time a subscriber begins a new “away period”.  Subscribers currently on an “away period” will remain at the $5/month rate until they restart their service.

Board Nominations
The ESIS Board is seeking an “expression of interest” from those who might be interested in joining the ESIS Board of Directors.  This is an Operational Board, meaning directors are responsible for organizational governance as well as some operational tasks.  We are seeking a commitment that requires monthly meetings as well as some work in-between.

As the society seeks to maximize both skills and geographical diversity of its Board members, our current Board needs include expertise in: Internet Technologies & Networking, Finances, Engineering, Marketing & Communications, Project Management, and Human Resources.  We welcome potential Board members from all geographies served by ESIS, such as: Crawford Bay, Gray Creek, Riondel Rd, Kootenay/Pilot Bay, Boswell, etc.

If you are interested, please submit your expression of interest to the Board before May 10th (board@eastshoreinternet.ca). Please include brief synopsis of skills you bring to the table, where you live, your availability throughout the year, and any other information you think would be helpful for the nominating committee.  And if you think someone you know might be a good fit, please suggest they submit an expression of interest (do not submit someone else’s name for nomination!). The Board will act as nomination committee by vetting expressions of interest to maximize diversity and needed skills, and then presenting the nominees as a slate for voting at the AGM on Tuesday May 23rd.
As always, we thank all those who support the East Shore Internet Society as subscribers, volunteers, staff and community members.  It’s only with your ongoing encouragement that the society, your society, can continue to thrive.

Happy Spring!
Your East Shore Internet Society Board & Staff

ESIS and KiN Enter into a Cooperative Working Agreement

One benefit that comes from being a not-for-profit internet society is the opportunity to collaborate and connect (rather than compete) with other like-minded organizations such as the Kaslo infoNet Society (KiN).  Formed in 1996, KiN is dedicated to achieving local access to global information and creating a presence for the North Kootenay Lake communities on the World Wide Web.  Over the past several years, KiN has ventured past wireless connectivity and into fiber optics.

Recently, ESIS and KiN have been in discussions to explore possible ways of collaborating in their shared mission to bring affordable and reliable high-speed internet service to Kootenay Lake communities.  As of mid-January 2017, the two societies agreed develop a cooperative working agreement through which we will collaborate and share knowledge, particularly with regards to fibre optic infrastructure.

In order to develop its knowledge of fibre optic infrastructure and installation, ESIS and KiN will work together on fibre distributions KiN is already planning for 2017. KiN’s Board has agreed to support ESIS’ suggestion to begin the fibre collaboration as soon as possible.

With its new knowledge, ESIS aims to begin developing a long-term vision for installing fibre on the East Shore.  Plans are now being mapped, and thanks to new funding opportunities on the horizon, ESIS sees the possibility of at least a pilot fibre project on the East Shore in the coming years.

Meanwhile, our Technical Support staff and volunteers continue to move forward with the Connecting Canadians project, most recently having relocated our Ainsworth Access Points from the Mermaid Lodge to the Ainsworth Hot Springs hotel rooftop for a more sustainable tower partnership.  Equipment upgrades continue and latest news is that there are now only 25 older Trango radio units remaining in service.  We are also pleased to share that largely thanks to equipment donated by Backwoods Solar, our Crystal Lake off-grid tower site is burning less than half the propane that was used last year.

Looking to the future, as long as the need remains and it is within our capacity to fill it, ESIS will continue to build out our infrastructure, expand coverage and improve service at the most affordable price.  In recognition of other regional community networks and the shared mutual need to achieve sustainable scales of operation, ESIS is committed to working in collaboration with our neighbouring internet societies, such as KiN, who share the vision of accessible connectivity for the entire Kootenay Lake Valley.  As our respective independent networks mature the ultimate goal is to build upon this and establish meaningful connections between them, forming the basis of a lake spanning wireless and fiber network from an association of autonomous, community-based organizations.  On that note, a big thank you to all those who continue to choose ESIS as their internet service provider; it’s only through your continued support that we can thrive and put our shared community-minded values into practice.

Lastly, please note that as of February 1st, ESIS’ office will move to Room 10 in the Crawford Bay Motel. Our phone number remains the same as well as our office hours from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.

Sincerely,
Your East Shore Internet Society Board & Staff

Clarifying the Question of Competition and TELUS

On December 27th, to help clarify a question arising in the community around a non-compete clause with ESIS , we communicated with the TELUS kiosk in Nelson to find out why they were no longer providing Smart Hubs to the East Shore. We learned that both the kiosk and SK Electronics received a formal letter from TELUS Corporate referring to a non-compete clause within an agreement similar to the Connecting British Columbia Agreement originally signed in 2011. Here’s a link to the original agreement: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/about-the-bc-government/strategic-partnerships/contract-administration-administrator-s-office/cbca.pdf

Below are some facts pulled from the original 2011 agreement. The original agreement:

  • Was signed in 2011 between the TELUS COMMUNICATION COMPANY and the BC PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT.
  • Outlines a “non-compete” provision (p.12) that prevents TELUS from entering regions that have existing Internet Services Providers (e.g. ESIS).
  • Provides a list of 119 communities that fall into the non-compete provision, including Crawford Bay and Riondel (See Schedule B).
  • Is for an initial duration of 3 years to 2014, however it also outlines that the Provincial Government and TELUS can renew the non-compete provision. The TELUS kiosk said that the formal letter from TELUS Corporate states that the current agreement runs until 2021. ESIS has not received communications regarding the extension, but have phone messaged into the Provincial Government for clarification.
  • Seems to articulate that that cellular network services are exempt from the non-compete, but TELUS seems to not be making the distinction with the Smart Hubs.

In summary, ESIS is formally unaware of any revised or any extension to the non-compete agreement; it is between TELUS and the Provincial Government. The actions taken by TELUS to prevent East Shore residents from acquiring Smart Hubs comes as much of a surprise to us as anyone else. From ESIS’ standpoint, we would welcome other internet providers, in particular for subscribers who have felt underserved technically or financially by ESIS.

The government does have a phone number on their webpage for those who would like more information: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/communications-technology/internet-in-bc