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

Your Bigger And Better Packages Are Here!

Seasons Greetings!

Although we have had our ups and downs over the years, the East Shore Internet Society Board and Staff are always 100% committed to providing its members with the best possible service at the best possible price. Given we are small, that won’t always mean we can compete dollar for dollar with bigger corporate providers like TELUS Mobility, however we will always do the best we can. The geographic environment where we operate is extremely technically challenging and prevents us from providing a perfect wireless connection for all subscribers. We have taken this into consideration while coming up with our package offering.  We recognize that some subscribers have been underserved and disappointed with ESIS packages and we hope that the upcoming changes to your internet packages are seen as a bold step in the right direction.

Effective January 1, 2017 the following changes will take effect (Please note that Line-of-Sight is required to receive speeds advertised for Silver package and higher):

Package Cost/Month Speed up to NEW Monthly Data
Bronze             $50 + Tax 2Mbps down / 1.5Mbps up 75 GB
Copper             $70 + Tax 3Mbps down / 2Mbps up 100 GB
Silver                $90 + Tax 5Mbps down / 2.5Mbps up 125 GB
Gold                 $110 + Tax 8Mbps down / 3Mbps up 150 GB
Platinum           $155 + Tax 12Mbps down / 3Mbps up 200 GB
High Volume Platinum Call for Pricing 12Mbps down / 3Mbps up 400+ GB

The updated packages come at a time when your ESIS network can handle higher speeds and data bandwidth thanks to the Connecting Canadians project.

Our longer-term goal as a Board is to maintain strong positive growth within our Society. To do so, the Society needs to function as lean as possible with expenses while increasing its overall number of subscribers; the more subscribers we have, the more we can lower everyone’s costs. Although the East Shore doesn’t have much room to grow in terms of new subscribers, ESIS does also provide high-speed internet to Ainsworth and, soon in early 2017 to Woodbury. As areas of real potential growth, our plan for 2017 is to actively market to these communities with the goal of acquiring as many subscribers possible.

As members, you can help the Society by talking to your neighbours about ESIS as a high-speed internet provider and making sure you keep up with paying your bills. With your help, we can continue to thrive and contribute to the East Shore economy with local hires. ESIS is your Society; we own it together, we are all its stewards.

Lastly, we would like to address the rumours circulating that the ESIS Board attempted to prevent TELUS Mobility from providing Smart Hubs to East Shore residents. We can wholeheartedly confirm that no such request was made. We welcome other internet providers, in particular for ESIS subscribers who have felt underserved technically or financially by ESIS.

In other news

  • Connectivity Issues this Week: Subscribers might have noticed issues with their internet connections from sporadic drops in connectivity to slower speeds. Our Technical Support staff has identified the issue coming from ESIS’ own internet service provider. The problems seem to have subsided, but please don’t hesitate to contact support should you still be experiencing issues.
  • Holiday Office Closures: Please note that our offices will be closed December 24-26, 31 and January 1-2, however our Technical Support team can always be reached at 1 (844) 776-3747.
  • New Fee for Paper-based Invoicing and Documents: Effective February 1, 2016, subscribers requesting paper-based invoices or documents will be charged an additional $3 per invoice or document to cover associated administrative costs. Subscribers wishing to save the $3 per invoice or document are encourage to contact billing@eastshoreinternet.ca to request digital billing and document services.

Sincerely,
Your East Shore Internet Society Board

A Big Project Offers Big Results: Huge New ESIS Internet Packages Coming!

Since the start of the East Shore Internet Society, we have worked hard to offer members the best possible service at the best possible price.  Due to technical limitation, we’ve been unable to do so… until now.
 
The Connecting Canadians Project has been proceeding close to schedule and budget.  We are currently engaged in the second stage of a 3-stage project.  This stage, encompassing the major changes and upgrade of equipment within the existing ESIS network, is due for completion March 2017.  As of this time 85% of subscribers have equipment upgraded. 
 
What this means for ESIS subscribers is a more robust network that allows us to take a leap step in package offerings! 
 
Big Package Upgrades for All Subscribers
For starters, as of December we are upgrading everyone’s speed – depending on your location, you will receive speeds up to those listed in the table below.  Then in January, look for huge new data increases to ESIS packages, meaning up to twice the amount per subscriber.

Package         New Speeds
Bronze            2Mbps down / 1.5Mbps up
Copper             3Mbps down / 2Mbps up
Silver                5Mbps down / 2.5Mbps up
Gold                8Mbps down / 3Mbps up
Platinum           12Mbps down / 3Mbps up

 
Merry Christmas and Happy New year from the ESIS Board and staff.
 
Sincerely,
Your East Shore Internet Society Board