Like hundreds of thousands of rural residents and businesses, many of you may think the chance of getting a high-speed Internet connection to their home or business is probably slim or not likely all, especially in rural areas like the Laurentian lakes and mountains.
In a large percentage of big cities, most people can get high speed access with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have access to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or hybrid fiber coaxial cable systems and take such services for granted.
However, a large majority of Quebecers living in rural areas and suburbs have been overlooked by the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) or Cable Operators.
The good news is that instead of getting a wired connection to the Internet, a growing number of individuals, neighbourhoods and businesses have discovered Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs). Wireless connectivity is the most cost-effective way to bring high-speed Internet connections to small, medium and large pockets of Internet users that still do not have broadband Internet access.
New broadband wireless technology is making it possible for users to connect to the Internet, receive email, surf web pages, without modems or phones lines, regardless of location.
In addition, the wireless connections let users send and receive information at high speeds, normally exceeding the speeds offered by dial-up connections by as much as 50 times. The higher speeds that can be achieved can be a boon to small businesses, home offices and high-profile Internet surfers that want to surf the Internet and connect to the office to send and receive large files at much higher speeds than dial-up connections will allow.
Pierre LeBlanc is one such customer of the 3rd largest fixed wireless Internet service provider in the Laurentians. This WISP whose network spans from St-Jerome to Mont-Tremblant. Rising from the fields on Pierre's gently sloping farm is an embryonic symbol of 21st-century rural Quebec: a small hidden tower with a wireless high-speed link to the Internet.
Whether he' is in the den of his log cabin home, or on his dock by the lake, LeBlanc can surf the Internet and send-receive email. With the click of a mouse, LeBlanc can access his security system while traveling anywhere in the world.
Until recently, Leblanc did not have a good high-speed option: Cable does not reach his area, the phone company wanted too much money to bring in DSL, and satellite service was spotty and too expensive. Leblanc can also benefit from more affordable voice telephony with almost free long distance service.