Getting connected

Rudy Norman
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Shoe Cove residents will have high speed Internet by end of June

Pansy Martin of Shoe Cove says she doesn’t consider herself technically savvy, but admits she’s gone exploring the latest gadgets and gizmos in the electronics aisle in an effort to get decent Internet service in her home.

“It’s unreal,” she told the Nor’wester this week. “All we have here is dial-up and it’s so frustrating trying to download something or to just browse the Internet.”

Martin, who used to work with the community and the Local Service District Committee, says she’s experienced as much frustration as anyone when trying to access files or documents on the World Wide Web.

“There was times we would try to download something, and it would just take too long,” she said. “We would have to download an application for our student projects, or something, and you’d just be waiting and waiting for it to download.”

Martin says she finally reached the point where she couldn’t take the frustrations of slow Internet access anymore. She realized when she travelled to nearby La Scie one day, that her cell phone actually had faster Internet than her home.

“After that, I used to not even bother with the dial-up at home. I’d just go to La Scie and do what I needed to do on my cell phone,” she recalls. Finally, she reached the point where the money being spent on home Internet service just wasn’t worth it.

“I didn’t want to pay for it anymore, because we were paying over $50 for Internet, and I could barely use it,” she explained. “I was using my cell phone more than the Internet on my computer.”

The problem, though, is there was no cell phone service in Shoe Cove. So Martin had to do more research.

“I went and got one of those cell phone boosters,” she said, describing a device that increases the cell phone service signal, and allows a cell phone antennae to have a longer range than normal.

Using the booster, Martin was able to pick up the cell service from the cell tower in La Scie. She then turned her phone into a wireless hotspot and connected her computer to the data on her cell phone.

“It took some trying, but I figured it out,” she says with a chuckle. “It’s not a perfect system, but at least I can have decent Internet when I need it.”

Martin says she’s also saving money, since the data package on her cell phone has never been as costly, monthly, as the dial-up Internet service she was using.

When the province announced last March that it would be expanding  broadband coverage to Shoe Cove, Martin was one of the people most excited.

“I figured it was about time, because this day and age it’s something you need, and something people expect,” she said.

However, like everyone else in her hometown, the year-long wait has been frustrating.

Arthur Taylor, General Manager for Newfoundland and Labrador with Eastlink, says his company will be a service provider for high speed internet, home phone and cable television in Shoe Cove, Brent’s Cove and Harbour Round by mid-June.

“We’re a little behind because of the construction,” said Taylor. “There was quite a large construction piece needed in order to get the service into these regions. We’re about a month behind on that, but we’re confident we can start taking on customers by the middle of June.”

Taylor says the company is currently doing the final testing on the infrastructure before they get people online. Once they do, he said, customers in Shoe Cove and the other areas will have access to Internet that’s on par with major urban areas, as well as television, including 160 High Definition channels.

“We’re excited to be offering our service to the people of these areas,” said Taylor. “They’ve been patient, and we think they’re going to be pleased with the outcome.”

For Martin, she says she’s anxious to finally have quality service in the place she’s lived all her life.

“It’s going to be good to finally get decent service,” she said. “For sure we’ve waited long enough for it.”

Organizations: Local Service District Committee, World Wide Web

Geographic location: Shoe Cove, La Scie, Newfoundland and Labrador

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