Animated meeting about Videotron tower plans
Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alec VanZuiden looked like he needed to spread the good word on behalf of Videotron plans to bring a cell tower in his village at Monday’s sometime heated information session.
Videotron’s attempt to sway Ayer’s Cliff residents to accept a tower in their city met with some hostility and a lot of questioning.
The two Videotron minions sent to defend the company proposal were, it must be said, not ready for prime time. Far, far away from the Bell people, whom you almost – after a while– start to believe. When the answer that this newspaper gets when it asks a technical question is that they don’t give answers to the press, you have a feeling of déja vu.
The first question asked was about supplying the contour map, on which we can visualize what type of reception users are getting today and what they will get tomorrow if a new tower is installed.
Videotron admitted at the beginning of their presentation that the new tower will mostly result in better LTE services, the goal of all wireless carriers being to offer the same experience as a high-performance Wi-Fi available on your smartphone. It is less a question of coverage than capacity. You can have coverage, and it seems that the network does, but the capacity is not there. And capacity is what the wireless world is looking for to make money.
Complicating the matter is that Videotron uses a different technology than the Bell network to provide its service, something so simple to explain that the Videotron people should have answered right away. Nor will it ever be possible for Verizon, an American carrier, to operate in Canada anytime soon.
So while the two Videotron employees did their best to answer inquiries from the audience, they were no match for some citizens who had questions that they could not and should have been able to answer.
The process is flawed from the beginning since Industry Canada, who depends on the fees of the carriers for its operation, is the final arbiter of the process. As for the health issues, they are at the same stage as cigarettes were in the 1950s: no truly independent studies being done and data often provided by the industry itself.
All this will also be the case soon in North Hatley, this time with Bell. Citizens may complain as much as they can, but the march of progress –and watching cats on your smartphone anywhere you want– is unstoppable.