An­i­mated meet­ing about Videotron tower plans

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff, Ayer's Cliff

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.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

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