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Friday, 22-Mar-2019 — Clearing a Path For WISPs

Canada, Australia and New Zealand Cellular Services now include Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP), as shown at the right. This is in addition to the cellular providers these services have always provided.

WISP is popular in rural areas or where population density is too low to economically support cable, DSL or FTTx broadband service. Plans from larger Canadian WISP providers cost $100 / month and provide a multi-hundred gigabyte cap with 25 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.

We have another subscription plan (please contact us for details) that includes all Canadian WISPs registered with ISED, including ABC Comm., Birch Hill, Maskatel, TeraGo, Silo Wireless, Seaside, WireIE, PRiS, SSI Micro, Groupe Acces, Suncor Energy, BSurfer, Point To Point, CanWAN, NETAGO, CCL, Execulink, Murphy Oil, BCN, Nexicom, DoubleF, EION, AireNet, Kingston Online, Internexe, I Want Wireless, CORE Broadband, NorthWind, Coop Pierre-de Saurel, Thomas Comm., Comcentric, Andrews Wireless, RECNS, Imperial Oil, High Speed Crow, Vecima, ICAWireless, Columbia Wireless, Askivision, Navigata, Maskoutain, Mightypeace, Morad Comm., Cable Amos, Slave Lake, Syban, Rural Wave, CommStream, Storm, Beacon Broadband, Chatham, Targo, ONDEnet, FlexiNET, Voom Internet, KWIC, 3CIS, CCI Net, North Nova Cable, Vincent Comm., Signal Direct, Missing Link Internet, Comm. Charlevoix, Megawire, Tough Country, Cascade Divide, VISP, IASL, Stafford Comm., WTCComm, Petron, Redbird, Telesignal, Rionet Wireless, WiBand, Cardinal Telecom, Frontier Wireless, AlbertaCom, Sniper Comm., Swift Internet, OmniTEC, GoZoom, GPNetworks, LyttonNet and IGS Hawkesbury.

Canadian WISPs
WISP options in Canada Cellular Services filter
Australian WISPs
WISP options in Australia Cellular Services filter
New Zealand WISPs
WISP options in New Zealand Cellular Services filter

Thursday, 14-Mar-2019 — Submission of Technical Information

Canada's 600MHz auction is now underway. Conditions outlined in Technical, Policy and Licensing Framework for Spectrum in the 600 MHz Band (pdf) will require licensees to

provide, and maintain, up-to-date technical information on a particular station or network in accordance with the definitions, criteria, frequency and timelines specified in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-1-23, Licensing Procedure for Spectrum Licences for Terrestrial Services (pdf).

Section 5.11 Submission of Technical Information from CPC-2-1-23 states

Industry Canada requires technical information associated with radiocommunication installations covered by the spectrum licence in order to carry out certain spectrum management responsibilities. To provide this capability, Industry Canada requires information in order to maintain an up-to-date technical database of radiocommunication installations.

Typically, licensees will be required to submit this data to Industry Canada on a monthly basis or as otherwise required, as well as prior to the operation of each new radiocommunication installation. When an existing radiocommunication installation is modified such that the associated data elements are amended, the licensee must also provide Industry Canada with the updated technical information.

Conditions outlined in Licensing Framework for Residual Spectrum Licences in the 700 MHz and AWS-3 Bands, from 2015, also require licensees to submit technical information prior to the operation of their AWS-3 installation. Yet, as mentioned last month, information arrived 27 months after Freedom began operation of their AWS-3 installation.

Wednesday, 6-Mar-2019 — SMS Snapshot for March 2019

Each month, ISED releases a snapshot of cell site data from their Spectrum Management System (SMS). We perform many quality checks on each snapshot, including the monitoring of site and channel counts over time:

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel and Eastlink from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel and Eastlink from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019

The top-left graph shows a precipitous drop in Rogers and Bell (in blue and grey) site counts in Dec 2018 and Jan 2019, respectively. Bell site counts rebounded this month, but Rogers have not.

Most of Roger's "missing" sites are in Quebec, where their site, channel and bandwidth counts dropped 35%, 21% and 24%, respectively. Is Rogers leaving the Quebec market? This recent news release suggests otherwise:

Today [Feb. 05, 2019], Rogers announced that it is improving wireless service in seven cities in Quebec, including Gatineau, Boischatel, Quebec City, Montreal, St-Eustache, Blainville and Terrebonne. Rogers and Fido customers in these areas will have a faster, more reliable and consistent wireless experience than ever before.

No, Rogers isn't leaving Quebec. Instead, this drop signifies a quality issue with SMS snapshots from Dec 2018 to present.

On a related note, the bottom two graphs show an improvement to Videotron and Eastlink site and channel counts.

Monday, 11-Feb-2019 — SMS Snapshot for February 2019

Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel and Eastlink from Jan 2017 to Feb 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel and Eastlink from Jan 2017 to Feb 2019

The graphs above include ISED's Feb 2019 SMS snapshot, which shows a 15% and 71% increase in Freedom (in blue) site and channel counts, respectively. This increase includes 2,648 AWS-3 (band 66) channels, purchased for $56 million in Mar 2015 and deployed starting in Nov 2016.

These AWS-3 channels should have first appeared in the Feb 2017 SMS snapshot, not two years later.

Both graphs also show Videotron (in red) disappearing completely from Canada's wireless landscape, and Eastlink (in orange) losing more than half its channel count. For Videotron and Eastlink, the Feb 2019 SMS snapshot is invalid.

As mentioned last month, SMS snapshots should never be used as-is. Canada Cellular Services constantly monitors the quality of SMS snapshots, incorporating other proprietary and 3rd party data sources as needed.

Friday, 25-Jan-2019 — Cell Tower Fashion

The Eastmark Cell Tower in Mesa, Arizona (at right) shows that a cell tower can be something nice to look at. According to this article:

Early in the community's planning, the Eastmark Development Team self-imposed a requirement in the zoning documents to ensure all Eastmark cell towers have some form of camouflage. Yet, they felt the "fake tree" design attracted rather than detracted attention, so they looked beyond the camouflage solutions currently available in the market.

Upon completion, the Eastmark project team said the design reminded them of: Marshmallows on a stick ... A car engine cam shaft ... Spinning plates on a stick ... and Flying saucers.

You can visit its location here.

Cell tower, fashionable designed

Monday, 7-Jan-2019 — SMS Snapshot = Jigsaw Puzzle Piece

Canada Cellular Services uses our proprietary cell site database, data files direct from wireles carriers, and monthly Spectrum Management System (SMS) snapshots from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).

These SMS snapshots are popular with Canada's wireless industry, but as we explain below, should never be used as-is.

We organize each SMS snapshot into site location records and channel emission records. Roughly speaking, site counts measure network coverage and channel counts measure network capacity. The graphs below track site and channel counts over the past two years.

Jigsaw puzzle pieces with one piece separated

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019 Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel and Eastlink from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel and Eastlink from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019

The top-left graph shows Rogers and Bell site counts (in blue and grey) accurately (until a few months ago) tracking the growth of their wireless networks. Compare that with Telus site and channel counts (in red) which vary wildly.

The bottom two graphs show Eastlink site and channel counts (in orange) continuously tracking the growth of their wireless network. In contrast, Freedom counts (in blue) show only one change, in Sep 2017, suggesting SMS snapshots are not continuously tracking the growth of their wireless network.

Other issues with SMS snapshots include field values off by orders of magnitude, and site locations off by 100s of meters.

In theory each SMS snapshot should offer a complete picture of Canada's wireless landscape at a point in time. In reality, each SMS snapshot is only one small piece of a much larger jigsaw puzzle. We have been solving these puzzles for a very long time. To obtain an accurate picture of Canada's wireless landscape, we back-fill with historical data, replace with data files direct from wireless carriers, adjust incorrect values and reposition site locations.

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