CityWest fields more Internet questions from Prince Rupert council

CityWest Marketing Manager Chad Cunningham was back presenting to council during a regular meeting.

CityWest Marketing Manager Chad Cunningham was back presenting to council during a regular meeting. He was there a month ago, but moments into his presentation a power outage prevented a broadcast of the council meeting.

Council felt the presentation was worth a repeat and invited Cunningham to return.

While Cunningham reiterated his previous presentation, he received more direct questions from city council members the second time around, who said some of the public has been asking them questions.

In April The Northern View ran an extensive article on Cunningham’s original presentation, primarily because of the power failure and the public’s limit to access the information.

We thought, however, it might be of interest to the readers what questions were posed by council the second time around and have focused on that here, rather than recapping the presentation for a second time.

When Councillor Anna Ashley asked if CityWest doesn’t pay for gigabyte transfers, Cunningham said that’s true.

“We haven’t suggested that’s how it works. The argument is that if I transfer one hundred gigabytes this month versus one gigabyte next month it doesn’t necessarily cost CityWest more, however as customers use more on average, they contribute to more congestion and more traffic on the internet, which forces us to have to buy more bandwidth to service the same number of customers,” he said.

As usage per customer goes up, the cost to serve each customer also increases, he added.

Councilllor Ashley also asked if the lower speeds that some people experience at times are related to high usage or people using more than their fair share of the internet during certain times of the day.

“If there is a lot of congestion on the network at a given point of time, and if we don’t have enough bandwidth, then yes the speeds and quality would be affected. It goes back to the necessity for us to keep upgrading bandwidth to service everyone,” answered Cunningham.

One of the ways of solving the bandwidth issue would be running a fibre link to Prince George, but it could cost more than CityWest could make a business case for.

It would come back to finding partnerships or funding for an infrastructure project, Cunningham said, suggesting there are options for the company to pursue.

At this point in time, CityWest is doing due diligence to determine what the price would be and exactly how much would be saved by putting in a fibre link.

“It may be that when we come to the bottom line of it all, that it’s not a feasible project. But when we’re standing in front of the regulator, at least we will have that in our hand to say, we’ve tried everything, and this is what we’ve been forced to do and it’s just not feasible for us to do this.  What’s happening is the corridor is suffering because of it. It would give us more ammunition to lobby for a better rate,” Cunningham told council.

Councillor Kathy Bedard asked what kind of reaction has been coming from the customers to the company’s plan to enforce limits.

“It seems like a fair process, a fee for a service provided. How is the general public reacting?” she asked.

With a few exceptions, Cunningham said, when people are dealt with one-on-one, they seem to be understanding and that’s what he’s heard from other staff.

“The biggest challenges are the myths floating around like it doesn’t cost CityWest more so what’s the big deal. If that were true, it wouldn’t be a big deal and we wouldn’t be looking for a solution to the problem,” he said.

“There’s also the belief that the CRTC said you couldn’t do this so what are you guys doing? Are you going to get fined or what’s going on here? The CRTC did say “no” to usage billing, but in certain cases and around wholesale arrangements that had nothing to do with retail pricing. It didn’t affect our wholesale, so they’re ruling didn’t even help us, which was unfortunate,” Cunningham added.

Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne asked if CityWest’s prices and caps are competitive with other companies and heard they are the same.

“The price for going over the cap is $2 per gigabyte with Telus and with us,” he said.

When asked for a timeline by Councillor Gordon-Payne, Cunningham answered CityWest is hoping to have an online portal by June or July where customers can access information about their own internet usage and after that’s implemented,  will be given another two months before the company starts to enforce limits.

Around the same time, the company will release new plans that are more closely tied to internet usage and customers will be able to switch if they choose.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hays Creek in Prince Rupert requires more than $1.5 million to repair the creek and walls built in the 1950s and 1960s, Prince Rupert City Council heard on Jan. 25. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert City Council briefs:

More than $1.5 million needed to restore Hays Creek in Prince Rupert

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Most Read