By the Internet Task Force
Current Internet service options in Big Canoe are unsatisfactory. They do not allow our community to achieve the objective of being the premier private mountain community in the Southeast. Big Canoe’s consultant Civitium states “Broadband infrastructure and services in the community are failing to meet the needs of many residents.”
A resident survey taken in December 2014 revealed:
- Slow Internet speeds are widespread
- The problem is in both Pickens and Dawson counties
- Speed is highly dependent on location of the home relative to technology
- The problem is more severe in Pickens county
- The average speed is <6Mbps
- The national average is 11.7Mbps
- Broadband is defined by the FCC as 25Mbps
- Average speed from survey is 25% of broadband definition
These speeds are for downloads, and uploads are significantly slower. The service provided is severely impacted negatively during periods of high activity. These speeds have gotten worse in many cases. When customers experience an outage the impact can be significant and the response time is prolonged. Cases have been cited for Windstream to take 5-15 days to respond to an outage.
The solution to the problem is fiber optic cable throughout the local system all the way to each home. Light signals can be transmitted over fiber cables at the speed of light. With today’s electronic technology that sends and receives the light signals, it is economical to transmit signals up to 10 Gigabits per second (10 Gbps). Theoretically, signals can be transmitted over copper wires (DSL or Cable) at speeds up to 100 Megabits per second. Those speeds are usually lower than their published rates due to the distance the signal is travelling over the wire and the amount of traffic on each wire. Civitium states “It is absolutely clear that fiber optics is the superior option to provide a strategic, long-term infrastructure for Big Canoe. This will remain so as there is no dialogue among mainstream scientists or researchers that would indicate any breakthrough for a more advanced physical medium.”
Over the last two and a half years, the Internet Task Force, chaired by Paul Goldstein, assisted the General Manager in documenting the needs of the community, finding a solution, and setting up relationships with technology partners. Early on, the POA contracted with the consulting firm Civitium to guide us through the process and to provide the industry and technical knowledge necessary for the project.
Property owners will be asked to approve the project via a referendum requiring approval by a majority of the votes cast.
Additional information regarding installation, services, cost, financing, and much more can easily be accessed at canoeconnect.org/.