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    Amanda ONeill
    ATTN: WBBI users
    Topic posted August 10, 2012 by Amanda ONeillBronze, last edited August 22, 2012, tagged Internet 
    15834 Views, 79 Comments
    ATTN: WBBI users

    Did you know that WBBI (Wireless BroadBand Internet) is scheduled for shutdown ON or BEFORE Dec 2012?

    You will NOT receive any credits for your existing equipment costs

    Depending on your area you may find your only other option for Internet will be Xplornet

    Sasktel has no provisions in place or protocols in place to help current WBBI Internet users switch to a service of equal or greater speeds and quality.


    Let me start by saying I have been a loyal customer of Sasktel for over 5 years now. i pay over 200$ a month in cell,home phone,Internet and extras every month. Want to know how I learned about WBBI getting discontinued?I didn't receive a call, a notice, NOTHING. I noticed on sasktel's website WBBI was not offered anymore and called to ask why and was told it was not available to new customers anymore due to the planned phasing out of the service........WHAT? no communication to me about this? no 6 month warning? NOTHING from sasktel about this, its been all up to me to learn these things.

    So needless to say I was not pleased to learn this and today i called sasktel to clarify a few things.I learned today that my 250$ investment into the wbbi equipment will not be reimbursed. On top of that my ONLY other option that will be avail in my area will be the xplornet service....that is it! If you completely ignore ALL the bad publicity on xplornet that is all over the web and simple look at the cost of the system its really looking bad for me. To put me in the xplornet service the costs are as follows....

      Essential Advantage Performance
    Description Great for casual surfing and email Ideal for moderate surfing and online transactions Excellent for intense surfing and file sharing
    Monthly Service Fee (3-yr, 2-yr & No Contract)1 $54.99 $59.99 $89.99
    One-time Activation Fee
    (3-yr contract)
    (2-yr contract)
    (No contract)



    Basic Installation Fee1 FREE FREE FREE
    Download speed (up to)2 1.5 Mbps 3.0 Mbps 5.0 Mbps

    i pay 60$ a month for wbbi and that system runs flawlessly for me, its not the fastest at 2.0Mbps but its reliable, great latency for gaming and very few issues over the years. that means to put me in a comparable service with xplornet I need to get essential or advantage packages. on a per month its pretty close at 54.99 and 59.99 and the ADVERTISED speeds are close, i say advertised because xplornet is widely known to NOT give you those UP TO speeds often and that's not even considering the 1000+latency sat systems can have. OK now what about those contract charges? OH MY GOD, so to have no contract i need to shell out 549$?? even a 2year is still costing more then my WBBI equipment did by 100$.


    So the contract terms and cost got me thinking more so my next question for the sasktel rep I was talking to was this:

    So i decide to switch to xplornet, i fork out 349$ and sign a 2year contract since it gets my start up costs closest to my wbbi costs, 6 months later sasktel finishes some upgrades and a new Internet service hits my area from sasktel that's faster,better, and directly from sasktel not some well known to be a BAD company like xplornet. Can i switch? well not without a HUGE cost because I'm locked into a contract with xplornet so I end up having 2 Internet connections if i want to enjoy the new service.

    I put this to the sasktel rep and they had nothing to plan to help anyone if that situation arises, no protocols to allow us to get back with sasktel....NOTHING!

    ARRRRG i wanna pull my hair out after learning some of these things, how can they do this to customers? is the WBBI customer base so small they just don't care enough to look out for us? I feel like I'm getting screwed over and forced into xplornet because they don't want to invest the money or time to properly bring Internet to the rural customers like myself. Why are they even shutting down the WBBI if its not to improve the service available to those customers? answer? from the sasktel rep "only reason to stop providing a service is because its not profitable" Well you have only yourself to blame for that sasktel. In my town I know MANY people who cant get WBBI here because the tower is located 14km's away and is just slightly out of LOS due to the geography. If they would have invested and brought a repeater somewhere closer they could have pulled in MANY more customers for the service here but instead they did nothing and guess what! a small ISP from Alberta came into town and provided service to those people, locked them into contracts and you wont see those people come to you now because YOU didn't try to bring service here. OH and they have Voip too so I'm sure your losing local phone customers too with this. I guess it all boils down to greed, why provide service to a small town when you make millions more off the big 9 right? 

    OH and to put some salt in my wound as if it isn't a slap to the face enough. 1.5years ago FIBER line box was placed outside my home to run fiber to the local bank and that time they still have not offered it to the local residents and I still cant get an answer if/when/or ever will it be. *** they wouldn't even admit what it was till I told them I KNEW it was because i talked to the installers when it was getting done.



    SASKTEL......your really frustrating me right now, WBBI should not be shutdown till you have a replacement service ready to take over, all your doing is driving me away and I hope after others learn what I have, they will be frustrated with you too. Saskatchewan is not simply those large 9 communities its an entire province that YOU promised to bring service to.



    EDIT: adding some info to this post as i uncover it

    So aparently theres some offer going out to WBBI customers for xplornet, I havent seen the letter so if any WBBI customer who has could remove their personal info from the letter and post it here for me plz? would like to see what this offer is.


    New info from Induystry Canada, they are the ones who sell and distribute the freq sprectrums that WBBI used. Well according to Industry Canada regina office, sasktel has known of the lose of the spectrum for 3 years now and didnt do anything IMO to have options for WBBI customers available. 


    EDIT : For those who havent stumbled over why Xplornet is so bad here is ONE example of what they do to customers


    • Amber

      Hi Amanda.  We understand your frustration over this change. Around the end of August, we'll be sending a letter to all WBBI customers explaining the details. We're sorry we weren't able to send the letter sooner. After receiving your letter, if you have any questions for us, please use ask a question or start a chat through our support area.

    • Joe Bergman

      Well I've bout had it with sasktel.  Cuts my service and leaves me stuck with $500 worth of useless equipment.  Offers me explorenet but I'd have to destroy some really nice trees to get satellite service which I do not really want anyway.  I'll be going with another service provider for my internet now.  And  changing my cell phone contract to another provider as well when it comes up for renewal.  Maybe even my landline too if I can see another alternative.  Thanks Sasktel for leaving me and rural Saskatchewan stuck with some expensive equipment and NO service.

    • Todd Ector

           There was hope that with the bringing of Fibre-optics into town to improve the bandwidth for the cell-phone users that we would finally see wired internet in Elbow.  

           In today's connected world they are pushing more and more information onto the internet, many things like movie rentals, installing software, updates and even restoring computers from either a failed hard drive or serious crash is more and more done through the internet.

           Restoring an Apple Macintosh as I did recently was over 4.5 Gb alone for operating system download. Apple only allows you to download the operating system, they do not ship restore media with any products. It was another 240 Mb for system updates and 1.8 Gb's of software before the system was ready to put back into service.

           With a few exceptions, almost all software is now download only. System updates frequently are 250 Mb to 1.5 Gb, no matter if its for your anti-virus, operating system or programs.

           The plans Amanda mentions above are missing a very important fact, the monthly usage allowance as Xplornet refers to it at 10, 20 and 30 gigs a month are suitable for a cellphone package, but totally inadequate for anything but the lightest mail users.  My understanding from the fustrated users in Alberta using the 4G system of Xplornet is there is a 4 Gb daily limit also, so the mac I just restored would now have to go to the city to be restored, as it required over 6 Gb alone to get it up and running.  The same users are complaining of slow to no internet during peak usage hours, not a good sign with a brand new system supposed to support up to 1.5 million subscribers. 

           One would think with all the money being spent updating the cities to offer 250 Mb service that there would be equipment to be repurposed to service the smaller rural centres that already have fibre-optic lines.  ( Yes it runs within 10 feet of our house too.)

           To be fair I understand it costs more to provide service to us in rural areas, I don't personally expect a lot from my internet.  A connection much like we have with the WBBI system is perfectly adequate for most people.  ( Currently 2.0 Mb down, 260 Kb up )

      A wired connection with simular speeds, no data caps or at least much higher ones (75 - 200 Gb's a month ) with good uptime are a minumum requirement for a computer connected to the internet. 

           Xplornet provides a important service where there is no other options available, but satellite is to expensive to used except as an absolute last resort. 

           While I am fustrated at the loss of the money invested in equipment, that is also the cost of living in rural Saskatchewan.  I am angry at Sasktel for providing a service just getting us into the 1990's only a few years later to be told unless you are weathly, you can't have a decent internet connection anymore.  On the current plans provided by Xplornet, my $60.00 a month internet would cost me over $200.00. 

           I and the residents of Elbow hope that sasktel has a better answer than Xplornet for us.

    • Amanda ONeill

      one would think with all the money being spent updating the cities to offer 250 Gb service that there would be equipment to be repurposed to service the smaller rural centres that already have fibre-optic lines.  ( Yes it runs within 10 feet of our house too.)

      this is a very good point you make Todd and one i did not even consider.


       With a few exceptions, almost all software is now download only. System updates frequently are 250 Mb to 1.5 Gb, no matter if its for your anti-virus, operating system or programs. 

      Not only all the updates, re-installs when kids mess up stuff but also games are huge consumer of data, many of my sons xbox games or even my computer games run in the 10gig or more area. It really limits the amount of games or software my family can DL when caps are so small and streaming movies is totally out of question once we lose WBBI for us. feels like my family is about to go back 5 years in time.

    • Todd Ector

          Yes at home the current plan if we are forced to is, turn off all autoupdates on the computers for the operating system and software including the antivirus.  Disconnect the Wii, Xbox and Internet radio from the system completely.  I will have to disable my steam somehow also, as most new games for the PC are also exclusively on the internet download, and require a connection to play them too. 


           We have yet to get into the Netflix / movie thing yet, but watch many videos from other sites like YouTube and such.  Worse yet almost all movie rentals are exclusively online, and for 24 hour rentals only.  If you don't watch it that night, you have to download it again. 


           At work will be much the same we will be forced to disable the autoupdates again, disallow streaming of any kind audio or video, limit online training to only the essentials, restrict the WiFi usage by phones of customers and service techs when they are here.  There are higher limits available for business clients, but the reports from the current users on the 4G system say its pointless as they are already have service techs tell them that the satillite is unable to keep up to the demand.  Some reports of outages for a day or more, not really acceptable for business usage, emails are essential to be delivered and received in a timely manner.  Most companies already expect a responce in less than a 1/2 hour and will send repeated emails assuming that the first one got lost along the way. 


    • Todd Ector
      Upon reading for a while on Industry Canada's web site, I think that I am beginning to understand what Sasktel has been working against. If I understand what I am reading correctly the bandwidth used for the WBBI service is basically being recalled under an international agreement, to be reissued after another round of bidding. Sasktel in its review and comments on the regulations has tried to keep the rights to provide the WBBI service, or failing that requesting the any winning bidder be required to provide service to their rural customers. As you all know there is little to no real profit in providing service to us in the rural areas, the infrastructure costs are simply to high to offer the service at a profit, that's why there is no competition in the rural internet. If Bell, Rogers, etc should say win the bid for our area would they provide a service to us, I highly doubt it, they can't be bothered to provide their own cell towers never mind internet. Their idea of economical service is economical to them, but not to the end customer. Unlike some larger centers our wages are nowhere close to the "average" for the province. Our costs are higher due to the requirement for travel for almost everything we do. I quite sure if any provider in the cities charged $2.00+ per Gb on their internet connection they would have no customers in month or so. Sasktel was trying to keep the existing system up and running, I would expect them to do so as they have a large investment in equipment and resources and its a huge loss to them and the province to have to shut them down so soon. Its not their fault that they have shut it down, but its still frustrating from a consumer point of view that soon we will have not a reliable and economical internet connection. Maybe its time to start camping out in the local library, at least they have a connection.
    • Joe Bergman

      I see there is another wireless service called Yourlink that offers rural internet of similar speeds to the Sasktel WBBI and for the same cost or less.  Anybody know anything about this one?

    • Todd Ector
       YourLink can be a good option for those that can get a signal, technically we are in a service area here for them. In our case though the signal strength isn't adequate for our area, basically there is a hill between us and their tower and these systems are all line of site. I would be concerned that they also may be forced to shutdown some of their services too, as they are running on the same frequencies as the Sasktel WBBI system. I would assume that they would be held to the same requirements as Sasktel is.
    • Calvin Smith

      YourLink is separate from Sasktel.  They have their own completely separate fixed wireless network and YourLink has upgraded their network so they can supply Internet Service on frequencies uneffected by Industry Canada's regulation changes. 

    • Todd Ector

      YourLink is a separate company from Sasktel, with their own network.  I was unaware that they had recently updated their network to work around the current round of regulations.  I know they have been selling off some of their bandwidth to Xplornet, hopefully they plan to expand their current network to pickup where Sasktel is either unwilling or unable to provide an economical service to their rural customers. 


    • Amanda ONeill

      Yeah its really unfortunate that Sasktel even with 3 years warning couldnt upgrade thier network for the changes but a small ISP named yourlink did. once again it highlights how sasktel doesnt think about Rural customers anymore.


      Unfortunatly Yourlink isnt in my area.Sasktel had a solid hold on customers around where i live and left no room for yourlink to move in. I have asked them to consider coming into this area I live but we will see down the road.


    • Todd Ector

      I have just received an email back from YourLink, they have sent me a signup sheet to pass around to judge the interest for them to put up a new tower in our area. 



      As for YourLink being a small ISP, yes they are but the parent company is based in Saskatoon with sales around the world for their many products, the hardware for the high speed internet is just one of many products they make.


    • Joe Bergman

      So Todd...what's your area?  I anticipate switching and the Yourlink tower is accessable, but fairly far away.  Might be better if there was a closer one.

    • Todd Ector

      Hi Joe,


      I live in the village of Elbow. 



    • Joe Bergman

      Elbow is a bit too far I think.  We'll probably go for the Regina tower on Hwy 6 north of regina.  It's about 12 miles away and I guess it'll work.  And I see Yourlink has an offer now for anyone switching that gives free equipment and also a free install if you go for a 3 year contract.  Doesn't get much better that that as long as the service is good.