Part of the Burton Internet Society team: Collin Kowal (center)

Burton’s window to the world about to be broadened, again

Three years ago, Arrow Park residents got a boost when Bill Mitchell hooked their local network up with the Burton Internet Society’s service.

Three years ago, Arrow Park residents got a boost when Bill Mitchell hooked their local network up with the Burton Internet Society’s service.

“We were using the same equipment,” Mitchell said, and with some funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, residents were able to connect up with the Burton system thanks to a tower system on the other side of the lake run on remote power, and a repeater.

The Burton Internet Society (BIS) service, which now includes Arrow Park, will also soon provide households on the south side of Caribou Creek with their own window into the Internet world.

Not only that, the entire BIS system will be upgraded with solar power as well as back-up generators.

“Last year we got $50,000 to expand and upgrade our system,” Rosalie Cranna, the BIS president told me, “What we’re planning on doing is upgrading all of our sites so they have solar power with a generator for back up so when solar dies in the middle of winter ‘cause we don’t get enough sun.”

Smart. Our conversation was making me wonder where I could find my own back up system for the times of year that the valley sun may not be up to the challenge of providing enough solar power to generate vitamin D.

“We’ve had a lot of help from Bill Mitchell down in Arrow Park supervising that end of it,” said Cranna.

“I think he’s happy we’re upgrading so he doesn’t have to ski in to the other site to see why the power isn’t working,” she chuckled.

With the new system, the remote power should be covered for the winter, making the network more stable.

“On the 29th, the new [towers] went up on Marshall mountain,” Cranna outlined, detailing as well a couple of the hiccups that occurred along the way.

“When they shipped the tower, they didn’t ship the attachment kits for putting the radios on the tower. We’re waiting for those to arrive.”

Waiting isn’t new to Cranna as president of the Burton Internet Society, who is used to practising patience.

“Last fall we applied for the Crown application and it didn’t come through until the beginning of August.”

As soon as the application was approved, the Society got to work getting equipment in place as quickly as possible before the good weather turned.

Integrated Power Systems in Kelowna is providing the solar and generator equipment, but they are also waiting on parts to arrive.

Once the expansion part of the project is completed, ten to fifteen people across Caribou Creek may be enjoying Internet at some point in October, depending on the delivery of parts to Kelowna, but they may have to do some minor logging to catch the wireless signal.

Trees standing in the way of the signal can be a major barrier to transmission, and there are some people who have had to fall a tree or two for access to the Internet.

Cranna’s plans for expansion are modest. Once the families across the creek are hooked up, she’s planning on taking a break.

“At the last meeting people asked: ‘So what are your plans for expansion?’” to which Cranna’s reply was, “None.”

“We’ve got 85 customers now, so if we get fifteen more we’ll be good,” she said, satisfied that the community’s coverage is adequate for what it is needed for at the moment.

“I know that there are quite a few people that use [the Internet] as part of their business,” Cranna said, although the number whose businesses were completely dependent on it were few, she thought. The BIS charge for their service reflects this by charging a single flat fee that doesn’t distinguish between commercial and private usage.

Nevertheless, usage has been going up “because a lot people have discovered things like Netflix,” Cranna said.

People are encouraged to monitor their usage. If they don’t, Okanagan.net, the Internet provider, is likely to shut the door to the virtual world on their mouse-wielding fingers.

“If you get over 30 Gigs a month, then they can shut you down if you don’t take a gentle warning,” Cranna warned, but the situation is rare, she said as most people tend to stay below the cut off.

If the snow this year is like last, watching online movies for a couple of hours may be way more attractive than shovelling snow for a couple of hours. Just remember to watch your bandwidth.

 

Just Posted

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

How to decide what to vote for in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots are due at Elections BC on Friday, Dec. 7, at 4:30 p.m.

COLUMN: The People’s Party of Canada arrives in the Kootenays

‘The Conservative Party of Canada walked away from us,’ says organizer of Kootenay-Columbia and South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding associations

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read