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December 2010 Newsletter


Dear subscribers,

We want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!Also we want to thank you for your patronage this past year and look forward to serving you 2011!


Topics covered in this newsletter are:

Click on a topic to jump to it.

Christmas Prize Draws

We are participating in the Sleigh full of gifts campaign put on by the Western Star this year. Come by our store to enter your name for a draw for a box of chocolates or the grand prize draw for the Sleigh full of Gifts. See the contest details in the next weeks Western Star or come by our office for more information.

We are also Participating in the Christmas Word Scramble Contest put on by the Eckville Echo. See this week's Echo for contest details and entry form. Stop by our office to drop off your entry form in our draw box.

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Convert Your Records And Tapes To CD               

We are offering a new service! Do you wish you could listen to your old records or tapes on CD?  Bring them in and we will transfer your favorite music to CD’s. This makes a great Christmas gift!

Cost - $5.00 per Record/Tape $3.00 for duplicate copies

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A word on Netflix

Many of you may have noticed that Netflix has come to Canada and you are able to watch movies on the internet. As you may have read in some of our previous newsletters wireless internet does not have an unlimited bandwidth capacity due to licensing of frequencies. If you are planning on using Netflix please be aware of the increased demand on your internet connection and the possibility of reaching your monthly traffic allowance faster. It would be wise to keep a close eye on your traffic allowance if you chose to use this service. Netflix frequently asked questions states " Watching for 1 hour will use approximately 1GB of bandwidth and approximately 2GB an hour if you are watching HD. You have the option to set your account to "no HD" if you'd prefer."

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A different perspective on Gas Co-op Internet

Many of you have heard some of the local REA's and Gas Co-op's have teamed up with Corridor Communications Inc. to provide broadband internet to the rural areas and have called to ask us about it.

What does this mean for you and your Harewaves Service? Harewaves has been and will continue to provide quality internet service at a reasonable price. We have carefully invested in the community for the last five years to build an internet infrastructure to provide service to a growing need. We have developed and deployed newer and faster technology, in the last year and a half, that gives more coverage and more speed to a large portion of Clearwater County. We are confident that this product is the best solution for the rugged terrain in this area. We have been backed up by the Federal Government in the form of conditional Grant approval for expanding service to under served areas. Harewaves grant application was selected because the cost to provide additional service and coverage was lower than any other applicant.

Corridor Communications Inc. (CCI) has been building hype for several years by boasting of providing the latest and greatest service, but has yet to deploy anything in this area. CCI ignores the fact that there is already a healthy competition among internet providers in this area. They also ignore a study, recently commissioned by another county, which concluded that this type of new infrastructure build will always need to be subsidized.

While CCI has been building hype, other Internet Providers, Harewaves included, have deployed equal or superior broadband service at a lower cost. Some providers have already deployed the same ‘latest and greatest’ technology that CCI boasts about.

The CCI board of directors is made up of members of local Co-op boards. These same board members are advising their local Co-op's to use their members dividend money to fund a "for profit" Internet business. CCI is applying for Grant money from the Provincial and Federal Governments to compete against local, privately funded internet service providers. CCI is using Co-op money and backing to build a grossly expensive wireless infrastructure in the county that will most likely never turn a profit. CCI's plan includes setting up a large number of 300ft towers all over the landscape.

The Rocky R.E.A. plans to use co-op member’s money to enter the retail computer sales and service arena and use their technicians for field installations and support. The Gas Co-Op has already suggested their gas rates will be increased to cover a building expansion needed for their entry into the rural internet business.

Co-op members who have concerns about the co-op entry into businesses in which they have no experience, have tried to get answers. They have come away with more questions and concerns.

You may see this as sort of one sided jaded perspective from a competitor, but here are some questions that REA and Gas Co-Op members should consider:

1. How do they plan on turning a profit when setting up $250,000 towers all over the country? How can  the stated 400 customers support a multi-million dollar investment? As an established local service provider we have much lower overheads and can barely show a business case in the rural population.

2. Why are Co-ops, who are supposed to be not-for-profit organizations under provincial law, diverting member dividends to fund ‘for profit’ businesses in which they have no experience?

3. Few new businesses show a profit right away. How much of these losses will be transferred into the co-op rate base and added to the cost of service or subtracted from member dividends.

4. How long will these business losses be allowed to continue before someone accepts that the experts were right, that this venture was highly likely to be a financial failure from the start?

5. Why are ‘not-for-profit’ co-op's able to apply for grants only available to non-profit organizations and then turn them over to a ‘for profit’ company like CCI?

6. If the co-op's have so much money that they can risk it on investing in these ventures, why are we not receiving member dividends, or lower rates on our services?

7. The CCI board members who are committed to building a new internet service are the same board members and chairmen from our local co-op's.  They are supposed to be committed to protecting the interests of the local co-op members.  Is it not a conflict of interest? When the cash flow does not meet projections, will they decide to fold the business or will they invest more of the co-op members money to keep it going while hoping for a turnaround?

8. Is it not a conflict of interest having the chair of the Rocky REA sitting in a County Council meeting turning down local internet providers who are asking the county to apply for grant monies on their behalf?  (The money that the Co-ops originally invested in CCI to simply study the WiMax network is about twice the amount that Harewaves has invested in already providing similar coverage.)  

9. Why is CCI building a huge tower a few hundred feet from the Supernet tower when they can use the Supernet tower for free?

10. Is it in the interest of co-op members to have a capital expense to expand office space to accommodate a computer sales and service department to support a ‘for-profit’ business?

11. CCI justifies the huge expense of the new towers by saying that they might rent out space on them to other organizations. If Telus, Rogers and Bell towers are under capacity and no one rents space on them how does CCI think they will make money from renting space on theirs?

The U.F.A. tried a similar venture last year when they bought a sporting goods franchise that did not perform as expected. Any of the members can tell you what it did to their dividends last year. The question is, does a co-op have any business risking their member’s money by getting into for-profit ventures in which they have no background? Who is ultimately responsible for the losses?

Another company, PCC Communications tried to build a province wide broadband system. They are now in receivership.

CCI has made some big claims. They claim existing providers have been charging $100 or more for service, yet we have been providing residential service for five years for less than $50/month. They claim their 4G service will perform better than any other service and that terrain will not be a problem. There isn't a product on the market that can change the properties of Radio Propagation, and it is physics that proves RF has propagation issues with terrain and trees.

CCI claims they are providing service to under served areas, but they are only concentrating on populated areas where there are already established service providers. CCI claims they have been hindered by the county not having a well defined tower policy, yet we have been using the policy to set up towers for the past five years.

CCI originally claimed that they would provide the co-op's with a much needed way to remotely read their meters, but that has become secondary because the meter reading technology isn't developed yet.

While CCI has been spending money testing and building hype over the past several years, their chosen technology, WiMax, is being largely abandoned by the telecommunications industry in favor of another technology called LTE.

We hope you don't feel this is just a local business complaining. We are not afraid of fair competition but we do feel the co-op's are using their ‘non profit’ status to provide an unfair advantage. We also feel that there is a high probability that CCI will never be a commercial success and that, to the detriment of the community, the co-op membership will have to pick up the tab.

Please thoughtfully consider some of the questions we have raised.


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New Items to our Store

Need some ideas for your Christmas shopping? Come check us out!

We have brought in some exciting games and software as well as Wii accessories into our store. We encourage you to come check out our store for printers, photo paper, memory sticks, external hard drives as well as various other computer accessories and parts. We even provide Bell Satellite and receivers! Check out our computers and laptops we have in stock or get us to build you a computer that meets your specific needs. Businesses don't forget you can get a tax write off of new computers up until the end of January.

We are located just off of Hwy 766 in Eckville on 53rd Ave.


Contact Info:

Phone: 403-746-0096


Location: 4824 53rd Ave Eckville

Mailing: P.O. Box 841

Eckville, Alberta

T0M 0X0