Struggling with the Lack of High Speed Internet Connection

For our second interview, we interviewed Jared Walpole (32), a father of two daughters (ages 7 and 5), who currently resides in St. Thomas, Ontario in Elgin County. Jared is an account manager at an electronics distributor, as well as a musician and audio engineer. Jared loves his family and his community – the only thing holding his family back is the lack of affordable, high speed Internet.

What are some day-to-day challenges you face by not having a fast, affordable Internet connection?

I have daily issues not having fast affordable Internet. The current service I have claims to have 1.5 Mb per second download speed, but it is more like 0.5 Mb realistically. This is due to my area being so over populated. During peak hours, our Internet slows to a crawl because everyone is sharing the same tower. Summer is worse because kids are off school.

Does your lack of connection affect your work?

It negatively impacts both of my jobs. I am not able to connect to my work’s network terminal server with my electronics distributor because the connection is too slow and inconsistent. This makes it impossible to do work from home, so I am forced to play catch-up at work.

With my music/audio engineering job, I can’t send audio or video files to clients, or upload to servers because it would take days and bandwidth would be an issue, also. I have to be able to send very large files quickly, and the upload speed is horrible.

Is your daughters’ education affected by your lack of Internet connection?

My daughter’s education suffers, and will only continue to get worse. She has assigned homework activities which require her to log in online and complete activities. These are sometimes timed, so waiting to load screens causes it to be impossible to complete, and also websites drop the connection because the speed is so slow. She is currently entering grade 2, and it will get much worse with completing these quizzes, as well as doing research assignments. My youngest daughter will run into these issues in the future as well.

I myself went back to college for marketing and completed in April 2013. I was not able to do online assignments, and had to use the library and other family members’ connections to complete these timed assignments.

Do you find it difficult to participate in or even be knowledgeable about community events?

I do find it a little difficult to be involved with community events.  It is definitely difficult to watch news videos as the Internet is too slow to stream them.

Have you ever considered moving to a different town or city because of your Internet issues?   

I do consider moving to an area in town that has high speed Internet, and I have even looked at those options. I am worried my property value will plummet if I don’t get out soon. Too many people require fast Internet for work and recreational activities. The alternatives are outdated, cannot keep up to the demands, and are extremely costly and limited. When I first purchased my house, I checked our postal code before buying and every provider said my area is covered.  Then after I purchased, I found only a small portion of my postal code has access, and is not far from where I live. I kept up with the hope that it would be updated soon, but we keep getting looked over, and the big providers will not pay to update us. It has been over 4 years since I have bought this house.

If you did have a high-speed connection, how would it benefit you?

If I had high speed Internet, I would be able to take on more work at home, and effectively manage my time. This would allow me more earning potential. I also would have the comfort in knowing my property will hold its value and that my children would have an easier time with their education. I love where I live, the only downside is the lack of good Internet, and that is HUGE for me.

If you had a chance to reach all the county offices and people of Southwestern Ontario (like right now), what would you say to them about the importance of fibre-optic connectivity?

I would say the future is now. Websites require more bandwidth to connect, and it is getting more and more advanced every day. It is the age of technology and it is becoming a requirement in education to do online studies and research. I am worried for my kids’ future if they do not have the same resources as other kids. They are not able to do their work without us loading into the car and driving somewhere that has Internet. We also do not have public transit, so as they get older, we will still have to drive them to a place with high speed. I am also not able to do my work to its fullest extent without fast Internet. We need to be updated, and my area is well enough populated within a small area near my house. The cost is definitely worth it to bring in high speed Internet. It is becoming the only feasible option.

If you have a story about your struggle with your lack of high speed Internet connectivity, contact SWIFT today.