Nfld. & Labrador

Not just isolated communities with slow internet, says Little Rapids resident

A resident of Little Rapids on Newfoundland's west coast says his internet speed is much slower than what Bell Aliant advertised.

Shawn Leamon wants CRTC to uphold commitment to provide 5 mb/s internet speed to all communities

Shawn Leamon says he lives in a small town, but it's just outside Corner Brook, so he thinks internet service should be better. (CBC)

A resident of Little Rapids on Newfoundland's west coast says his internet speed is much slower than what Bell Aliant advertised.

Shawn Leamon said when he signed up for $100-per-month high speed internet service, he was told he should be able to reach speeds of 1.2 megabytes per second (mb/s), which he felt was an acceptable bandwidth for a small community like Little Rapids.

In December, the CRTC set new targets for internet service providers to offer customers in all parts of the country download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps. (Denis Rozhnovsky/Shutterstock)

However, recently he's noticed web pages are exceptionally slow to load, and he isn't even able to bring up the most basic websites and services on his laptop.

"I came home Monday night and I couldn't even get my email to load up it was so slow," he said. "I checked my speed and it was 0.2 mb/s."

Cell signal stronger

Leamon has been using an application that tests internet speeds over the last few months, and hasn't seen it hit 1 mb/s once. That means he can't do anything other than load simple pages and email. Watching Netflix, for example, is out of the question at his house.

In fact, he wanted to tweet a picture of his speed results for Bell Aliant to see, but couldn't get a strong enough connection through his Wi-Fi to do so.

"Heaven forbid if you have more than one connection in the home," he said. "If you have two or three smartphones or a laptop going, forget it. Thank heavens I don't have teenagers anymore, because one of us would be in trouble."

Not isolated, but still slow

Leamon said Bell Aliant has sent technicians to look at his service, and they've replaced infrastructure which has worked temporarily. After his social media post this week, the company sent another technician out and his speeds went back up to 1.3 mb/s.

Little Rapids is a community of 225 residents, located about 10 km east of Corner Brook. (Google Maps)

Despite that, Leamon has been told Little Rapids is unable to get the faster FibreOp service because there aren't enough people living there to justify the expensive upgrade.

According to the 2016 census, 225 people live in the town just outside Corner Brook.

Leamon said lately he's been hearing news about the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications's commitment to providing basic 5 mb/s internet service to rural communities, which he applauds.

However, Leamon would like the CRTC to realize that some communities that aren't as isolated also need to have good speeds.

"There are other areas in this province that aren't as rural as some little community at the tip of the Northern Peninsula, or wherever," he said.

"We're only 10 kilometres from the third biggest city in the province – Corner Brook – and we don't get high speed internet here."

Bell Aliant declined the opportunity to speak to CBC about internet speeds in Little Rapids. 

Shawn Leamon says the internet is so slow in Little Rapids that he's unable to stream videos on Netflix. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

With files from Corner Brook Morning Show