On May 12, Shaw announced to its Pemberton-specific community page that it had completed an upgrade to Internet capacity in Pemberton.
"On April 23, we added additional Radio Frequency (RF) Carriers to the Pemberton (area)," the update said.
"We have been monitoring the network and can see a noticeable improvement to performance in the area. Our team will continue to monitor and provide updates on (www.shaw.ca/pemberton)."
The announcement should have come as a relief for Shaw customers in Pemberton, who have become so fed up with lagging Internet speeds that they started a Facebook group specific to the problem last month.
But according to Peter Wortman — the group's creator — there has been little in the way of noticeable difference.
"Not one person I've talked to has said it's better," Wortman said.
"I myself, I feel like it's a little better during non-peak hours. My readings are higher (then), but the problem is we don't really care about non-peak hours."
During peak hours, Wortman said it's not uncommon to get speed-readings of 2.5 megabits-per-second. He is currently paying for 60 Mbps.
"Most of the time I don't even bother trying anymore," he said. "Same old, same old."
Wortman and others have received various discounts since raising the issue with Shaw.
For Myson Effa, manager of Pemberton Gateway Village Suites, the problem is more urgent.
"I'm really worried. We have to do something before the summer when we get all the tourists, because they just expect WiFi," Effa said.
"After the bed, the next big thing is the WiFi."
Guests currently staying at Pemberton Gateway have been using their cell phones as mobile hotspots — a tactic that won't work for out-of-province or out-of-country tourists, Effa said.
Reached for comment, Shaw's VP of external affairs Chethan Lakshman said in an email that there has been "noticeable improvement" in network performance since the addition of the new RF Carriers, but customers are still seeing slower speeds during peak hours.
"In recent months, we've seen a sharp increase in Internet network usage during peak times," Lakshman said. "This corresponds to a rise in streaming video, which currently accounts for over 60 per cent of all our Internet traffic at peak times."
Shaw is working with customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions that fit everyone's specific needs. In some cases that might mean a change of hardware, or singling out specific issues.
"We are committed to sharing the progress of our network upgrades with our customers on our community page at www.shaw.ca/pemberton," Lakshman said.
But for customers like Effa, the response is not enough.
"For our business here specifically, we need (Shaw) to tell us concretely what they're going to do," he said.
"All they've said is they've fixed it, and it's not true. They say it louder and louder — it's not true. I guess if they can't give us a concrete answer we're going to try to consider our contract null and void."
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