fbpx
consumer buyer guides

What Is Gigabit Internet? Is it Worth it? [Ultimate Guide to Gigabit Internet]

Have you ever wished for faster internet speeds in rural Alberta without the fuss of cables or the invasive installation of fiber optic? Enter gigabit technology, or as we call it, GigAir!

With speeds on par with our fiber optic network, GigAir is the latest revolution in rural Alberta internet. By connecting lightning-fast fiber optic cable to a tower, GigAir is broadcast right to your home, giving you city-like speeds without giving up the country lifestyle.

To stay on top of all your internet streaming, gaming, and working needs, you need high-speed internet as much as those who live in the city. GigAir, with its easy and quick to install, is making high-speed internet more accessible than ever.

While GigAir offers great potential for rural Alberta, it has some obstacles. Limited infrastructure and harsh terrain can make it difficult to lay underground cables, affecting its overall availability.
Despite these challenges, GigAir is showing a lot of hope in terms of closing the digital divide in Alberta. We’ve created this comprehensive guide to gigabit technology and our GigAir network to help you understand if this technology is best for you.

If you want to skip straight to our GigAir internet plans, you can review them here.
Let’s get started!

Understanding GigAir Technology

How GigAir Works

Rather than relying on buried cables or far-away towers, GigAir uses small, tissue-box-sized radios. These radios, called “nodes”, are strategically placed around the communities we serve. They connect to form what we call a wireless mesh network, kind of like a spiderweb of signals.

The benefit of this setup is that if one node goes down, the data will find another path in the network through another node. This ensures a consistent, reliable, strong connection, even if there are minor outages.

GigAir: Disrupting the Rural Alberta Digital Divide

Rural Alberta communities have often fallen well behind major cities in tech and internet advancements. This is mainly because the infrastructure expenses couldn’t justify the smaller population sizes. We’re working to change this pattern with GigAir.

Instead of excavating miles of landscape to lay fiber cables or relying on outdated wireless methods, GigAir offers a cheaper, less invasive, reliable solution. By sending fiber optic data on airwaves, it ensures that residents in even the most remote hamlets can enjoy city-like internet speeds.

The Need for High Speed

In the age of modern streaming, gaming, and working from home, high-speed internet isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Whether you’re a student attending online classes, or working from home, a fast and consistent internet connection is critical.

Rural Alberta, with its vast landscapes and smaller population densities, has unique challenges when it comes to high-speed internet. But why should the countryside lag while cities zoom ahead in the digital race? Bridging the digital divide across our province and connecting all Albertans is one of our top priorities.

Alberta’s Vision: Universal Internet Access

On March 9, 2022, the Canadian federal government and Alberta provincial government announced a partnership to connect all Albertans to high-speed internet. Under this agreement, 200,000 households across Alberta will be connected thanks to an investment of up to $780 million from both governments. In addition, the Government of Alberta has set a goal to provide every single household in Alberta access to high-speed internet by 2027.

We are proud to partner with the Government of Alberta to achieve this goal of eliminating the digital divide. To date, we’ve invested $30 million in bringing high-speed internet like GigAir to rural Alberta. Ensuring that every Albertan has access to reliable, high-speed internet will strengthen our economy, create more jobs, help educate our youth, and build a more connected Alberta.

Is My Area Even Eligible?

You’re starting to think that upgrading to gigabit internet might be worth it. Before you go any further down this path, it’s important to find out if it’s offered in your area.

Installing the fiber optic cable necessary for gigabit internet towers – particularly near mountains or tough terrain – is challenging. Due to this, very remote Albertans may not be eligible. Check with your ISP – most providers will have an Internet Coverage Map that can show you if you’re eligible.

The Benefits of Gigabit Internet

1. Reliable High-Speed Connectivity

With speeds up to 1000 Mbps, GigAir offers the same lightning-fast speeds as fiber optic. Due to GigAir’s unique mesh network structure, if one radio node goes down, the network reroutes data to ensure uninterrupted service. This self-healing feature means that you will always have a consistent, reliable connection.

2. Flexible and Quick Installation

GigAir installation is relatively simple. It requires connecting a tower to our fiber network and transmitting the signal wirelessly to nodes all around the community. These can be swiftly installed, bringing the internet to users faster than many alternatives.

3. Cost-Effective

GigAir allows for quick expansion into new areas or neighborhoods without the need for major infrastructure. This means that as communities grow, GigAir can expand with them, all while keeping costs in check.

Now that we’ve pointed out the major benefits of Gigair, we’ll tell you a story of a real customer of ours that illustrates these advantages.

The Five Star Trading Post Scenario

Imagine the excitement of launching a new business, only to realize you need an internet connection ASAP for opening day. Traditional installations could take days, if not weeks! The Five Star Trading Post in St. Paul found themselves in this exact situation.

They gave us a call, and by 9:00 a.m., the GigAir team was on the scene. By noon, the establishment was enjoying high-speed internet, ready for their grand opening. No waiting, no fuss! That’s how quick and simple the GigAir install is.

 

Is Gigabit Internet Worth It?

As with most technological advancements, it can be a tough choice to decide whether it’s worth it to upgrade. To help you, we’ve compared GigAir to other internet service offerings to see how it stacks up.

How does GigAir compare?

DSLCableSatelliteFiber OpticGigAir
OverviewUses your telephone line to transmit internetUses your TV cable infrastructure to transmit internetUses satellite dishes orbiting Earth to transmit internetUses highly durable fiber optic cables to transmit internet at the speed of lightUses fiber optic technology to get the internet signal, then transmits it using several wireless nodes in a mesh pattern
Speed5-1000 Mbps20 - 500 Mbps12-100 MbpsUp to 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps)Up to 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
ReliabilityCan suffer from digital degradation – the further you are from the central office, the weaker the signal.Fairly reliable, but bandwidth is shared with neighbours, leading to potential slowdowns during peak timesNotoriously unreliable during harsh weather

Often suffers from high latency (slowness) due to travel to and from satellites in space
Extremely reliable – fiber optic cables carry connection directly to your home, making it impervious to weather or other disturbances.Extremely reliable – the only network that can self-heal, redirecting data if a node experiences failure or is overloaded
InstallationUses existing telephone lines – inexpensive installationCable install requires coaxial cables, often already installed in homes, so installation is relatively simpleRequires dish installation with high precisionRequires significant groundwork to lay cables, which may be expensive and invasive.Installation includes placing small radios around a community – relatively simple and quick, with no damage to property and is fully wireless
CoverageDepends on proximity to the provider’s central officeDepends on existing TV cable infrastructureThe most accessible option – available nearly anywhere, even in the most remote locationsDifficult or impossible to install cables in mountainous regions or other harsh terrainGigAir can be deployed quite rapidly in communities with no infrastructure work or upheaval
ProsInstall is inexpensive and simpleInstall is inexpensive and simpleWidely-accessible, so even the most remote communities can likely access this networkLightning-fast internet for an affordable monthly fee

Highly reliable due to a direct connection to your home
Lightning-fast internet for an affordable monthly fee

Highly reliable due to a self-healing circuit

No damage to your property or invasive, expensive install
ConsInternet is often slow and affected by heavy trafficInternet is often slow and affected by heavy trafficVery slow– Can’t handle the demands of modern streaming, gaming, and remote work

Reliability can be impacted by harsh weather
Setup can be expensive and invasive to your property

Not widely available across rural Alberta
Though more widely available than fiber optic, GigAir isn’t offered in north or south Alberta communities
Table Swipe Finger

By this point, you might be thinking that GigAir is the obvious choice. But, as with most things, it’s not a one-size-fits-all network. Here are some potential downsides to GigAir so you get the full picture.

Gigabit Internet: The Downsides

  • Cost: Gigabit internet can come with a higher price tag than some more basic network packages. It’s crucial to figure out whether the benefits outweigh the added costs based on your usage patterns.
  • Hardware upgrades: Not all devices can handle your new lightning-fast gigabit speeds. Older devices may not be capable of giving you the speeds that your new GigAir internet is capable of. You might need to upgrade your router or device to get the full GigAir experience.
  • Overkill: A solo user who primarily uses the internet to check email and surf the web may be perfectly fine with a traditional broadband network. Understanding your usage patterns comes into play here, as well.

If you’re uncertain if GigAir is right for you, feel free to contact us at any point – we’ll help you make the best choice for you.

If you are still seriously considering making the switch to gigabit internet, next comes the fun part – selecting a plan! Next, let’s go through some different gigabit plans so you can quickly compare.

GigAir Internet Plans

GigAir is a brand-new technology in rural Alberta, and due to this, we are one of the only ISPs currently offering it. Here is a quick comparison of your gigabit internet options in rural Alberta. If you’re unsure about your needs, skip ahead to the next section where we go into this in more detail, then come back to this section.

ServicesSpeedPricingCustomer service
MCSnetGigAir Basic1000 Mbps download, 1000 Mbps upload, 200GB/mo cap$39.95/mo, free installation on 2-year termRural Alberta support team located in St. Paul, Alberta
GigAir Advanced1000 Mbps download, 1000 Mbps upload, 500GB/mo cap$49.95/mo, free installation on 2-year termRural Alberta support team located in St. Paul, Alberta
GigAir Ultra1000 Mbps download, 1000 Mbps upload, 2000 GB/mo cap$69.95/mo, free installation on 2-year termRural Alberta support team located in St. Paul, Alberta
GigAir Unlimited1000 Mbps download, 1000 Mbps upload, unlimited cap$89.95/mo, free installation on 2-year term Rural Alberta support team located in St. Paul, Alberta
TELUSPureFibre Internet Gigabit940 Mbps download, 940 Mbps upload, 1 TB data cap$125/mo, additional $20 fee per month after 2 year term for dataNationwide provider
Rogers together with ShawIgnite Internet 7575 Mbps download, 75 Mbps upload, unlimited data$55/mo for the first 2 years, then $100/mo

One-time $50 tech connect fee, $50 activation fee
Nationwide provider
Ignite Internet 250200 Mbps download, 100 Mbps upload, unlimited data$85/mo for the first 2 years, then $105/mo

One-time $50 tech connect fee, $50 activation fee
Nationwide provider
Ignite Internet 500500 Mbps download, 500 Mbps upload, unlimited data$110/mo for the first 2 years, then $120/mo

One-time $50 tech connect fee, $50 activation fee
Nationwide provider
Ignite Internet Gigabit1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) download, 100 Mbps upload, unlimited data$105/mo for the first 2 years, then $125/mo

One-time $50 tech connect fee, $50 activation fee
Nationwide provider
Ignite Internet 1.5 Gigabit1500 Mbps (1.5 Gbps) download, 150 Mbps upload, unlimited data$115/mo for the first 2 years, then $135/mo

One-time $50 tech connect fee, $50 activation fee
Nationwide provider
Table Swipe Finger

How to Select the Perfect Plan

Just like internet options aren’t one-size-fits-all, neither are plans. Finding the right plan for you will involve analyzing your usage and situation, which we’ll help you hone in on.

1. Assess your usage patterns

If you use your internet to just browse the internet, check emails, and stream the occasional show, a more basic plan might be perfect for you. However, some entertainment activities – streaming in 4K, high-quality video games – need more data.

Staying within your data cap is important – going over can be pricey! Here is an idea of what the average rural Albertan household usage needs are:

Family of 3

Average Use

600 GB
Per Month

Family of 4

Average Use

400-800 GB
Per Month

Adult couple

Light Use

300-400 GB
Per Month

Individual

Heavy Use

400 GB
Per Month

2. How many people are using your data?

If you’re the only person using your internet, your data needs are a lot lower than, say, a family of five using multiple devices at once! More users mean more devices, which means a need for a greater data cap and higher bandwidth to accommodate everyone.

3. Working or learning from home

If you’re working or learning from home, you likely need a stable and fast connection. Tasks like video conferencing, sharing files to cloud-based applications, and even taking tests can use a ton of data and require greater bandwidth.

4. Future-proofing

Technology evolves rapidly. If you’re a tech-savvy person who follows all the digital trends, you want to be sure your plan can accommodate all of your tech additions in the coming years.

5. Budget considerations

While it’s always tempting to go for the unlimited top-tier plan, it’s essential to balance your needs with your budget. The best plan isn’t necessarily the most expensive or fastest; it’s the one that meets your needs within your budget.

Once you’ve selected your perfect plan, you’re likely anxiously awaiting your new lightning-fast internet. Next, we’ll go through what to expect during installation and some tips for a seamless experience.

Installing GigAir Internet

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during your quick installation process, plus some handy tips to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

  • Prep work: Before the main installation, a technician will survey your location. They’ll look for optimal points to place the equipment and ensure you have a clear line of sight to a GigAir node.
    Tip: Clear any obstructions on your property so that the technician has access to the outside of your house.
  • Installation: Once the survey is done, the technician will begin installing the GigAir radio node – about the size of a tissue box – to the outside of your home. They’ll also set up any indoor equipment required.
    Tip: Keep pets in a separate room during installation to prevent any distractions or potential issues.
  • Testing: Post-installation, the technician will conduct thorough tests to ensure your connection is stable and delivers the best speeds.
    Tip: Ask questions during this phase. Understand how to reboot the system, check for signal strength, or troubleshoot basic issues.
  • Finalization & Documentation: Once tests are successful, you’ll be provided with any necessary documentation. This may include a user manual, warranty details, and support contacts.
    Tip: Store these documents safely. You’ll want easy access in case of future questions or issues.

Now you can use your GigAir internet! We know you’ll love your new lightning-fast and reliable internet, but don’t just take our word for it. We have pulled real reviews together that spotlight GigAir’s unparalleled performance and reliability.

Customer Reviews & Experiences

As a rural Alberta-based internet service provider, we strongly value the customer service we deliver to Albertans. If you ask our customers, some of our best strengths are our customer service support, competitive prices, and the quality of our services.

Check out some reviews below from people like you who made the switch to GigAir:

Stars Don Radmanovich - 11 months ago

“Have had gig air for a little over a month now and am totally impressed with the speed of downloading and uploading. Customer service is also fantastic. ”

Don Radmanovich

Stars Dave Couchman - 11 months ago

“Consistently faster internet with GigAir and I am paying less for unlimited. ”

Dave Couchman

Stars Joe Riel - 1 year ago

“Speed to computers and TV is much better than before the upgrade to GigAir. Thank-you! ”

Joe Riel

Stars Brian Reaney - 1 year ago

“Gig Air is the high speed internet answer you have been looking for! If it’s available, just sign up for it, it’s 100% worth the change over and has great value for the money spent. ”

Brian Reaney

Stars Chihuahua R Cool - 1 year ago

“Very good company have been with them now almost 3 maybe 4 years and got upgraded to GigAir and I’m loving it so fast, amazing, very happy with the best company around. ”

Chihuahua R Cool

Stars Ranava - 4 years ago

“Never had any major problems with their service, always had top speeds. If something needed upgrades they automatically came out and did them. Always solved problems and came out to do service calls as soon as they could. Although I only needed one service call. Great ISP!! ”

Ranava

Conclusion

We hope that after reading this guide to gigabit internet you have all the knowledge you need to make an informed choice. Through our explanations and examples, you should now understand the gigabit (and, more specifically, GigAir!) difference, including speed, availability, cost, and installation.

Whether you’re a business or a household, GigAir offers a promise: the future of rural Alberta internet is here, and it’s blazingly fast. According to recent research, gigabit internet services are predicted to experience a compound annual growth rate of 18% between 2021 and 2026, so you can be sure that gigabit technology isn’t going anywhere.

If you’re looking for a powerful, reliable internet connection that both meets your needs today and prepares you for what you’ll need tomorrow, check out our GigAir internet plans. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us directly – we’re happy to help you select the best plan for your needs.

Have questions about GigAir? We have answers.

Is GigAir faster than 5G?

Yes. Some other ISPs who are offering 5g in rural Alberta can expect speeds of up to 100 Mbps, whereas our GigAir plans have speeds 10x faster at 1000 Mbps.

Is 1000 GB of wifi enough?

It depends, but generally, yes. While the average household data usage is around 600 GB/mo, some households that stream in 4k, game in high-definition, or have multiple users will need more. 1000 GB is plenty of data for the average household.

Is GigAir faster than fiber?

Gigabit and fiber optic speeds are on par. On our networks, both services have speeds of 1000 Mbps. That’s very fast!

Do you need a new modem/router for gigabit internet?

Generally, yes. Traditional broadband modems can’t handle the speeds of gigabit internet. You may need a new router, as well. If you’re unsure if your current hardware can handle GigAir, contact us.

How long should 1 GB of internet last?

In a month, 1 GB of data equates to approximately 20 minutes of daily social media use or 40 minutes of daily surfing the web. Additionally, this would give you only 1-2 low-definition films per month (high-definition and 4K would take up more data!).

What is the difference between 500 Mbps and 1 Gbps?

1 Gbps is 1000 Mbps, or double 500 Mbps. In terms of speed, 500 Mbps allows you to download 500 megabits of data every second. 1 Gbps allows you to download 1000 megabits of data every second – in other words, downloading twice as fast.

Is GigAir internet worth it?

If you’re someone who follows tech trends and needs a reliable, stable, speedy internet connection for video streaming, gaming, or school/work from home, then GigAir might be the perfect solution for you.

Get In Touch

Contact Us

Thanks for visiting! We hope that you have found what you needed on our website. If not, please feel free to contact us using this form and we will get back to you within one business day. Tech support hours are 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM, 7 days a week.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.