Frequently Asked Questions
We are always looking for easy solutions for our customers, so here we've assembled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. Hopefully this is helpful but feel free to reach out to us with any further questions about the services we provide.
Rural Fixed Wireless
What is the process to get Big Wifi rural internet service?
We’ll meet with you to fully understand your needs, requirements and challenges. We’ll make sure that your home or business has the connectivity to succeed in this always on, always connected world.
We’ll design a wireless broadband solution to achieve your goals. We’re always innovating to make sure you get the very best broadband services available. In addition to using state-of-the-art equipment, our network engineers focus on the strength and reliability of our signal to ensure your internet performance.
We’ll work hand-in-hand with you to ensure success with everything from the equipment to the connectivity. Most clients have unique needs and we’re here to help. From deploying dedicated access points and fiber to providing customer premise equipment and local area network support, we make sure that you can compete in today’s always on, always connected business environment.
Our team of engineers will deploy and support the solution.
How does the wireless service work?
We provide high speed internet to your home or business using new breakthrough fixed wireless technology. After we install a small device on your roof, you'll be wirelessly connected to high speed fiber. With a clear fixed signal path to your home or business, we can utilize low-cost frequency bands, instead of the costly and congested cellular bands. BigWifi’s innovative strategy delivers residential service with blazing 25-150Mbps downloads and 10-25 Mbps uploads to single family homes at the affordable price, and higher speeds to business and enterprise clients.
You must have clear line-of-sight to one of our towers/access points to receive the best possible signal strength and speed. The antenna is pointed at a nearby Access Point, and must have a clear line‐of‐sight (no trees, buildings, or hills blocking the path). When you send and receive information over the Internet, it goes over the wireless link from your radio/antenna to our Access Point. From there that information travels over our “backhaul,” which is a point-to-point wireless link to a fiber‐optic connection hooked directly to the Internet. BigWifi service has very low “latency” (or delay) compared to satellite Internet, where signals must travel thousands of miles into space. BigWifi network is well suited for digital phone (also known as Voice over Internet Protocol/VoIP) and other uses such as VPNs or gaming.
One of our professional installation teams will install an antenna and circuit box, which we call customer premises equipment (“CPE”), at your site and point the antenna to one of our access points. The antenna is smaller and nicer looking than a typical satellite dish for TV service. From the CPE, we run cable into your home or business and connect it to an Ethernet port in your computer or in the router on your internal network.
What is Fixed Wireless Broadband?
Wireless Broadband Internet is high-speed Internet access without wires. This means you don’t need telephone or cable lines to get the Internet to your house or office, so you don’t have to call the telephone or cable company to get it. Big Wifi does it all from the installation and setup to your connection to the Internet.
What speeds are Big Wifi’s fixed wireless capable of?
Big Wifi’s fixed wireless internet is designed to reach speeds up to 150 Mbps and robust speeds for uploading. However, data speeds experienced by the user can vary depending upon many factors:
- Wi-Fi isn’t as fast as a wired connection. You get the best Wi-Fi signal closest to your gateway without obstructions. Use a wired (Ethernet) connection for the best results.
- Devices have a maximum Internet speed they can reach, and might not be as fast as your possible Internet service level (especially older devices).
- Multiple devices sharing your Internet connection at the same time, whether wired or Wi-Fi, can reduce your Internet speed.
- Technology used to service your location.
- Distance from nearest access point.
- If you run 3 speedtests in a row you are likely to get several different results
- If you use different speedtest sites you will likely get several different results
How is Big Wifi’s service different than cellular?
Cellular wireless delivers service from high-power cell towers directly to your cellular devices, using frequencies that penetrate walls and buildings. Cellular wireless service often suffers from expensive plans with low data rates and low data caps.
Big Wifi delivers internet service via a low-power wireless device that we place on your roof, which then connects to your home or business network. Big Wifi offers affordable service with much faster speeds and unlimited streaming and surfing.
How is Big Wifi’s service different from satellite?
Satellites transmit data to a dish on your home or business while orbiting far above the Earth. Therefore, the signal must travel significantly farther distances and this type of service offers slower speeds and sluggish performance. The high latency can affect real time applications and streaming quality.
Big Wifi uses smaller outdoor wireless equipment, which then connects to your home or business network. Big Wifi offers affordable and responsive service at much faster speeds.
Is this type of wireless internet connection secure?
Big Wifi uses advanced encryption technology for all wirelessly transmitted data to protect the privacy of your internet connection. That means all data is encrypted going out, and decrypted coming back in, so any data intercepted over-the-air will be unreadable.
How will Alberta weather affect my wireless internet connection?
Our designed network has two types of communications links:
- Fiber links used mainly in the core and distribution networks, and which are unaffected by weather.
- Wireless links used primarily in the access network.
Weather will not cause a degradation of service even in many severe storms. Your connection will remain stable even during winter months or other stormy periods. Heavy rains that are continuous over several hours/days may cause a degradation of service. Wireless links of Big Wifi operate in microwave and millimeter-wave bands. Wireless signals in those bands may be attenuated by rain, but the design rules implemented by Big Wifi make it unlikely for a customer to experience any impact.
For designing wireless links, Big Wifi uses internationally accepted rain attenuation models fitted to the statistics of the geography of the link. The design goal is a minimum of 99.995% of full-rate availability. This means that, in a typical year, the link is expected to operate at full rate for all but 26 minutes. During those extra-ordinarily intense rain events (corresponding on average to 26 minutes in a year), the link does not drop entirely but operates at a reduced rate.
Wind has no effect on the propagation of wireless signals.
What is the reliability/uptime percentage of this network?
Our current engineering target is no more than 15 minutes of unplanned downtime per month, and a similar amount of “scheduled” maintenance. We expect to beat these targets most months.
The network is monitored 24/7. The engineering team immediately responds to any critical issue affecting multiple customers. An individual customer issue that requires a technician visit may need to wait until the following day for the visit to take place. If something goes wrong in the middle of the night (rare), in most cases it may have to wait until morning (daylight) to be fixed.
Residential: Our service is provided on a "Best Effort" basis. You can cancel at any time if you don't like the service.
Small/Med Business customers: Our service is provided on a "Best Effort" basis. Our large business customers will get a meaningful SLA, and this is a very expensive service costing many thousands of dollars per month. We work hard for ALL our customers.
We take pride in our 5-Star Service. You can check out our happy customers by taking a look at our 5-Star reviews.
How long will it take to set up service?
We can typically have service installed within a week of placing an order. Once we’ve determined that the service will work at your location, it takes about 2‐3 hours to complete the installation.
How many computers/devices can I connect?
As many as you like! If you set up an internal network, all computers on the network will be able to access the Internet through the equipment we install at your site. We don’t care how many computers you connect, because we charge per service package, not per computer.
Through an internal network, your business’s or household’s computers will have access to the Internet and to each other for playing games and sharing printers, files, and peripherals.
Do you have a data cap?
No! The last thing you need when using the Internet is a data cap. There are no limitations or latency engineered into our service offering. There are no speed caps or data throttling. You simply get unfettered high speed Internet access.
What about E-mail accounts?
If you already have free e‐mail accounts (i.e. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Zoho etc.) you can access these accounts over the Big Wifi internet connection. Alternatively, creating new accounts on these established and secure email providers is both quick and easy.
What if I’m already under contract to another ISP?
Big Wifi will credit up to $150 of any early termination fee you incur when switching to our service. This credit will be applied over the course of 3 consecutive monthly invoices. The amount of credit depends on the amount of your termination fee with a digital copy of your final statement showing your name, address, and the termination fee from your previous provider.
Why should you choose Big Wifi as your Internet provider?
Big Wifi is using innovative wireless solutions to bring reliable and fiber fast internet to you at an affordable price. We are bringing city like services to keep you connected where you want to live.
What’s involved with getting the service setup?
Because of our commitment to quality our standard is to conduct a survey to ensure the signal strength will provide you with the quality experience that you deserve. After we conduct the survey then we’ll install the customer premise equipment, configure the service and make sure you’re connected.
What does a standard installation include?
Our standard installation brings service from the rooftop CPE to the first point of entry in your home. Our service involves installation of a small antenna on the roof. We will install this antenna on the roof by attaching it to a mounting plate and secure the plate to the roof.
In a standard installation, we run an Ethernet cable from the antenna to the exterior wall of the room you want your router in. (We run the cable down a conduit and make a small hole in the exterior wall near your router and into your home.) The hole will be completely sealed so there is no risk for any water damage. There may already be an existing entry point from your previous provider which we will also use.
After entering the home the ethernet cable will be connected to a wireless router. The wireless router will broadcast a Wi-Fi signal throughout your home that you use to connect your devices. If you have a large home, you may want to include additional components to make your in home Wi-Fi network stronger, like our Mercku system for example.
However, there may be times where a customer would like the cable run beyond this area and if you have devices that need a hard line, you will want to connect the router and run lines from there. Be aware this can get expensive to have it done professionally and we charge an extra installation fee depending on the type of work required.
What kind of router do I need?
You will need a dual-band, 1Gb capable router. Big Wifi can setup and provide a Mercku router. While we recommend using one of our products, you can use virtually any router with an ethernet WAN port. If you have a large home, you can have 2-3 pucks that create a Wi-Fi mesh network. Read our post about the importance of your Wi-Fi network and its effect on the actual performance of your internet connection.
What additional devices would I require to ensure all areas in my entire home/building are covered?
Apart from the provided dual band Wi-Fi router for demanding homes/buildings we recommend a Wi-Fi mesh system similar to Mercku. Its “Hive” and “Bees” design and create a mesh network and is ideal for multi-story premises.
Are there any additional costs?
Apart from the one time installation fee ($149 for residential and $199 for business in Rural areas) there are no additional fees with the standard Big Wifi service offerings. We only charge a monthly subscription fee, a monthly equipment rental fee if selected, and the tax. If, however, you require a custom solution or if you would like for us to install a local area network then there would be additional fees.
Cable/DSL City Internet
What services are required to receive Big Wifi internet?
Is Big Wifi internet service available in my area?
As mentioned above any premise with Shaw or Telus services can subcribe to Big Wifi internet and our other complement of services.
Do Big Wifi internet plans have any data caps?
No. All our plans are truly unlimited and there are no restrictions on usage unless activity falls outside acceptable use practices.
Having problems connecting to the internet, what should I do?
My devices are running slow, what should I do?
If you are having speed issues, try connecting your modem directly to your computer, not via your router. If your speeds are as expected when connected directly to your modem, but are significantly lower once you connect through your router, it may be helpful to reset your router and create a brand new Wi-Fi profile. After you have reset your router and created a new Wi-Fi connection, please retest your speeds. If the results are only bad when your router is also connected, or only when you are connected by Wi-Fi, it could be because multiple devices are online at the same time, a W-Fi issue, or a router issue. Those issues are local, and cannot be fixed remotely or by the visit of an internet technician. If the speed issue persists when directly connected to modem or if you are using a router supplied by Big Wifi, please contact Technical Support so we can further troubleshoot your connection. Our Technical Support team is available everyday from 9 am to 8 pm by phone, chat, or email.
How long does the process for connection take?
A new cable service can usually be activated in a minimum of 8 business days. The activation will happen on your transfer date, and no technician will be required.
What are the initial steps to setting up my new cable internet?
How does Big Wifi Unlimited Phone using Voice Over IP (VoIP) work?
What makes it different than a traditional phone line? Traditionally a phone conversation is converted to electronic signals that traverse an elaborate network of switches in a dedicated circuit that lasts the duration of a call. In Voice over Internet Protocol a conversation is converted to packets of data that travel over the Internet or private networks, just like emails or Webpages, through voice packets, that get priority status. The packets get reassembled and converted to sound on the other end of the call. It is priced much lower than standard phone service and doesn’t require the taxes and fees that most traditional phone companies must add to their price. The quality of the service is nearly identical to or sometimes better than traditional phone service.
What kind of equipment do I need?
All you need is high speed Internet and a phone adapter to go with your home phone. We recommend a traditional cordless phone that is 5.8GHz (or greater). Big Wifi provides the phone adapter that allows your standard phone(s) to use the Internet connection to place calls. The adapter is plugged in between your Internet connection and your router or computer. Your home phone can then be plugged directly into the adapter or a phone wire can be run from the adapter to a phone extension jack so that all the phones in your home can use the service.
What are the advantages of Big Wifi Unlimited Phone?
It makes long distance calls less expensive by removing some of the access charges required for use of the public telephone network. Advanced Features are included like programming, call-forwarding, receiving email and text message notification of voicemail messages, call transfers, etc. Virtually all traditional telephone features are included in the low price and are not additional add-on charges.
Can I transfer (port) my existing phone number?
Does 911 service work?
Yes. Its important to maintain up to date and accurate information on the premises address.
How is the voice quality?
The quality is typically at least as good as or better than a land line.
Are there limitations to the service?
Since Voice over IP operates over the Internet, Big Wifi Unlimited Phone service does not work in blackouts or if your Internet connection is down. However, a backup number (such as a cell phone) can be used as a “failover phone” if the Big Wifi service is not available. Your service may not work with security systems. Many times the Service does not function correctly with credit card machines. Please ask the Big Wifi team for further assistance to best meet your needs. Collect calling is not available with VoIP. Fax technology is not perfected on VoIP.
How does our TV service work?
Big Wifi delivers live television by IPTV which means your TV channels are delivered over your home internet connection instead of cable or satellite. Because it is delivered via the internet, you also get access to a world of apps and internet content (movies, music, games, social media, third-party streaming platforms, multicultural sites and more) on your TV. Our set top box makes every TV 'smart'! IPTV is now the fastest growing TV delivery platform in Canada and globally as more and more consumers discover the benefits of internet-delivered TV.
Is a certain level of internet package/speed required to support TV?
Video services can be demanding and broadcast at about 5 Mbps and require a stable internet connection. In order to use our TV service in addition to other internet demands we highly recommend Big 25 as a minimum for an enjoyable viewing experience.
Can I watch TV on more than one television at the same time?
Yes, you do require a device for each television. There is no problem with watching two TV's with two set top boxes simultaneously. However, please ensure that you are subscribed to a fast enough internet speed in your household to power good picture quality. Each TV channel would consume 5 Mbps, therefore two simultaneous channels will consume 10 Mbps. You will still need to have at some Mbps in reserve for other applications.
What kind of TV channel packages are available?
We want to provide consumers with low prices, more choice and flexibility in TV packages so that consumers can build their own TV packages. Start with one of our basic packages and customize from there with theme packs or individual channels from our large selection..
Do I need a device for each TV and are there additional costs?
Yes, you do need a separate set top box for each TV in order to receive the content and to enable all the features. There is an equipment charge for each additional box, but there are no additional monthly fees for TV service on additional TVs or additional data usage charges.
Do you provide the TV device?
You can buy or rent our set top box. The cost to purchase is $99.95. You can also rent your box for $6.95 a month with a refundable deposit of $49.95.
Is Netflix available?
Yes, if you have a Netflix account. Open the app and enter your login credentials to begin. Most established streaming services are available.
Electricity & Gas
If I have an energy contract with another retailer, can I still switch to Big Energy?
• Enmax RRO or EasyMax: 403-310-2010
• Direct Energy RRO: 1-888-420-3181
• Direct Energy Retailer: 1-866-374-6299
• Just Energy: 1-877-745-9553
• EPCOR or Encor: 780-310-4300; 1-800-667-2345
What is the process to switch to Big Energy?
Switching to Big Energy is EASY!
What choices can I make for energy retailers in Alberta?
What if I change my mind after I sign up?
You have a cooling off period, which lets you cancel within 10 days of the date we receive your completed sign up form. You also can cancel any time after that with just 10 business days notice prior to your next meter reading date. We have made it exceptionally easy for you.
What happens if I move?
You can transfer your contract with you to your new location. Just give us one month’s notice that you are moving, provide us with your new Site ID for electricity and we’ll take care of the rest.
Can you help me understand the terms on my bill?
Each month the local Distribution Company (ATCO, ENMAX, FortisAlberta or EPCOR) will read your meter and prepare a file called a Tariff Bill File (TBF). This electronic file is sent to the retailer. It contains the current meter read and the date the meter was read. The difference between the current read and the previous read is your actual consumption during the defined time period. The actual consumption is used to calculate the cost and price of your energy use.
These fees are regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). The current charges invoiced by the Wires Company that services your site is billed monthly, with direct pass through of distribution fees. No additional charges or mark-up are applied to these charges.
The monthly administration fee is on a per site basis. This covers the basic transactional fees incurred in processing your invoice.
This is the actual cost for the electricity you consumed. To calculate the Wholesale Cost, we use the hourly Pool Price (PP) averaged over the calendar month. We then adjust this cost based on your consumption relative to your Profile Class. This Profile Class is determined by your Wires Company. The Wholesale Cost includes the Line Loss (LL), Unaccounted For Energy (UFE), Retail Market Adjustments (RAM) plus the Alberta Electric System Operator’s Spot Trading Charge (STC).
The energy price is adjusted monthly. This price is applied to the energy you use, based on the meter read.
The following terms are often used in the electricity industry – Line Losses (LL), Pool Prices (PP), Spot Trading Charge (STC) and Unaccounted For Energy (UFE). A few brief descriptions are given below.
Is my personal information secure?
What is the Regulated Rate Option (RRO)?
In Alberta, you can choose how you buy electricity. You can sign a contract with an Energy Retailer at an agreed contract price and terms. You also can buy your electricity at a regulated rate, often called the RRO. The regulated rate is the unit price of electricity (cents per kilowatt hour – kWh). The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) regulates Alberta’s investor-owned and municipally-owned utilities to ensure that customers receive electricity at a just and reasonable rate. This rate changes each month. If you have not chosen a competitive electricity retailer and you use less than 250,000 kWh per year, you will continue to be eligible for the RRO.
Should I be concerned about the reliability of supply when choosing a competitve retailer?
No, electricity and natural gas services provided by competitive retailers differ only by price and other contract features. The reliability and quality of electricity and natural gas offered is identical amongst all industry competitors. If for some reason a competitive retailer decided to abruptly end its services, that company’s clients would automatically be switched over to the regulated rate provider, without even a flicker of the lights.