it’s not about the bandwith, it’s how you use it!


I wish to applaud Mayor Dawe in realizing at the October 11th meeting of council a recomendation  I put forward back in March during the budget meetings about providing a copy of the town’s video taped meetings to the public library.

It can be found in the second slide of my presentation here:

Although the town was unable to provide discs to the public for a reduced fee (they cost $30), or on-line removing the disc format entirely, I suppose this can be seen as asomewhat acceptable stop-gap measure.  One can only wonder how the previous administration who endlessly pontificated, even gloated about their accomplishments towards openness and accountability couldn’t even think to walk a DVD copy of meetings over to the library.

The question remaining, is how come the town cannot, or will not, post this video online.

Clr. Gaertner along with others on council seemed to have the same concern as reported on page 7 of this week’s Auroran which can be read here:

Download this file

As reported in the Auroran:

Last April, for instance, councillors were told by the Town’s communications department that future developments “could” include live streaming of the public meetings, but improvements were needed to the Town website’s bandwidth before that could become a reality.

How is it that in the 2011 the town’s website bandwidth cannot accomodate hosting video?

A 2010 website plan with associated budget outlined as an action item in the 2009 budget is nowhere to be seen.
It would be interesting to read exactly what, if any planning was done to incorporate rich media items like video that are common place on the web.

By my calculations the amount of $ spent on the Town’s website has eclipsed over half a million dollars.  I commented on that in a previous post here: 

The amount spent is significantly disproportionate to what the site is capable of. 

A 2010 audit of the website’s limited capabilities and user friendlieness cost $9,000.

Item # #12020 in the same 2011 budget from Attatchment #7 ( reads :
Town of Aurora Website – Content Management System.

It was approved at a cost of $90,000.

There is no evidense of any of this impacting the inability to stream simple video/audio files.

Even with this glaringly large oversight, why is bandwidth an issue at all?

I seriously doubt that the town will have so many people watching the video simultaneously that it will choke the site. 

If we are to believe Jason Ballantyne, Aurora’s Manager of Coporate Communications statement that “The problem with the streaming was the bandwidth capacity,” one has to wonder why the town would choose to reinvent the wheel and host files incurring baddwidth issues when there are several well known video hosting sites that provide secure storage while nullifying the bandwidth issue entirely.

Perhaps someone should tell the inept communications department at the town about something called YouTube before they start shooting their mouths off about unnecessary and expensive infrastructure like fibre optic cabling.

While we’re on the subject of expensive infrastructure that could meet these ends we should also be aware of another item approved in the 2011 budget at a cost of $50,000.

Project #72063 : Council Chambers Digital Recording System 

Explanation and highlights are outlined as:

“The cuurent audio annd video recording system in the Council Chambers was installed in 2005 and is now outdated.  the system relies on the production if digital video disks for video records and flash drive technology for audio records. Both audio and video recording require intensive staff interface with stand alone hard drives located in the A/V room.  A new digital system that streamed the audio and video feeds to a secure server would reduce user interface, improve reliability and provide more efficient access to digital records.”

The town of Aurora recognizes that it is using both antiquated recording technology and inadequete web infrastructure.  
Over $140,000 has been recently allocated yet there is no indication when they will be implementd or evidense that these changes will accomplish the objective of “providing more efficient access”.

Prominent video streaming outfit Netflix recently abandoned dividing its online streaming service from its DVD by-mail service (Quickster).

One key difference between Neflix and the town is that the former has a streaming service.
The strategy of the town’s isn’t even “in the mail”.




2 thoughts on “it’s not about the bandwith, it’s how you use it!

  1. It’s time you came back and offered your perspective at a council meeting. IT;s a number of years since Isuggested u-tube on the advice of another knowledgeable resident. I am simply not sifficiently literate in media matters to argue from strength of conviction. I am however concerned about funds expended and no improvement to show for it.
    As a citizen, you have aright to expect answers to the points you make on the blog.I am fairly sure there’s no-one on the council with your expertise. It may also be true of staff.
    Help us.

  2. I would appreciate the opportunity to more formally present my suggestions. I would prefer to gather some points together and prepare a presentation similar to the one I did for the Budget meeting, but also don’t want to exceed the 5 minute timeslot.

    Is there a comittee of council that may be more appropriate? If I approached council I believe it is more appropriate to do so at G.C. probably through a delegation as opposed to open forum.

    Is there perhaps one week that may be better than others? I wouldn’t want to present something in the middle of the 2nd round of special budget meetings.

    As you have no doubt been following my blog I don’t believe the town is using the right products for the right jobs and in a semi-related matter I am also preparing a suggestion for the HAC to adopt another Google product in favour of their proposed proprietary and expensive software.

    I was considering approaching G.C. last night to discus a separate matter in Open Forum as I have not received a reply from 3 councillors on that matter, perhaps I will forward it to you for your thoughts.

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