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FibreTown could be the new wave of rural Alberta

Posted on August 29, 2017 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Justin Seward
Redcliff’s town council began the Aug. 21 regular meeting with a visit from Axia’s fibre Internet company residential sales south manager John Reid.
Reid’s focus was on the availability of fibre Internet in rural Alberta.
He said with Redcliff’s demographics trending younger that there is a possibility of industry around agriculture and a place where fibre optic Internet can come into being important.
“It’s Internet at the speed of light, ” said Reid.
“Where normal restriction that you’d see with cable Internet or DSL Internet, which are common with Shaw and Telus … are limited by speeds which signals can move and the amount of signals that can move. Fibre optic travels at the speed of light and it doesn’t have those limitations. The bandwidth or the amount of information that can be sent is almost limitless.”
Reid emphasized that Redcliff’s infrastructure needs to be identified now because in the next 50 to 100 years it is uncertain what Internet use will look like.
Axia is investing $100 million into rural Alberta and provides Internet, telephone and TV services altogether in the infrastructure in a municipality.
The company started in three towns in 2015 and has grown into 11 municipalities.
“We’re currently ready to announce for quite a few more and we want to find the next 40 for the $100 million investment,” said Reid.
“We’re spreading the word town-by-town just like this and explain our model.”
The Fibre Town option is a community that understands the economic advantage and the need for digital connectivity.
Axia commissioned a study in Vulcan, which was their first fibre town in February 2015 and the plan was to get hard anecdotal numbers the way the town operated.
He said after completing the study, that 72 per cent of the respondents believed their more attracted to the location for businesses, while the average customer saves $72 per month by switching to fibre optic Internet services and 79 per cent said they have more enjoyable entertainment experience.
Vulcan residence said they were saving $120,000 per year because of the reduction in the TV and phone bills.
If Redcliff were to become a FibreTown, they would have to follow the seven steps, starting a partnership, which began at the meeting. Then it would be a matter of engaging the citizenship and a requirement for the town to have 30 per cent of the citizens to express their interest in the service.
“If fibre ever came here, they’d be interested in buying,” said Reid.
“There’s not a credit card, there’s no commitment. It’s simply them putting up their hand saying ‘Yeah I’d be interested if fibre came to Redcliff.’”
The next step is to evaluate the town and make sure all the permits are in place before working out a design and giving the final approval as a FibreTown. The finals steps will be construction, signing up and installation.
Council did not have to make a decision after the presentation.

No fee waived at Riverview Golf Club
Riverview Golf Club sent a letter to town council with the hopes of getting their $40,000 irrigation fee waived. Council decided unanimously against the motion.

Dog park infrastructure
Council received an update on the local dog parks from the Community and Protective Services Department and councilors will consider in the future to have Third Avenue SW dog park rehabbed and a part of the 2018 budget.
The other options were the possibility of having a seasonal dog park or dog runs.

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