Town signs fibre optic agreement
Wednesday, Oct 04, 2017 06:00 am
Slow Internet speeds in Turner Valley could be a thing of the past next year with the Town enlisting Telus as its high-speed Internet provider.
Town residents and merchants struggling with sluggish online speeds should see relief by this time next year as town council agreed to sign on with Telus’ fibre optics service. Council approved the plan following the in-camera portion of its Sept. 18 council meeting.
Details of the agreement and service have not been released.
Mayor Kelly Tuck said a press release will be issued in the near future.
Tuck said only those who sign up with the service, which carries data over longer distances at higher bandwidths, will pay. There will be no cost to those wishing to remain with their current service provider, she said.
“We are bringing services that aren’t going to cost taxpayers anything,” she said.
Telus is expected to install a fibre line to all businesses and homes by 2018, allowing faster downloading speeds.
The Town hired Taylor Warwick Consulting last spring to create a business case detailing options for high-speed Internet in Turner Valley. The project cost about $11,000, $5,000 of which was supplemented by the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP).
The Sherwood Park-based consulting company has created business cases for other municipalities and is working with the CRP to evaluate options to enhance the availability and quality of broadband services across the region.
“We looked at a lot of things going through this process,” said Tuck. “It was truly trying to understand what was the best way to go. We truly felt good about our decision.”
Taylor Warwick Consulting explored a regional service with neighbouring communities, which Tuck said left a lot of unanswered questions.
“One of the biggest questions this council had was are there grants available,” she said. “You don’t know what grants are going to be available at the end.”
Another issue was the time, said Tuck.
“I’m sure it would have taken a number of years,” she said. “We are not waiting five or 10 years.”
The study also explored the potential of the Town providing high-speed Internet, an option council did not support, Tuck said.
“It would not benefit the town to be the service provider,” she said. “When you already have service providers that specialize in that why wouldn’t you work with them when they’re doing all the work and it won’t cost the community anything? You’d have to have the tech people, you would have to contract all of those services. It’s not an industry that municipalities should be in.”
As for finding a service provider, Tuck said both Axia and Telus approached the Town with proposals.
“The service that’s coming into town is exactly what Axia was offering,” she said. “It did come down to the presentation and comfort around it and understanding what that looked like. All of us felt a comfort and confidence behind the presentation that was given for Telus. They were very detailed and took the time to explain.”
Once the system is installed, Tuck said citizens and merchants can choose whether or not they would like to sign up.
“I’m just excited to have another service offered to the community,” she said. “The Internet in the town of Turner Valley is very, very slow. Documents take forever to download, especially if it’s a large document.”
Turner Valley and Black Diamond Town councils have been discussing switching to fibre optics the past couple of years. Black Diamond council rejected splitting the cost of the business case with Turner Valley in April, saying it has the information it needs to make a decision on broadband. A decision has not yet been made.