The town of Olds, Alberta (8,500 residents) has a community owned ISP called O-Net. This week, O-Net made an announcement:
On Thursday, the board of O-Net gave approval for residents to get access to a full gigabit or 1,000 megabits per second of bandwidth for the same price that they currently pay for a guaranteed download speed of 100 megabits per second — $57 to $90 a month, depending on whether they have bundled their internet with TV and phone service.
This is really progressive thinking for a municipality. They’re a rural community who responded to business owners who said they’d leave if Olds didn’t improve internet speeds. The town stepped up, and spent between $13-$14 million laying their own cable, and building their own ISP (they did this with the help of grant money).
Vernon, BC needs to be thinking this way.
The city has identified technology as a growth sector. To be a technology leader, it’s going to need broadband speed. Currently, the fastest consumer internet I’ve been able to find in Vernon is 50 MBPS. The internet in Olds is 20x faster.
I think there’s opportunity for local businesses to help pay for this. A dedicated 1 gigabit connection for a business is $5,000 / month in Olds. To achieve $1 million in annual revenues, you’d only need 17 businesses to sign-up.