Fibre optic cable is there, but it’ll cost millions to hook up Beaver Valley homes to the cutting edge technology.
Montrose staff recently investigated if the village was on the TELUS list for residential connections after inquiries were made from a few home-based businesses.
“We had TELUS provide us with confirmation if Montrose was on their radar for the installation of their fibre optic network in the village, the same as what they are currently doing in Castlegar and other communities in B.C.,” Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Larry Plotnikoff explained. “They appear to not have Montrose on their list.”
Even if the village was on the company roster, the cost is not feasible for the municipality’s small taxpayer base.
“They provided us with a quote as to how much of a contribution they would require for the village to access that service,” Plotnikoff added.
“The Village of Montrose – approximately $1.25 million – TELUS– approximately $900,000.”
The fibre optic line running through the village is currently owned by Columbia Broadband Corporation (CBBC), he continued.
“We are looking at ways at how the local residents could benefit from having that infrastructure at their doorstep,” Plotnikoff said. “Montrose is a desirable place to live, and if we can ensure what is fast becoming basic amenities such as access to high speed internet/broadband services it may encourage more persons to consider setting up or bringing their home-based business to Montrose.”
Reliability, speed and bandwidth are advantages the fibre optic network has over high-speed Internet via a phone line or cable hook up, which is why the technology is desirable for people working from home.
“We have been talking with different citizens who work from home,” says Montrose Mayor Joe Danchuk. “The cable runs through the village but we need the hardware (to install to each home) and that’s where the money is. So what we have been doing is throwing feelers out there.”
In 2013, TELUS invested $6 million connecting Trail to the fibre optic network, Danchuk mentioned another small community that was fortunate to be included in the infrastructure upgrade.
“I know Genelle lucked out and got hooked up,” he said. “You just have to be in the right place at the right time and we’re not.”
The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) declared broadband Internet a basic service across the country last year, just like the current landline phone service.
Montrose presently has high-speed Internet, which is satisfactory for most residential users. But as more people opt to work from home, Danchuk remains hopeful that government will help smaller communities connect to the latest technology.