Broadband service to get a big boost

CBBC and the City of Trail will create a high tech hub in the downtown core, bringing a higher level of affordable broadband internet.

The city’s synergy will be taking a step forward with a new fibre network planned for the downtown core.

The new project in partnership with the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) and the City of Trail will create a high tech hub in the downtown core through a proposed fibre build.

For a net cost of $54,768 to the city from prior years’ surplus, the $300,000 project will provide a higher level of affordable broadband service to private property owners and could generate additional economic development in the city, read an April report to Trail city council.

“With conventional retail effectively disappearing the city must look at ways of diversify(ing) the use of property in the downtown and this service provides one way of facilitating this change,” the report stated.

While the new network won’t create free wireless in the downtown core, it would provide some further efficiency with one fibre with twice as much capacity and at half of the cost, said Mark Halwa, CBBC chief operating officer.

“We think it will provide the next level of communications, not equivalent to what is in Vancouver, but better, in downtown Trail, and we are doing it on a cost sharing basis which makes economic sense,” he said.

Such a service would help attract “knowledge” workers to the city because a very high-speed network would be an appealing thing—drawing in the six figure incomes into the local economy, said Halwa.

On June 25 council also received confirmation of a $50,000 grant from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust towards the project.

Having a high tech downtown was identified in a previous council commissioned study as a high priority, said Mayor Dieter Bogs, connecting the downtown with a fibre network.

“It’s going to be a very important project that gives us the ability to light up a fair section of our downtown area,” he said.

The project will be a test and a market survey will be completed to determine what the appetite will be from the merchants for this kind of service, Bogs added.

The new network would connect all city facilities, increase the city’s capability to implement new technology and save money each year on connectivity fees that would otherwise be paid to a third party.

The city had partnered with the now dissolved Columbia Mountain Open Network to install a significant amount of municipally-owned fibre a number of years ago.

CBBC will oversee the project along with its intent to connect the Canada Post building on Pine Avenue as the hub for expansion of core services. For the city, fibre services will expand from Cedar Avenue to the Columbia River, and from Spokane Street to the Trail Memorial Centre.