Time running out for free broadband connection

Trail businesses have until March 31 to add their names to the list for free broadband hookup.

Time is running out for businesses in downtown Trail to sign up for the free broadband connection offered by the City of Trail and the Trail Broadband Committee (TBC) and although the majority of business owners have already applied for the connection there are still a number who haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity.

“So far the buy-in has been excellent,” said Don Freschi, chair of the committee and general manager of Community Futures of Trail. “Around 75 per cent of businesses have subscribed and we’re hoping the rest will come on board.”

Individual building owners have to be the ones to apply for the installation that would provide broadband service to any businesses on their property with the potential to make their property more attractive to businesses who require the faster speeds capable with the new technology.

“Fibre can be expensive to have installed but once it’s in, the businesses can decide what services they might want to subscribe to with an Internet service provider (ISP),” Freschi said.

“Right now the connection is free, with no commitment to sign a contract with any ISP so, to me, it’s a no-brainer.”

After March 31 businesses will be required to pay either a portion of the hookup costs until the end of July or the entire $1,500 if they wait until after December.

With the warmer spring weather Freschi says the crews are already planning out how to roll out the installations in downtown Trail with the expectation to have the buildings hardwired by June or July and ISP’s able to begin offering service by the time the snow flies again this fall.

“I’m excited about this, it’s good for the community,” said Freschi. “It would allow companies who require broadband to relocate here from Vancouver or Calgary. They would be able to do their business and live the lifestyle that we have here in the Kootenays.”

According to the TBC website, the B.C. Technology Industry Association reports that the tech sector is the largest employer in B.C. and creates more jobs that forestry, mining, and oil and gas combined.

Businesses or commercial building owners interested in signing up for the free broadband connection can find the application forms at www.trailbroadband.caa or at the City of Trail.