Broadband goes public: Is high speed Internet coming to Rossland?

Chief operating officer Mark Halwa from the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation gave city council the financial picture for broadband.

The business case for broadband Internet in Rossland went public Monday night.

Chief operating officer Mark Halwa from the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) gave city council the financial picture of three scenarios for a proposal to bring broadband high speed internet access to parts of the city.

Halwa said there are three scenarios council has to consider as it prepares to make its decision on Sept. 23.

The first one only includes putting in high speed service to City Hall alone, at no cost to the city. The second involves City Hall and downtown businesses, around 72 potential business subscribers.

Councillor Jody Blomme said there are already 24 business owners who have said they would subscribe to the service out of the 35 who have replied.

The third option includes service from St. Paul to City Hall, with only around 35 potential subscribers.

The second option would cost the city the most—around $156,480—but would have the most revenue associated with it (around $859 per month). It would have a payback of 15.2 years.

The third option would cost the city $63,690 but would have no revenue associated with it. That would mean the city would have to rely solely on taxpayer dollars to fund it.

Council has already approved in principle the introduction of the service to the city.


How much city time and money will it cost for maintenance, training, vans, on-call technicians, dispatch, and equipment?

CBBC will deal with these. The city is not building a fibre network of its own, but building onto the CBBC fibre network. The city is not entering the business of telecommunications so much as enabling the arrival of open access network broadband within our community.

How will the city be able to provide services to make this network work?

CBBC would be the Internet service provider of City Hall.

City Hall could choose to be the Internet service provider to Rossland, or could choose to enter into contract with real Internet service providers who will run the service instead.

CBBC would oversee the process of finding and contracting Internet service providers. There are small companies already existent in the Kootenays, and more will appear.


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