Broadband grant comes through

A $50,000 grant from SIDIT has come through to help fund the cost of the creation of broadband Internet in downtown Rossland.

You could call it manna from heaven.

The lynch pin needed to secure the installation of broadband in Rossland has arrived.

Mayor Greg Granstrom confirmed Monday that a $50,000 grant from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT) has come through to help fund the cost of the creation of broadband Internet in downtown Rossland.

The hard work of councilor Jody Blomme and the city’s Broadband Task Force has been realized after sending out two sizable grant applications in mid summer, said Granstrom.

“We are very excited,” he said. “This was the culmination of a lot of hours of meetings and discussion … and now I’m convinced it will become a real big economic driver for the city.”

The recommendation of the city’s Broadband Task Force—the broadest scenario available for start up—became the directive of the City of Rossland in a council vote Sept. 23.

But council approved the introduction of broadband Internet in the city with a caveat on option A, subject to the receipt of a minimum grant of $50,000.

With that grant now in hand, the city will enter into the pole permit agreement with Fortis immediately, and proceed with recommended build plan recommended by the task force.

City staff will also bring forward a bylaw authorizing the borrowing of up to $112,000 with a five-year term.

The option mitigates the risk of delaying a pole permit agreement with Fortis, and ensures the project can proceed.

The task force iterated that the option was the closest of any to the objectives outlined in the Official Community Plan goals for Community Economic Development.

The option also has the best payback of any option, resulting in a net revenue flow and savings of $952 per month under conservative assumptions about uptake, assuming no grants were forthcoming. The break even point on the project is 15 years.

The option also has the greatest potential for cost savings to the city, as the regional municipalities connect with the capacity to share costs on IT-related services like data backup.

It also has potential to bring the city revenue—from non-Internet related services to subscribers, such as TV and phone.

The Rossland Broadband Task Force was appointed by Mayor Greg Granstrom in November, 2012, had been examining the issue of a potential fibre structure build in Rossland and connection to the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation’s (CBBC’s) open access network.

editor@rosslandnews.com