September 14, 2018
Leaders today should know that access to high speed, reliable internet service is a must if we are to attract and keep business and industry in the Winnipeg River Corridor Region.
Access to the connections that drive business productivity, support students, improve access to healthcare and increase new employment opportunities are often lacking in our region. In some of our communities, dial-up and low speed internet are still the only choice for residents, and having limited choice or no choice does not make us competitive. For some the cost is simply prohibitive and particularly for seniors.
Recently the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) identified that access to high-speed Internet is a priority and considers it to be basic telecommunications service for Canadians. They have recommended speeds for Canadians that are far greater then what we see in many areas of the Winnipeg River Corridor Region today.
The problem of access to high-speed Internet is not just a Manitoba problem – it exists globally. Cities, regions, municipalities, and provinces are now looking for creative ways to partner and work together to ensure Canadians, both urban and rural, have access to services that increase our competitiveness. The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region municipalities have been studying and exploring the option of setting up fiber optic connectivity in their region as a utility for some time now.
The good news here is that the R.M. of Alexander has recently obtained access to that connectivity from Manitoba Hydro Telecom for their municipal office headquarters on Bouvier Trail. The many trucks and crews that you saw on Bouvier Trail just over a week ago from Crown Utility Services went back a mile south to bring that fiber optic cable to the municipal office for a price tag of $76,500.00. It has however been set up so that there is a possibility of sharing that connectivity with ratepayers if council so wishes. That would certainly be welcomed in the Winnipeg River Corridor Region and hopefully then the municipality could recover that hook-up fee and the monthly $750.00 internet bill that they will be paying to Mb Hydro Telecom Services.