By Nikki Jamieson
UPDATE: As of Dec. 15, 2016, the town of Vauxhall has reached the 24 per cent mark, and needs only 50 more people to sign up to signify interest in Axia’s fibre optic network, after which it will be installed for free in the town.
The quest for a fibre optic Internet network in Vauxhall is almost over; they just need a few more people to signify interest.
After talking to Axia representatives, Vauxhall Mayor Margaret Plumtree was happy to announce that they need only 80 more people to indicate their interest, and the town will have fibre optic Internet.
“It’s kind of cool. We’re a lot further along than what I had thought,” said Plumtree. “Would I be excited myself personally, to have fibre optics connected to my house? Most definitely.”
During a November 2015 meeting of Vauxhall town council, an Axia representative told council that if at least 30 per cent of households living in Vauxhall fill out a form signifying interest in their fibre optic Internet, then Axia would install their fibre optic network in town for free.
Although the Vauxhall Business Society had jumped on board and supported the initiative, even spending time and money hosting sessions and handing out flyers for it. However, as the year moved on, it appeared that Vauxhall residents did not believe they needed the service, as no word came that the town had reached their target.
However, after Axia representatives had set up a booth at the Vauxhall Public Library during the Snowflake Frolic on Dec. 1, the company informed the town that they were only shy of their goal by 80 residents and businesses.
“The biggest thing is not knowing ever where we’re at with the numbers, because we don’t collect the data, it’s Axia that collects it. Its kind of that whole unknown while you’re doing it,” said Plumtree. “Now, having some numbers, that actually helps us with those conversations, to tell people, ‘Ok, this is where we’re at. We need 80 people and then we got that 30 per cent, and then we can start looking at contracts with Axia, and I know when they came here (earlier), they were talking about if we can get there, we could potentially, they could potentially start building in the spring.”
Plumtree stressed that just because you signed up to indicate your interest for the service, it does not mean it is a binding agreement to buy the service from them; it is simply to say that you would potentially be interested in the service.
Additionally, once the fibre optic network is installed in the town, other Internet providers, such as Telus, Shaw and Bell, can tie into the network to provide residents with their Internet services.
“People are not signing up for Axia, they are just expressing interest. They even changed the button that you click on so it’s not so confusing for people.”
Axia has been operating for over 10 years, focusing on connecting communities with their fibre network. They are currently working with the Albertan government to provide services on the Alberta Supernet — which connects 4,700 government, learning, health, library and municipal facilities across the province — and have installed networks in places like Barnwell.
While Axis may still install in a community if less then 30 per cent of households and businesses say they want the service, they will only do it at no cost to the community if at least 30 per cent say they want it.
To find out more about what Axia has to offer, or to indicate your interest in getting fibre optics in Vauxhall, visit https://www.axia.com/alberta.