The Vauxhall Business Society has cast their support in favour of Axia installing their network of fibre-optic cables in the town.
In a letter to council, discussed during the regular Nov. 16 Vauxhall town council meeting, VBS president Joerg Klempnauer signified the society’s support for the project, writing that “High-speed Internet connection is just as important today as a telephone connection was 50 years ago”.
“Right now, you have the town people being on the wireless, and outside of town. And outside of town we have not, for a long time, another option then wireless. So if the town would switch over to a fibre-optic connection, it would free up speed on the outlying areas of Vauxhall. So I think of it as a win-win,” said Klempnauer. “We are a little bit in a disadvantage on the connection to the (Internet). Going to a faster speed, would make that more lucrative and interesting for other businesses to come here.”
He notes that since land prices in Vauxhall are considerably cheaper then in Taber or Lethbridge, a better Internet connection might attract more businesses to the area. Additionally, it would also benefit residents who go online a lot.
“Things that they take for granted in Calgary or Lethbridge, you cannot have here, in Vauxhall. It would help in retaining the residential people in Vauxhall, or getting more here.”
Klempnauer also had given a presentation during the Nov. 25 society meeting, prepared by Axia, citing that increase Internet speeds, more data and cheaper plans were important to keeping and luring businesses into the area.
In the Nov. 16 council meeting, councillors received the letter of support for information. Mayor Margaret Plumtree told council that she had met with someone who went to a presentation in the Town of Olds, where they had talked about how internet improve the quality of life for residents. Olds had made headlines in July 2013, when they became the first Canadian town to install their own fibre-optic network, providing residents with access to a full gigabit per second of bandwidth.
“They were saying for Olds, it wasn’t so much as retention and expansion, as it was quality of life,” said Plumtree.
“But they were saying well what they could do is, people could use Skype. So if you have family and friends that live elsewhere, all of a sudden, you can communicate better with them. You can see them when you’re talking to them, instead of just being on a phone, or you can’t phone because, you know, long distance charges.”
If 30 per cent of households and businesses log onto Axia’s website and vote yes to the Internet service, they will install the network in Vauxhall for free, including maintenance costs. This will be an open network, so if somewhere down the line other companies like TELUS want to use it, they can.
While the company still might install the network if less then 30 per cent say they want it, they will only do it at no cost if at least 30 per cent say yes.