While most rural towns in Canada have to get by with only minimal internet speeds, Olds, a small Alberta town took the “bull” by the horns and brought ultra fast internet speeds to its community itself. It not only built its own fibre optic network, but when it encountered commercial ISP’s that were reluctant to offer their services on a network they had not installed themselves, the town purchased the necessary equipment and started its own ISP. The project did not come cheap, it cost about $13 to $14 million to bring the service to the town of 8,500 people, it was financed through grants from the Alberta government and a loan from the town of Olds. It is expected that 100% of the town’s residents and businesses will have access to the network by 2014. The cost of the gigabit service will vary from $57 to $90 per month. As a comparison, high speed access of 175 to 250 megabits per second, offered by Bell and Rogers typically costs about $115 to $226 per month. Similar ultra fast internet access presently being piloted by Google in the US costs about $70 per month. Having affordable, high speed access to the internet is expected to encourage new businesses to set up in the small town as well help to expand programs at the local college. There is certainly a lesson to be learned by other under serviced areas within Canada, if the big commercial ISP’s don’t want to provide the access that you want, you should just build it yourself.
Source: CBC News