One of the things we like about the Castlegar region is that it is still growing, but at a pace that matches my sanity. Today, I caught this news about the installation of a town-wide wireless service…
The city is expected to invest $800,000 in the project to establish the initial infrastructure while Raymer will contribute millions to maintain what president Tim Dufor describes as the “back office stuff, and continual maintenance of the network.” The city’s investment is small potatoes compared to the potential economic benefits, explained Dufor.
The network will piggyback on existing Telus fibre optic cables, with towers built on the outskirts of the city linking the network to Kelowna. Raymer Bay will then install access points mounted on streetlights around Castlegar. Dufor said 25-30 access points should cover the entire city.
This is expected to be installed during 2007, so the article says. More after the jump…
In our decision on where to live one of my concerns has been high speed Internet access availability, we’d love to live out of town a bit, but don’t really want to submit to the whims of satellite, which is a second class solution for VOIP and video solutions due to the inherent delay in transmissions. I’d be interested in getting some coverage maps to work out where it will reach.
This is but one of the solutions available to rural communities for Internet, other innovative solutions include Internet over Powerlines, provided by the electricity providers. There are areas around the world testing this technology with success, and less constraints than DSL solutions. Wireless is a good solution as it requires the least infrastructure for the home or business owner, but requires increased online security measures and knowledge of risks posed.
The City of Castlegar’s Broadband Action Plan can be found here, which is about a year old, but it appears that progress is being made on the plan…
It’s too early to put a price tag on what users might pay for the service, but Fry and Dufor estimate it will range from $20 a month for basic services into the thousands for businesses that require more bandwidth.
Apart from Internet and cell phone for residents, other potential applications for the network include dam control, traffic lights and the coordination of emergency services.
Brian hopes to see Nelson, Trail and Rossland come on board with similar projects so the wireless portability could extend throughout the West Kootenay.
“We’re hoping it stimulates the regional economy,” said Castlegar’s Chief Administrative Officer, Jim Gustafson. “We want to be able to compete with the big centres.”
“We hope this network will provide new opportunities for residents,” he said. “Perhaps costs will be lower.”
Gustafson hopes the advanced technology will encourage young people to stay in the community and young entrepreneurs to return to the West Kootenay.
“We’re trying to build a sustainable community for the future,” he added.
More as the details unfold…