CANMORE – Residents and businesses in Canmore can expect improved connectivity and internet connection services in the future after Telus announed last week it would invest $41 million for improved high-speed internet access between now and 2023.
In a community that is performing under the Canadian average for Internet service, Canmore Mayor John Borrowman said he is cautiously accepting this as good news.
"I'm going to take this as pretty interesting and positive news and look forward to actually understanding how it plays out in Canmore," Borrowman said.
"I'm looking forward to Telus working directly with the Town of Canmore in some way – I certainly see it in a positive light and it adds to my optimism that we will get broadband service here sooner rather than later."
The $41 million investment is slated to enhance wireless and wireless connectivity, increasing internet speeds for local residents and businesses, expanding the capacity and reach of the Telus 4G LTE network through the community while preparing wireless sites for the future of 5G and supporting social services such as health care and education.
“Telus is proud to make this generational investment in Canmore, providing the technology to bridge geographic and socio-economic divides and connect citizens to the people, resources and information that make their lives better," said Telus president Darren Entwistle in a press release. "We look forward to connecting more Albertans to Telus PureFibre and our industry-leading wireless networks, attracting new industries and innovators to the province and Canmore, while supporting the jobs of today and those that have yet to be imagined."
The announcement comes 10 months after the Town accepted its broadband strategic plan outlining the importance of a strong economy where council and administration wanted to promote economic diversification across business sectors including the exploration of community broadband deployment.
In 2016, the Town of Canmore began looking at the idea of a municipally run broadband service, but wanted a cost-benefits analysis study, which was completed last year by the IBI Group.
The broadband strategic plan noted the concerns from residents and businesses with the ability of the providers at the time to keep pace with their needs and noted the estimated costs of a municipal broadband service of $14.3 million – $2.2 million for the fibre optic backbone, $1 million for businesses and $11 million for residential in infrastructure costs.
The report showed that in 2017, the level of service was below the Canadian average and well below the standards outlined by the Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) in 2016, setting targets of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps download with unlimited usage capacity to be available in 90 per cent of Canadian premises by 2021.
At the time the recommendations included offering broadband to residents and business on a selective basis in the short-term, with long-term goals of full-scale community access.
While Banff-Kananskis MLA Miranda Rosin said in a press release the investment will help the town prosper and projected 5,000 jobs could be created as a result, the mayor said he is awaiting to hear from Telus officials for more infomration.
"I'm assuming they are planning to develop broadband infrastructure throughout the community and if that is their plan, or something approaching that, then it is really good news for our community – we are actively encouraging diversification into the tech sector," Borrowman said.