Mountain View Gazette
Tuesday, Sep 13, 2016 06:00 am By: Dan Singleton
Mountain View County will host a workshop this fall to gather information on ways to improve broadband Internet service for rural residents and businesses.
The county’s policy and priorities committee approved the move during its recent regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 6.
Under the direction of council, administration has been examining the issue of broadband access in the county for the past several months.
That process has included conversations with Clearwater County and O-NET.
“It would be administration’s recommendation that a fall workshop be established and administration will invite the neighouring rural municipalities, as well as those who are further along the process of identifying a solution to a roundtable discussion to be held in council chambers,” Jeff Holmes, director of legislation services, said in a briefing note to council.
“Invitees would be a mixture of representatives from administration and council and all attendees would be asked to prepare and provide a one-pager detailing what they have done to date. This would allow for information sharing and might aid in identifying what works and what doesn’t work, as well as potential opportunities for partnership.”
In an interview following the Sept. 6 committee meeting, Holmes added, “Council is interested in trying to provide and influence broadband services, looking to make sure that our residents have competitive Internet access.
“We are hoping to get together and just brainstorm and look at alternatives that Mountain View County may consider that would enhance the broadband service our residents experience.”
During the examination of the issue to date, administration has found a number of things other communities have done to improve Internet services, he said.
“Some of the things municipalities in other parts of the province have looked at include installing fibre connections in rural areas, installing municipal-owed towers and infrastructure to deliver the broadband services. Those are some of the things we’re hoping to investigate before proposing any solutions for Mountain View County,” he said.
Among those who will be asked to attend the workshop will be officials from the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, he said.
“They have staff that have been involved in looking at this provincially. We will also reach out to any of our rural neighbours that may be facing the same challenge and are interested in exploring enhancement opportunities,” he said.
A date for the workshop has not yet been set.