After 5 years of research, planning and negotiations, the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission will bring community-owned high-speed internet service to the valley this fall.
The service will be wireless, giving valley residents the equivalent speed and quality they would receive in other communities in the area such as Nelson.
The solid business plan has the system paying for itself, resulting in no increase in taxes. It will be rolled out incrementally over 8 months with the hope to have all valley residents and businesses connected in time.
Says Derek Murphy chair of SVEDC, “It’s been one of the most requested services in our area. It’s been some time coming and now we’ve developed a vision and a plan for the long term evolution of a high speed internet service that will benefit all valley residents. High-speed internet service is critical to the sustainability of any community, especially rural communities like ours”.
The project will go ahead when it receives a loan from the Municipal Finance Authority. The RDCK will be the guarantor of the loan, and in order to do that they require public approval this summer from affected residents. “It’s important that residents understand that this loan guarantee will not increase taxes. The RDCK is just asking approval to guarantee the loan. The project itself will generate enough funds from those using the service to pay back the loan”, says Murphy.
The commission is also awaiting a late June decision on additional funding from the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) to create what Murphy calls “the Cadillac version”. Regardless of whether the project receives this additional funding, it will still roll out a version in the fall with the funds from the MFA loan. “The additional MRIF funding will allow us to create a more robust system, gives us more choice in service providers and is a better long term solution for residents – but either way, once the public approves the RDCK to guarantee the loan from the MFA, we’re moving ahead”.
For more information, check out the regular monthly updates on page 3 of the Valley Voice or call Derek Murphy at 250.359.5998.
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