GF to offer fibre optic services to business and community organizations

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
March 21st, 2014

The City of Grand Forks is expanding their fibre optic service to local businesses and community members.

At their regular council meeting on March 10, council heard from city staff that the infrastructure is in place, and that services like spam filters, email hosting, web hosting, virtual hosting, storage and back-up are services that the City can provide to the public.

The fibre optic system is something that the City has been developing since 2005 and through a partnership with School District 51 (SD51) they were able to provide a faster fibre optic network around the city.

Now that the infrastructure is in place, city staff are recommending that the City provides these services to larger businesses and community groups in the region as a way to generate income, which will offset any future costs of the system.

Council was told that the system is already in place and ready to be used, so they don’t need to provide any costs up front. The presentation was to allow the City to move forward and starting marketing the service.

In 2005, the City decided to start using a fibre network instead of Sunshine Cable, which later became Shaw Cable. They say that the decision has allowed them to have advanced services and that it has saved them money. They currently offer have 30 fibre optic sites set up around the city including municipal and school sites. Previously there were only eight. The network saves them $24,000 a year compared to what Shaw wanted to charge them for only three sites.

The total project cost $1,046,689. SD51 and the City both paid $258,345 and the remaining funding came from grants. 

They also told city council at the March 10 committee of the whole meeting that the network has been more reliable is 100 times faster than before. It also has the potential to be 1000 times faster and has allowed the phone system to be upgrades.

At the meeting, city staff even talked about the potential to be a network hub for the region and to make connections with other providers like Telus and Shaw and maybe even Sprint across the border.

City council approved the resolution to start providing access to the network for business and community members.  


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