People living between LaGlace and Valhalla should have access to faster internet service by the end of this fall. Local provider GPNetworks has been awarded $520,000 to install a fibre optic line between the two communities.
CEO Kobus De Jager says the upgrade will mean better internet, television, and phone service, which is much needed in the rural area. Currently, most customers there are on wireless, which gives them speeds of 5 to 10 megabits per second.
“Wireless is normally not that reliable,” explains De Jager, “You can have bad weather or extreme cold and then it will be influenced, so the fibre optics basically will provide any services up to 100 mbps and even higher with basically unlimited data.”
The federal government announced Thursday that $22.5 million of its $500 million Connect to Innovate program will go to 39 rural and remote Alberta communities in need of new or faster internet services. GPNetworks will be spending another $200,000 to get the project done
De Jager says it’s an ongoing struggle for them to bring reliable high speed internet to rural areas in the County, but he feels they’re making progress. They are already working from Tamarack Estates to Flying Shot Lake, and want to target Grovedale.
“That is a terrible area for wireless,” he admits. “There’s a lot of interference, distance, trees, so that will be a project that we’re interested in as well.”
In total, GPNetworks has another five projects they’re hoping to see funded. The work in between LaGlace and Valhalla should be done by late fall 2018, weather dependent.