County Internet raises questions

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Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the Aug. 16 article “County Internet towers change lives for residents.”

This is not to be taken as a criticism of the reporter but rather of the information provided.

The concept that Ponoka County towers alone have had such a major effect is, in my opinion, overstated to say the least. There are many small Internet providers in the area who have been providing the same service for many years — I might add that they have been doing so on their own dollar and not with government grants.

One in particular is Albert High Speed, owned and operated by businessmen who live in the area, pay business taxes and property taxes, volunteer in the community and provide employment for local people.

The original federal grant program was intended to service “sparsely populated and hard to serve” areas. It was offered to “non-profit organizations, First Nations reserves, municipalities, and gas co-ops.” Why gas co-ops?

I was the president of a local, non-profit organization that saw a community need to be filled, and with the co-operation of Alberta High-Speed placed equipment at seven locations, two years ago. Ponoka County was approached to participate financially at the time but declined. The non-profit organization’s projected cost for seven sites was $150,000.

The Ponoka County of Ponoka towers by CCI (quoting from the article) $2 million. (Tax dollars.)

The article refers to CCI’s fourth generation technology. I believe 4G is approximately 100 megabits per second if in a clear line of site and within five miles. The perception is that all CCI customers are receiving 100 mb, but are they?

Did the folks from out east (Susan Bincoletto and Mesmin Pierse) tour all seven CCI sites? Were they taken to see the three CCI towers that were erected less than one quarter mile from the community sites that were already operating?

What is the real objective of the grant providers? Why have they chosen to give millions of taxpayers’ dollars to one company? Is high speed Internet to eventually become a utility like electricity where distribution will cost more than the service?

As you can see, the article provoked more questions than answers.

Irene Kurta-Lovell

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