Sunday, November 22, 2015

Comment: Private-sector internet development the right path forward

Jonathan Skrimshire

Re: "Town of Pincher Creek to support fibre optic broadband initiative", Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice, November 14

I am pleased and relieved that council has chosen to back away from the ill-conceived idea of building a publicly owned fibre optic internet network in Pincher Creek. Under no circumstances should the town and its taxpayers be exposed to long-term financial risk in order to deliver a nonessential service to a minority of residents. Private sector investment is clearly the right path forward in developing this infrastructure, and Axia, an Alberta-based corporation specializing in small-market network solutions, is an appropriate and obvious choice of vendor.

If, after assessing local demand, Axia chooses to risk its shareholders' capital to develop a network and offer its services in Pincher Creek, it will provide increased choice for residents and welcome competition to existing internet providers. But if they choose to decline, and no other private sector providers express an interest in the project, that should be the end of this initiative.

Jonathan Skrimshire
Pincher Creek

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