By Jasmine Franklin
Ponoka County is wasting no time moving forward on wireless Internet with hopes of having three towers installed by this fall — that is, if grant money comes in.
“Council is committed,” said Tom Webber, assistant chief administrative officer. “But the grant is key to the whole package.”
The plan to install six 200-foot towers in Ponoka County would cost around $900,000 with each tower being around $152,000. A $500,000 provincial grant would cover up to half the costs of the three-year program whereby the county would pay $400,000 up front and receive the money back over a 15-year period from the company buying the towers.
The towers would be installed to provide county-wide Internet service and locations are being considered. The county plans to own the towers, allowing all service providers to use them. However, council made it clear the county will not own the entire system, allowing for a competitive market between service providers.
“We do need more towers,” said Reeve Gordon Svenningsen in an Oct. 13th County council meeting.
Individuals could still chose their own service provider, and local providers such as TanTec Electronics could still provide service, now off a higher tower.