South Peace News
Town of High Prairie council remains committed to improve broadband services in the community.
Now the town is considering a project of its own.
At its regular meeting July 28, council directed staff to schedule a time for council to meet with service provider Rohl Global Network to discuss options for the town. Mayor Brian Panasiuk recommended council meet in an effort to move a project forward in the town.
The town has been working with Big Lakes County to build a municipally-owned network, he says.
“Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, the municipally-owned project is not going ahead at this time,” Panasuik says.
“The biggest reason is that there’s no funding from the province.”
He says the county is looking at more options.
“I don’t think the county will get involved because they have other challenges,” Panasiuk says.
“It is time to explore other options to bring broadband to our community.”
He says Rohl Global is currently running fibre through the town.
“The potential benefit is to discover a way to bring broadband to our community,” Panasiuk says.
CAO Brian Martinson says the fibre is being buried to service Peavine Metis Settlement.
“We need to look at the best option what’s best for the Town of High Prairie,” Panasiuk says.
“At this point, we need to look at all options.”
Plans to improve broadband communications in the region were scaled back to a pilot project by county council at its meeting Nov. 27.
“Now that there has been a change in provincial government and direction, availability of grants has certainly changed again,” CAO Jordan Panasiuk says in a report to council.
“Giving this change, the broadband committee feels that a move back to the two pilot projects is the way to advance broadband Internet in the county and region.”
In February 2019, the county and town redirected the focus to include the entire region to include Swan Hills, neighboring First Nations and Metis settlements.
“This changed was based on the direction that the (former) NDP government was moving with its provincial broadband Internet strategy,” Panasiuk says.
Panasiuk caution council that provincial grants for funding broadband are limited.