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High Speed Internet in Rural Areas: Creation of Galaxy Fibre and its Connection to BrooksNet
Internet Options in Rural Areas & the Issue of Low Connectivity
Rural communities have a history of being sidelined by major telecommunications carriers. They are considered relatively unprofitable, largely due to the low population density and lack of proximity to core service centres.
The peculiar and occasionally extreme environmental conditions also pose a challenge, and as a result, the big players ignore rural and remote communities. This leaves residents in these areas with a lack of high speed internet.
With the bulk of content we consume coming from streaming services, simple activities such as watching a movie or TV show becomes arduous. Gaming isn’t as much fun. Professionals working from home struggle to have meetings and engage in team activities without the internet acting up.
What’s more concerning is that services considered essential such as telehealth no longer become feasible. These services are often the only option for certain segments of the population. This digital divide unfairly punishes the older demographic, who are more concentrated in such rural areas and need the internet to help alleviate isolation and provide access to online essential services
Galaxy Fibre is a product of this circumstance and envisions a complete transformation of these conditions for Brooks in rural Alberta. Rural Alberta is one of those areas bearing the brunt of this disparity.
The Alberta Broadband Strategy was initiated to meet–and perhaps exceed–the minimum technology standards that should be mandated across Canada. “Nearly 489,000 Albertans do not have access to the internet speeds they need to work and learn from home.
67% of rural Albertans and 80% of Indigenous communities do not have access to reliable high-speed internet at federal target speeds. This represents approximately 201,000 households, or 489,000 Albertans, who are at an economic disadvantage to their peers living in urban centres.”
Average internet speeds in rural areas
According to CIRA, the median download speed for urban Canadians when the pandemic first hit was 26.16 Mbps. For rural Canadian communities, it was just 5.42 Mbps — not nearly enough download speed for work, schooling, and healthcare that at the time we had no choice but to do from home.
By July, the median download speed for urban areas had already nearly doubled to 51.54 Mbps. In rural areas, it continued to languish at 5.62 Mbps. In March, urban Canadians had roughly 5x the internet speed of their rural neighbours. Today, they have almost 10x the power for connecting, working, and learning from home.
Community Network Partners (CNP) was formed with the goal of connecting and empowering communities through technology. It achieves that by engaging with communities in the ownership of critical infrastructure, providing capital and investments, and offering resources to help rural communities thrive with high speed fibre optic internet.
It brought fibre optic broadband technology to Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg, a First Nations community in Ontario, and Dubreuilville, a rural community in Ontario.
Brooks was its next endeavour, and accordingly, it partnered with the City of Brooks to bring fibre optic technology to residents of Brooks. This is when BrooksNet was born, to build the infrastructure required to provide high-quality and high-speed internet to Brooks residents.
BrooksNet does not directly provide internet service, but instead operates on an open access network model. BrooksNet builds the underlying technology so that internet Service Providers (ISPs) can then use this technology to provide internet service, with Galaxy Fibre being the first ISP on the BrooksNet network.
An often-used analogy to explain this model is how municipalities build roads so everyone can use them. And when they do, it benefits the community as a whole–people go about their lives, businesses thrive, the economy flourishes and the municipality also benefits. With BrooksNet providing the framework for retailers to provide internet access, the residents of Brooks also enjoy an array of benefits. But how?
Community Impact: How we plan to bring blazing fast internet in rural areas
Having BrooksNet at the top of the chain and not directly providing the service results in a multitude of advantages that chiefly benefit the residents of Brooks. Attracting multiple vendors to avail the infrastructure and provide high speed fibre optic internet to the community gives way to the following:
1. Freedom of Choice for Residents
Residents will not be forced to deal with one sole provider who exerts its power in a monopoly market.
2. Allows Competition
When you have multiple vendors competing, they are motivated to provide the best service to stand out from the competition.
3. Keeps the Profits Within the Community
All the financial gain stays in the community when the owner at the top of the hierarchy is a member of the community. Contrary to when a large telco provider enters the market and reaps the profits and invests them elsewhere.
4. Honours the Community’s Vision and Voice
Having the infrastructure built from within Brooks ensures that the vision of Brooks always comes first and creates a high level of transparency within the community.
Blazing fast internet in the City of Brooks
Galaxy Fibre provides the fastest, most reliable internet through fibre optic technology so browsing, streaming, gaming and working online are all seamless and efficient for Brooks residents. Learn more about Galaxy Fibre’s packages here.