City of Campbell River
The City of Campbell River (CCR) has experienced a number of economic setbacks during the past decade. The sustained destabilization of the forest economy that culminated in the closure of the region’s primary employer, the Catalyst Pulp and Paper mill at Elk Falls in 2010, has provided a substantial negative impact on the CCR’s resource based economy.
Throughout this process, CCR has aggressively pursued a proactive approach towards economic diversification, which includes an active engagement process by council with the local business community. One of the areas of concern identified through this engagement process is the inflated cost of broadband internet access delivered by fibre optic cable in the Campbell River area.
Affordable access to high speed broadband internet is a priority prerequisite for most businesses considering investment in rural municipalities. The high cost of broadband internet access is another example of the digital divide encountered by rural communities that exist beyond large urban centers. Large urban centers have ready access to information and communication technology through preinstalled and shared infrastructure (fibre) at a considerably reduced cost.
Rural communities, with their smaller client base, must pay for the installation of communication infrastructure through construction costs, which substantially inflates the monthly cost associated with access to a service provider’s broadband internet provision.
To combat this economic and social inequity, CCR will implement a city-owned municipal fibre optic broadband network. Our Municipal Broadband Network (CR advantage) will make the City of Campbell River more attractive to businesses, especially high-tech and research companies, which are dependent on communication. The CR advantage network will enable small and home-based businesses to participate in international and regional commerce, provide hosting opportunities for services such as data centers, and allow companies to recruit new employees who can telecommute without physically relocating.
The CR advantage network will provide a significant reduction on the cost associated with internet access currently provided through commercial Telco service providers. This reduction is achieved by removing the cost recovery for the construction of the fibre optic network currently allocated in the monthly telco client billing, and by providing an open-access model that allows all service providers to participate and support free-market competition.
The CR advantage network will also provide affordable backhaul integration for rural areas suffering from inadequate or non-existent internet connectivity, such as the North Vancouver Island area.
This Open-Access network will be a key economic driver for the City of Campbell River. It is important to note that the City of Campbell does not act as a service provider, as our responsibility ends with the implementation and support of the fibre optic network. The CR advantage Open-Access model allows third party service providers to lease access to the network from the city and provide a variety of broadband internet services to the integrated buildings and client base in the city’s downtown core.
Our business plan encourages the development of free market competition, provides increased service options and discourages the monopolistic costing currently experienced in the City of Campbell River