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Whitevale wants to get online
Rural Lumby residents have a passenger in their attempt to navigate the information highway.
The North Okanagan Regional District’s Electoral Area Advisory Committee is asking Telus to provide cost information for extending high-speed Internet service to Whitevale, Trinity Valley and Mabel Lake.
Director Rick Fairbairn says dial-up Internet is fairly slow and that has presented significant challenges for many residents, and particularly those operating businesses at home.
“We’re promoting small-based businesses but we also need Internet for banking or educational purposes,” he said.
Residents are willing to consider extending service into their area through taxes, but details about the potential cost are required first.
“Unless Telus has a plan, there’s not much to talk about,” said Fairbairn.
Cherryville entered into such a fact-finding process with Telus some time ago.
At a recent meeting in Cherryville, the company provided information on service options and costs.
“It’s now up to the community to decide how we want to fund this,” said Eugene Foisy, Cherryville director, adding that the main option is through a local service area that is included on property taxes.
“It’s all about dollars and cents now.”
Like rural Lumby, the lack of high-speed Internet has created challenges for many Cherryville businesses.
But Foisy says dial-up is also having a negative social impact.
“With homework and researching projects, kids are having problems because their Internet is too slow,” he said.
But before a local service area can be set up, Foisy wants assurances that the process will be fair and not penalize those residents who don’t want Internet.
“Some people don’t have computers at home so why would they pay for something they don’t use?” he said.