County council to get Internet through Alberta SuperNet
Barrhead County Council is set to use Alberta SuperNet for Internet service.
It will cost $675 monthly, plus a $995 hook-up fee – as opposed to the $140 a month deal it had enjoyed until recently through Pembina Hills school division.
The PHRD arrangement ended after the school board moved much of its computer equipment to the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) building.
County councillors felt they were left with little alternative but to connect with SuperNet.
They were told the new Internet service would be extremely fast and reliable. They also heard the County would be able to provide extra services to ratepayers, such as Internet mapping, and take part in video conferencing.
“We need to have a reliable system,” said County Reeve Bill Lee. “We need to have something that is fast.”
“It is a sign of the times,” said Councillor Darrell Troock. “We have got to get with the program. It’s the cost of doing business.”
Deputy reeve Doug Drozd foresaw cost-saving in the SuperNet option.
Councillors could save on travel expenses through videoconferencing, he said.
“It is time for us to get the biggest and best thing available,” he added.
Last Tuesday, the council agreed to hook up with SuperNet following a report by County Manager Mark Oberg.
In a memo to the council, Oberg said the County’s Internet connection through PHRD was terminated at the end of day on July 31. This did not affect the council’s email service through First-Class.
“Our own internal email will be running soon,” he said.
Oberg said a fibre optic cable for Alberta SuperNet was installed in the council’s office in the 1990s.
However, the County did not connect to the SuperNet cable because of the high costs of changing its connection through PHRD. Until recently, the council’s monthly cost has been $100 – $140 for Internet and $40 for email service.
Oberg said PHRD had now moved much of its computer gear to the ADLC building.
Until recently, he added, it was expected that the County of Barrhead would be able to continue having its Internet connection through PHRD at a low cost.
“However, we were informed that if the connection were to continue with PHRD, the cost would be comparable to that of SuperNet,” he said. “As well, because ADLC is a Government of Alberta site, our installation would be considered a ‘3rd’ party. This is generally unacceptable in a government facility, and would be particularly difficult for our maintenance company (TechMasters) to work on our equipment that would be housed at ADLC.”
Oberg said during the last week of July he informed PHRD that the County would no longer receive Internet service through the school division’s system.
He added the County had two options. Firstly, it could use a Digital Subscriber Line for $97 per month, with no hook-up fee.
There were drawbacks, however, including: a DSL line would be slower than the Internet connection the County had had through PHRD; it would not be as reliable as a SuperNet connection; and the Public Works Department would continue to require its own Internet connection because DSL would not support it.
Oberg said cost was the disadvantage of connecting to SuperNet, with Shaw Gateway Services as an Internet Service Provider.
“The positive aspects are that our Internet speed would be extremely high, the reliability would also be high, and the County of Barrhead would be in a position to provide additional services in the future to our ratepayers that require significant bandwidth (eg. Internet mapping), and to make the best use of other services such as video conferencing. As well, our Public Works Internet connection would be sourced from the Administration Office, providing that department with an improved service.”
Oberg said the council had $300 per month budgeted for six months to accommodate a changeover.
Coun. Marvin Brade asked whether the council could put up its own satellite service.
But Coun. Darrell Troock said satellites were not a practical way forward.
Coun. Bill Lane expressed concern about the cost of using SuperNet.
“We don’t have an endless pit of money,” he said.
The council overwhelmingly supported the SuperNet option. Lane opposed it.
Afterwards, Oberg said it would probably take about a month for SuperNet to be up and running for the County.
“We’ve been very appreciative of the deal we’ve had with PHRD over the years,” he said. “Things change, however, and we have to adapt.”
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.