Kaslo infoNet Society wants to be part of bringing high-speed internet to the Slocan Valley. File photo

Kaslo infoNet Society wants to be part of bringing high-speed internet to the Slocan Valley. File photo

Kaslo infoNet looks to expand to Slocan Valley

The non-profit has been connecting Kaslo to a fibre-optic service since 2014

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

There’s another player entering the race to provide last-mile high-speed internet connections to homes and business in the Slocan Valley.

“Our plan is to fill the niche [the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation] is leaving for last-mile delivery,” said Isaac Maxfield, executive director of the Kaslo infoNet Society, in a May 19 video delegation to the Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors.

KiN has a solid track record of providing rural broadband service. The non-profit community-owned service has been connecting Kaslo and surrounding rural communities to a fibre-optic service since 2014. Money stays in the community and the service provides good local jobs to up to a dozen people, he said.

“We’re now reaching the end of our Area D development… to finish the overall wireless build for our network,” he told the board. “Which leads us to the point where we’re looking at expanding.”

And that expansion would be into the Slocan Valley.

“With the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation selling backbone fibre to the Slocan Valley and Salmo and valley area, we are looking at how we might benefit rural residents in those areas,” he said.

“We want to build out from the CBBC points of presence in these communities to provide that rural balance here, and bring economic benefits we’ve seen here in Kaslo and Area D to other areas inside the RDCK.”

Maxfield spoke to the board to let them know about their expansion plans – and to ensure them that they want to work with, and not compete against, other organizations wanting to provide non-profit community internet.

“We have different motivations,” he told the board. “Our goal is to get as many residents hooked up with as good a service as possible.”

Over the next few months, KiN will be meeting with local municipal planners in the valley about how they can support bringing last-mile service to village and rural homes.

The board thanked Maxfield for his presentation.