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Axia to bury Fort Macleod fibre network underground


Fort Macleod council last week received the news it had been anxiously waiting to hear.
Axia will install a fibre optic network to bring high speed Internet to Fort Macleod.
“They have let us know today they are intending to start work in Fort Macleod as soon as possible,” Town of Fort Macleod director of operations Justin MacPherson told council.
MacPherson made the announcement at council’s Sept. 26 meeting at the Fort Macleod RCMP Centennial Library.
Council also learned Axia has changed its plans for installing the fibre optic network.
“All of the fibre will be buried underground,” Town of Fort Macleod chief administrative officer Sue Keenan said.
Last month Axia announced plans to invest $100-million to bring fibre optic networks to 40 Alberta communities.
“This will be a huge benefit to our citizens and businesses as we endeavour to keep up with an ever-changing global landscape,” Keenan said in a news release issued by Axia.
Council welcomed the announcement.
“That’s great news,” Deputy Mayor Brent Feyter said.
For its part, Axia is pleased to add Fort Macleod to the list of communities where it will install fibre optic infrastructure.
“We’re thrilled to bring world-class fibre Internet to Fort Macleod for the same or less money than residents pay today, offering transformational customer value,” Axia’s Robert Price said in a news release. “Progressive towns like Fort Macleod have shown strong motivation to differentiate their community, close the digital divide between urban and rural centres, and attract the next generation.”
Vulcan has had an Axia fibre optic network since 2015.
Axia recently surveyed Vulcan residents regarding their experience with the new fibre broadband.
More than 70 per cent reported that they felt the town would be more attractive to potential new residents, while 43 per cent indicated they felt their property value would go up thanks to the availability of the new technology.
More than 50 per cent indicated they felt young people were now more likely to stay in Vulcan because of access to fibre broadband, which impacts everything from the ability to study to economic factors including access to starting businesses and keeping established businesses competitive in a global market.
Over 70 per cent of those surveyed indicated that the town was now more attractive as a location for business in general, and many reported seeing an influx of new businesses come to Vulcan.
Since 2014, Vulcan has seen a 14 per cent increase in active business licenses established in town.
“When we can impact a community in a positive way, it not only increases their economic stability but ultimately makes their lives better,” Price said. “Because of this, we know fibre-to-the-premise is an important investment for us to put back into Alberta.”
Residents of Vulcan who choose Axia as their Internet and television provider have also saved on fees. Axia currently saves Vulcan residents $120,000 per year thanks to reductions in phone and TV bills alone.
Across all communities, Axia saves residents $260,000 in fees annually.