Alberta town creates own internet network as fast as Google Fiber

by Andrew Roach on July 19, 2013

Ultra high speed internet is slowly becoming more common in communities as the faster networks are slowly put into place in many major cities across the country.

With many rural towns not expected to benefit from the technology for the next year or so, a small town in Alberta has taken matters into their own hands and created their own ultra-high speed network.

The town of Olds, who has just a population of just over 8000, is able to get speeds of 1Gbps on their self-built broadband network making it as fast as Google Fiber.

The network, dubbed as O-Net, cost $14m to create and was funded and completed by a non-profit community group called the Olds Institute of Community and Regional Development.

An amazing about the O-Net broadband is that it was created independently without the involvement of any major telecom providers.

Many of the big communication providers even refused to help the town in creating their own network which made creating the broadband that much harder.

Despite struggling to find workers and labourers with the expertise to lay down the fibre-optic cables, the town spent the best part of the last couple of years installing the network.

Alongside that, O-Net officials had to fund everything themselves and spent nearly $14m on the project with $3.5m being spent on equipment alone.

It’s this self-funded ethic that has pretty much summarised the entire project as the town looks to benefit from all the latest technological benefits. This was summarised by Joe Gustafson, head of technology at the Olds Institute who told CBC that “we said, ‘Well I guess if we’re going to do this, we have to do our own services.”

But O-Net is aiming to be more than just an internet network with the service also able to support other growing technology trends such as IPTV, HDTV and mobile devices.

Many residents in the network are already benefitting from the new set-up with about 60% of homes and businesses covered in the town at the moment.

The final touches are now being put into place throughout the town with every building in Olds expected to be connected to O-Net by the end of 2014.

With rural towns usually being the last to benefit from technologies such as ultra high speed internet, the set-up in Olds and the creation of O-Net shows that rural communities can still benefit from new innovations as they occur and not fall behind their larger counterparts.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube

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