2017 Kaslo infoNet Society Directors’ Report

Optical CableThere have been improvements to KiN’s Internet service across the board during the 2016-2017 year. Whether you are a wireless subscriber anywhere in our service area or a fibre subscriber in or around Kaslo, you are now able to enjoy faster Internet speeds and better service than before—at lower cost than any other service provider in the region.

Available wireless Internet speeds now have increased from our original offering of 1½ Mbps to 3 Mbps for basic service, at a lower price than anyone else offers for Internet. We now offer rates of 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps for wireless customers, which is approaching speeds that used to be available only in larger centres.

We’ve also made our wireless system more reliable than ever, with backup generators now at all of our remote tower sites and new state-of-the-art batteries being installed. These generators were so successful that no emergency snowmobile trips to recharge batteries had to be made over the last winter. At the Lardeau Valley Community Centre we’ve installed a more reliable battery backup system and made provision to allow a portable generator to be connected during an extended power outage. KiN’s wireless Internet has become an essential service, especially for the communities north of Lardeau where power and telephone are sometimes cut for extended periods.

The news is equally exciting for the fibre-optic Internet system in and around Kaslo. Fibre has been laid to every property in upper Kaslo. Our subscriber numbers have increased dramatically to over 540 and we are continuing to grow. 10, 20 or 30 Mbps is presently available via fibre, with better service than ADSL and starting this year we will be installing fibre in other communities from Ainsworth to Lardeau. Our plan is to continue expanding the fibre service until the whole north arm of Kootenay Lake can be connected to this amazing high-speed network.

With cooperation from Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation and funding from the Northern Development Investment Trust, we have been planning the installation of an underwater fibre cable running from Balfour to Kaslo—later to be extended to Lardeau and beyond. This cable will provide enormous capacity for KiN’s expansion of service and higher speed Internet far into the future. We have also been negotiating with BC Ministry of Transportation to simplify the installation of fibre along and across roads as we serve communities outside Kaslo. The Ministry’s present rules require unnecessary and expensive road repair so we’re seeking a solution that preserves the roads and allows us to use our resources more efficiently.

Recognizing that Internet accessibility and reliability will be improved for everyone if the entire West Kootenay region follows our lead and installs fibre to the home, Tim Ryan and Don Scarlett have been reaching out to other communities. We have met with interested groups and Internet service providers in communities in the Slocan Valley, the Arrow Lakes and east shore of Kootenay Lake. The response has been good and Tim has produced handouts for these groups to share our information and experience so they can more quickly begin to create high-speed Internet communities.

We’ve recently hired several new workers for the fibre installation project and we expect to be very busy with the construction until the snow flies again. Dan Dobkins, who managed the fibre installation last year, is training new hires and helping with this year’s planning. Charles DePape joined the Board last year, bringing extensive knowledge and experience in financial accounting. The other
Board members are Josée Bayeur, Charles Cuell, Mike Foster, Randy Morse, Tim Ryan, Don Scarlett and Maggie Winters. The quality of this volunteer Board is evident from the growth and innovation demonstrated by Kaslo infoNet Society.