At this time of the year we reflect on Kaslo infoNet’s accomplishments over the past years, outline our plans for the next years, recognize the hard work and skill of KiN’s staff and thank the volunteers, including the KiN Board, for making it all possible.
From a dialport manager in 1996–to a wireless Internet service provider in 2005–to a fibre-optic Internet service provider in 2014–to a model for other communities to bridge the “digital divide” throughout the region, KiN has made quite a name for itself. KiN delivers service equivalent to that in major urban centres in a region that had been neglected for decades and during the pandemic was a key facilitator for information, services and employment for local residents and workers.
The north Kootenay Lake region, formerly a communications backwater, has become an attraction to families who want to live in a clean and healthful environment while making a good living online. Since I arrived in Kaslo in 1972, economic development consultants used to hold brainstorming workshops here every few years. They tried without much success to come up with ways for a small isolated community to survive despite the gradual loss of population and services. Finally, the Web–plus KiN’s fast and reliable communication–enabled remote employment. Prospects for the north Kootenay Lake community are now rosy.
For decades Telus used its government-subsidized communications monopoly to extract a river of money from struggling Interior communities–while neglecting to offer Web access outside population centres. KiN as a nonprofit provided that access and now is diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars back into our community instead of telecom shareholders’ pockets. We employ talented local residents and purchase everything available locally—over $600,000 annually. KiN is proud to benefit individuals—through their communication service—and benefit the community through the economy. Recently we have been assisting the nonprofit East Shore Internet Service (ESIS) to do the same in the Crawford Bay area.
The folks who make this happen are our multi-talented and hard-working employees, Tyler Hamilton, Stewart Coonce, Sam Truchon, Mark Thomson, Scott Gillies, Bueno Bauer, Hillary Schell and Executive Director Isaac Maxfield. Our Board—all volunteer—includes Josée Bayeur, Bob Gazzard, Cassie Gerretsen, Jean-Michel Longval, Isaac Maxfield, Dan Trobak and myself.
Our work during the past year included providing fibre-optic service to the homes in Johnsons Landing and Argenta, numerous connections in Shutty Bench and completion of service to Zwicky Road. We are preparing to remove two of our expensive-to-maintain remote towers that served the Shutty Bench and Fletcher-Ainslo areas before we could reach them with fibre. The coming year will see infill and completion work in the Kaslo South area and Woodbury Village as well as emergency communication points at Lost Ledge, Davis Creek and Glacier Creek in addition to the three north valley community halls. We will be running fibre from Argenta towards Cooper Creek this year, in preparation for 2024 fibre construction in Cooper Creek and Meadow Creek.
KiN Board Chair