Saturday , 15 May 2021

Fibre optic coming to Elk Point

Fibre op is coming to Elk Point, starting with the town’s office. At Monday night’s town council meeting council voted to approve a five year contract with Telus.

The decision was made following a presentation to council by Telus explaining the particulars of how the phone system would work and what would be needed to make it happen.

“The minute anyone in this town gets wind that fibre is coming to Elk Point from Telus, the next question is, when do we all get it?” said Deputy Mayor Terri Hampson.

According to Telus representative Craig Mackay, the company is spending up to $5 billion in the next few years. “That’s the hope is that we can do it everywhere. It’s still a ways away. Hopefully in the next couple of years,” said Mackay.

In discussion following the presentation, Mayor Lorne Young said, “it’s always good to look at a proposal that gives us better service at a lower cost.”

Elk Point CAO Ken Gwozdz noted there is a cost of between $625 and $750 to buy out the remaining five months of the current contract, however the new service is $603 cheaper.

Telus has offered to pay the $20,000 capital cost of installing the fibre if the town agrees to a five year lease and begins construction before freeze up. The town office also needs to be rewired to support the new system.

“The current breaker panel has been inspected by a qualified electrician and does not meet code. Unbalanced in power as a three phase panel. Computers need to be run on a separate wire – upgraded to a Cat 6,” reads information included in the agenda package.

“When the microwave is used with the kettle, the breaker is blown and power goes off for the computers. This is because only two electrical lines carry all the power to the outlets in the building.”

The cost of rewiring the town office is expected to come in around $21,000 and is covered in the operating budget for 2020.

Coun. Debra McQuinn said the conversation about improving service in the building has been on loop for several years now and the cost of the install has always been a problem.

“Now that they’re waiving that, I don’t see why we wouldn’t go forward. It’s going to improve reliability and service going out, and right now it takes a lot of difficulty off the plate, and we’re saving money on the cost so it would be stupid to not continue,” said McQuinn.

McQuinn moved to approve a five year contract with Telus for VoIP phone system and fibre install at a cost of $1,535.58 per month. The motion carried.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.