© Kirk Starratt
Bruce MacDougall of Internetworking Atlantic Inc. displays a piece of a fibre optic cable
By Kirk Starratt
Kings County Advertiser/Register
A major deal with Rogers could be the business breakthrough the Valley Community Fibre Network has been waiting for.
Bruce MacDougall of Internetworking Atlantic Inc., the company hired to manage, operate and sell service on the 175-km fibre optic network, said an agreement has been reached with Rogers Telecommunications.
“We have a good news story and we expect more,” MacDougall said during a presentation to Kings County’s committee of the whole April 17.
Rogers plans to use the network to communicate among its telecommunication towers. It will rent six of the 72 strands on the Valley Community Fibre Network cable, bringing revenue in excess of $1 million to the network.
MacDougall said Rogers’ other option was to try to buy services from competing companies, like Bell Aliant. He said his company has been making sales calls in major markets, like Toronto and Vancouver, and is working with other mobile companies.
Internetworking Atlantic has been working on the deal on behalf of the Valley Community Fibre board since October.
“The revenue stream from the announcement is happening now,” MacDougall added.
The goal is to increase the amount of commercial revenue to the point the founding partners don’t have to pay to operate it.
“It’s kind of like a railway,” MacDougall said of the network. “We have a publicly owned, publicly controlled piece of telecommunications infrastructure.”
The county’s chief administrative officer Bob Ashley said municipal founding network partners have been bringing ideas for municipal use of the network forward for about 18 months now. Individual municipalities are making good use of the network, as are the institutional founding partners and customers.
“The difficult part is the political unity,” Ashley said. “It’s difficult at times pulling that together and we have different abilities to pay.”
One idea is the provision of free wireless internet along Highway 1, where the cable is installed on Nova Scotia Power and Aliant poles. This would be a great economic development tool and could help tourism.
MacDougall said building laterals off the main line is fairly expensive. Nearly 20 km of new cable will be added to the system for Rogers. Other laterals have been installed for another customer, Mainland Tel, a telephone service provider. There will be more tentacles spreading out as more commercial users come on board.
Deputy Warden Janet Newton, who represents the county on the community fibre board, said the network is fortunate Internetworking Atlantic had the cable to build the laterals for Rogers, as there seems to be a shortage of fibre optic cable.
She said the board is looking at ways to take the fibre optic network into Greenwood, in order to connect 14 Wing with other Department of National Defence installations in the province.
- VCFN was completed in 2008.
- Founding partners include, Acadia University, Nova Scotia Community College, Windsor, Hantsport, Wolfville and Berwick, the County of Kings and the Municipality of the District of West Hants.
- The 2010-11 budget for the Valley Community Fibre Network was $219,000. Its revenue was $277,000.
- It costs about $20,000 a year to rent a pair of fibre optic strands along the entire length of the network, from Halifax to Middleton.
With files from Patrick Moore.