Council OK's $600,000 for O-NET improvements
Province kicks in matching grant
Tuesday, Feb 06, 2018 06:00 am
OLDS CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
Olds town council has approved spending $600,000 as part of a $1.2-million provincial matching grant to expand O-NET, the town-owned Internet, phone and TV company, and enable it to improve its equipment and services.
The matter goes back to April 2017, when town staff applied for a provincial Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) grant.
Last October, the provincial government announced the town will receive $600,000, on the understanding the community comes up with the other $600,000 for a total of $1.2 million. (Originally, the town had applied for a total of $969,188.64).
Chief administrative officer Michael Merritt explained provincial grant and matching cash will be used to “develop O-NET beyond the borders of Olds, but also make improvements within the town of Olds.”
He said that $1.2 million would allow O-NET to:
* Hire a “regional relationship manager” to market its services to other communities.
* Hire a senior telecom business analyst to look at ways to further develop the business.
* Support new wired and wireless opportunities for the company.
“It also helps complete the community Wi-Fi network within the town of Olds and a number of other points beyond what we currently have, I believe,” Merritt said.
“We now have 57 points of contact, which would make Olds probably the most connected community in Canada, if not North America,” he added.
Mayor Mike Muzychka said it’s his understanding the town has up to two years to spend that money.