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Broadband access for local businesses is up and running in Nelson

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
December 13th, 2013

Businesses in Nelson can now purchase broadband capability of up more than ten times their current capacity.

The city has installed a high-speed broadband fibre optic network in the downtown area in collaboration with the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership and the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation, a subsidiary of the Columbia Basin Trust.

For over ten years key local government buildings—fire, police, the library, city hall, and public works—have been connected by fibre optic cable, enabling them to share phone service and internet through centralized servers. This has been affordable because the city owns its own hydro utility and therefore the hydro poles.

As part of Nelson Hydro’s recent downtown conversion from overhead to underground lines, begun in 2011 and now complete, the city also buried fibre optic cable and at the same time extended its already existing network to provide new capacity.

This enhanced connectivity will be offered for sale to businesses. The city will provide the cable capacity and business customers will decide on the speed they want, purchase access, and provide their own electronics and internet provider services.

The city has recently passed a bylaw to regulate this system, and decided on the fees and charges.

For connection to a fibre line, customers will pay an administrative surcharge of $250 and a minimum connection charge of $500. If the actual cost of construction is greater than $500, the customer will pay the actual cost of construction. Monthly rental rates will be $150 per strand for a 100Mbps connection and $300 per strand for a 1000Mbps connection.

Rack space at a new co-location facility will cost a one time $250 administrative surcharge plus a monthly rental rate that will vary depending on the amount of rack space rented. Customers will also pay for power consumption at the commercial rate.

The system is expected to be a revenue generator for the city and a significant boon to many businesses.

At the same time, the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation is working to provide broadband connection between municipalities in the region.  One of the results will be rural wireless access.


Bill Metcalfe is a freelance writer who covers Nelson city hall for The Nelson Daily. Twice each month he sends out an email with links to his three most recent city hall stories. If you would like to be added to that email list, send a request to

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