Access to high-speed Internet in southwestern Manitoba has received a major boost through a repayable government loan to support a local Internet services provider.
I-NetLink Incorporated, based in Brandon, Man., has received a $225,000 loan under the Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP) that will facilitate the company’s expansion of its services into 22 communities in rural Manitoba.
“The economic development opportunities that result from access to high-speed Internet are huge – access to high-speed will serve as a magnet that attracts people and industries with a focus on high-tech and research,” said MaryAnn Mihychuk, the province’s minister of industry, trade and mines.
The government loan will assist I-NetLink in financing the purchase of capital equipment that supports wireless Internet technology, including receivers and towers.
The project will provide access to high-speed Internet for a service area of 36,000 households representing roughly 75 per cent of southwestern Manitoba. It will also provide 1 mega-bit-per-second (Mbps) of synchronous service to residential customers and up to 3Mbps to commercial customers.
I-NetLink President and CEO Charlie Clark said demand for high-speed service has been overwhelming. He added that he was excited about the opportunities high-speed expansion could offer to those in southwestern Manitoba.
“It has been especially gratifying to help the ever-growing number of home-based businesses, many who are completely dependent on the Internet, to market and communicate with their customers from all over the world,” he said. “Now, whether your business is in downtown Toronto or on a farm near Kenton, you have the same exposure to the global marketplace.”
Ed Brethour, economic development officer for the Town and Rural Municipality of Hamiota, said high-speed Internet access has become a major component in Hamiota’s economic development strategy, and through I-NetLink’s wireless Internet solution, one of the barriers to accessing the global economy has been removed.
“Now that high-speed access is in place, our objective is to implement a strategy that supports existing business in adapting to e-business and attracts new business opportunities that are centred on high-speed access and innovation.”
I-NetLink will expand services in the province to Notre Dame de Lourdes, Portage la Prairie, Rathwell, Shoal Lake, Strathclair and Treherne within the next 12 months. The projected service area will include households within 10 to 20 miles of the listed communities.
I-NetLink can be found online at www.inetlink.ca.