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Vernon Connects Residents With Internet Access

DSL and slow Internet service may soon be a thing of the past for residents of Vernon now that the city council has approved a residential Internet service program that will use the city’s fiber optics system to create a fast, reliable and affordable connection for its residents.

The program will use some of Vernon’s underused fiber optics cabling system to connect homeowners and renters who would otherwise not have access to fast Internet service, according to city staff.

City officials say they hope to bridge the digital gap for its residents by becoming an Internet Service Provider, creating, and operating a small-scale broadband residential service program. The Internet will be provided to residents through direct fiber optic connections or via a wireless service connection.

The program will be available to all existing and future residences in the city.

Residents interested in the program will have to pay a one-time set up fee of $100 and $40.65 each month for the service, although that number could change in the future depending on the number of customers who sign up. The monthly fee is roughly $10 less than what residents pay for their current DSL Internet service, according to city staff.

Currently, DSL is the only option for Vernon residents who want an Internet connection in their home. The connection is made through a phone line or modem, which according to the city is not as fast as cable Internet, which requires a TV coax connection. The change would provide service that is 10 times faster, according to staff.

The setup cost will include installation of a wireless router that will make Wi-Fi service available at home.

Vernon’s Light & Power Department Fiber Optic Division owns and operates the fiber optic cabling system along the City’s rights of way, which had previously only been used for communication purposes between city departments. Since 2006, the city has been using its excess fiber optic capacity to service businesses, for a fee.

According to an initial staff survey, 24 of 31 existing residences are expected to sign up for the city’s service. The program will also be available to residents of the Meta Housing units, scheduled to be built in the city later this year.

The city is not expected to make money off the program since the low monthly charges are just enough to allow the city to recoup its expenses.

The program is expected to be up and running by November 1.  City staff has been directed to report back to council in one year with any findings regarding the program.