British Columbia

Campbell River launches new internet network to woo technology business

The City of Campbell River has launched affordable, high-speed internet in the downtown core to position it as an attractive location for technology companies.

The city is the first on Vancouver Island to offer municipal broadband service

CRadvantage is a municipal broadband, fibre optic network that has been activated in the city centre of Campbell River. It offers affordable internet, with identical upload and download speed and is intended to attract technology companies to bring their business to the North Island community. (iStock)

It just got faster and cheaper to cybersurf in Campbell River.

The city has launched a new high-speed internet network to entice technology companies to set up shop in the North Island community.

CRadvantage is a broadband, fibre optic service that provides equal upload and download speeds in the downtown core, something the city says is essential to attract technology companies to Campbell River.

An essential service

"We suddenly are looking at internet as an essential service, like water, like sewer," said Leah Tremain, a local business owner who sits on the city's Creative Industries Council.

Tremain said a technology company tried to set up in the city a couple of years ago, but the internet costs were too prohibitive and the company took its business elsewhere.

The new network will provide bandwidth scalable to one gigabit per second. That will put businesses in Campbell River on equal footing with competitors in downtown Vancouver or San Francisco, according to a statement from the city.

A first for the island

"We are trying to grow our tech ecosystem here in Campbell River," said city development officer Rose Klukas.

Since 2009, Campbell River has been working to attract digital industries in an effort to diversify the local economy. The city is now the first on Vancouver Island to offer municipal broadband service.

The city invested $348,000 to develop and market CRadvantage. A third party provider will manage access to the service.

With files from Liz McArthur