Some years ago, the Village looked at a long standing problem in our community regarding local options surrounding sufficient and affordable internet services. No immediate solution was forthcoming.
As a result, the Village decided that it would build its own Community Broadband infrastructure and then it would be owned by the community. The Village also decided that rather than compete directly with the private sector it would form a community Co-operative to run the broadband service on behalf of the Village. The Co-operative and the profits of the Co-operative would be returned to the community directly by way of rebates and dividends to the subscribers themselves. That would place the community in charge of electing the Board and deciding the direction and pricing of the Broadband service. Significant savings would be realized by the end consumers as the focus was on service delivery and not profit.
Over the last two years the Village as invested over $50,000 in planning, construction and administration of this project. With a couple dozen volunteers from within and outside the Village, along with thousands of volunteer hours, the community successfully navigated through eight Federal departments to get 4 towers approved, creation of a business entity (Lawrencetown Commnunity Development Co-operative Ltd), and the engineering and setup of a modern high speed network. The Co-op, LCDC for short, has 7 board members who have alternating terms of 2 and 3 years and is made up from the community as follows: 2 members from the Village commission, 2 members of the business community, 1 member from a “Not for Profit” Community organization, and 2 members from the community at large.
While the Co-operative will operate in the best interests of its subscribers, the Village also has a vested interest in assisting other Community organizations as we do currently. The Village has agreed to supply Broadband services to the following organizations to promote our Community and alleviate some of the fiscal burden of those important community contributors and events. Those organizations include the Youth Arena, the Exhibition, the Recreation Commission, the Pool Society, the Library, the Fire Department and provision of free wireless for Community events hosted here, such as the Annapolis Valley Exhibition, and the up-coming 4H Pro Show.
We will be doing a soft launch of service to subscribers that have already signed up in the days ahead, with a full public launch including a ribbon cutting with invitations to 3 other levels of government and the local volunteer community in early April.
The community Broadband service will have two offerings, one at 15Mbit and a second at 20Mbit. They are competitively priced with other local offerings and include the necessary equipment to connect to our broadband. The 15Mbit plan is priced at $60/month, the 20Mbit plan is priced at $100/month which also includes larger upload capability. Subscribers to the Co-op are also owners of the Co-op. Membership in the Co-op can be purchased for $100 or through a monthly payment of $10 until the share is paid. The membership share is refunded to the member if they decide to leave the co-operative. Stay tuned for more announcements in the days ahead
Village of Lawrencetown