POP: High Speed Internet

POP: Yes
Res #: POP 3-06M
Number: 3
Year: 2006
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskTel

Point of Privilege Resolution No. 3-06M


WHEREAS, the climate in agri-business is fast paced and world wide; and 


WHEREAS, farmers need to communicate with the marketplace in an expedient and comprehensive manner; and 


WHEREAS, SaskTel is wholly owned by the citizens of Saskatchewan and equal access should be assured to all; 


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM and its members lobby SaskTel to supply high speed internet to rural subscribers at a rate and usage equal to its urban subscribers.


Response from Honourable Deb Higgins, Minister Responsible for SaskTel: 

SaskTel offers high speed internet service in more Saskatchewan communities than any other company.  SaskTel High Speed Internet service is available to more than 74% of the population in 237 Saskatchewan communities. 

SaskTel is in the midst of a three year expansion plan called CommunityNet II.  CommunityNet II will provide wireless high speed internet access to a minimum of 71 communities in the province and their surrounding areas. 

Upon completion of this initiative, at the end of 2007, SaskTel will have invested nearly $173 million in expanding this service and approximately 86% of Saskatchewan’s widely dispersed population will have access to high speed internet.   

The cost structure for wireless internet is entirely different from SaskTel’s lower priced DSL High Speed Product which uses pre-existing landline copper.  The equipment is much more expensive because it requires an antenna to pick up an RF signal.  The start up cost of $249 for equipment is already subsidized by SaskTel.  The actual cost to SaskTel for this equipment runs approximately $750 to $800.   

The higher monthly fee for the service reflects the higher costs to SaskTel to provision the wireless internet service, which includes erecting towers and providing extra tower equipment.