As the district looks for economic development, it finds itself lagging behind competing areas in Canada as well as the northern U.S. Midwest in telecommunications.
Today’s modern businesses require telephone line, fax lines, ATM card lines, direct connection computer lines, and Internet lines. And that doesn’t bring into account videoconferencing and high-speed Internet access.
Health care and educational facilities also require these services—and more.
If the district is going to be serious about attracting new businesses and supporting existing ones to remain competitive, we must have those telecommunication tools. Business no longer is done with just the customers in your community. The Internet allows customers and suppliers to reach out to any place in the world to do business and communicate.
Businesses in Rainy River District require that same access.
Since 1995, a technology committee of health care providers, educators, business, industry, the Rainy River Future Development Corp., and the Town of Fort Frances has been working to bring broad bandwidth communications to the district. These are the services common in most cities in Canada, and ones every sector of our district community needs.
The original forecast for the use of cell phones in the district was 275 customers after one year. In just over three months, more than 1,100 phones are now being used for business and personal use.
The district has shown that if the services are made available, they will use them.
At Monday night’s council meeting, Fort Frances Mayor Witherspoon indicated Bell Canada would be making an announcement very shortly with regards to its service in Fort Frances and district.
We hope the announcement will bring us into the 21st century. Anything less would be a disappointment.