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Project Overview

In response to Wheatland County’s request for proposal, Tricon Solutions has been awarded the Project Management Consultant contract to work with the County for the development and implementation of the Rural Strategic Broadband Plan. The project is prioritizing industry, business, and residential in line with the County’s Broadband directives.

Our Progress Update

To date, the project has undertaken a review of the historical state and context in terms of previous broadband efforts, initiatives and partnership associations and has become familiar with the direction, priorities,  goals, and growth potential within the County.

To maximize Wheatland County’s budget resources, the project has thoroughly reviewed the Universal Broadband Fund grant guidelines and applications that were released by the Canadian Government on November 13th, 2020. The application deadline was very aggressive with stringent eligibility requirements and the County was unable to meet the timelines provided.

To submit an application, the County would not be able to adequately engage the community, gather requirements, complete due diligence, nor create detailed network designs required. As a result, the County has decided to proceed with its current path to develop a Broadband Strategic Plan in the spring of 2021 and consider applying for future grants when they become available.

As part of the project’s analysis, the team has reached out to the broadband vendors within the county to initiate an introduction, and to understand the vendors’ current and future broadband plans for Wheatland County. Updated asset maps have been formally requested from most vendors for use in assisting the county in compiling a consolidated holistic view of the current broadband infrastructure within the municipality.

To date the team has had several meetings with the local vendors and has advised them of the expected RFP timeline in order to encourage their participation. In recognition of the RFP guidelines, we have shared limited and fair information with all vendors so that their ability to be awarded to RFP is not jeopardized. 

The vendors contacted include: Telus, Xplornet/CCI, ABNet, Valo, Zayo, Axia/Bell, Shaw, Starlink, and O-Net.

Additionally, the team has contacted a number of Alberta counties that have or are currently in the process of addressing their broadband infrastructure needs. This knowledge will help the project understand other municipalities’ approaches, solutions, and lessons learned and provide additional context as Wheatland County designs its broadband future.

The counties contacted so far include: Canmore, Spruce Grove, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Olds O-Net, and Brooks.

As the initiative progresses the team will develop a strategic plan that will outline industry standard high-level broadband options that could be available to the county. The strategic plan will be non-technical, and the county will be looking to the RFP respondents to provide the technical information, including proposed network designs, costs and phasing to support their proposed technical solution.

The strategic plan and supporting information will be available to Council in the July 6th Council meeting update. The county RFP process will be followed and Council will be provided with a recommended option in the August 24th Council meeting. 

Community Engagement Survey

As engaging the community for the Wheatland County broadband initiative is vital to the County’s success, the project has completed in-depth industry research and developed thorough community engagement surveys. The survey consisted of 10-15 questions soliciting information regarding internet use, internet provider information, speed test details, future use and growth, broadband satisfaction, and willingness to choose another service.

Survey Statistics

Final survey counts (closed on March 2, 2021):

  • Business: 24
  • Residential: 367

**All survey results are in the process of being analyzed. Results below are from the Business Survey and are shown as information only. Full survey results will be available as supporting information with the strategic plan.

Next Steps

The team continues to analyze and compile the strategic direction for Wheatland County as we prepare to enter the formal  RFP process starting in June. Follow up discussions continue with Vendors to increase interest and encourage  a strong range of RFP respondent participation.

Project Timeline

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It is official! Wheatland County Council met on October 6, 2020 and awarded the Broadband County Project Manager RFP to Tricon Solutions. The initial phases of the project will determine feasible solutions and next steps.

The Broadband project will investigate and propose the next steps to address our current network limitations and future growth strategies.

Once we get further into the planning phases, we will be better able to determine timelines and schedules.

It is our goal to provide as much value to our residents as possible. As part of the project’s initial phase, the team will be further determining the scope and feasibility of possible outcomes with the strategic viewpoint of economic value and growth.

Once we get further into the planning phases, we will be better able to determine timelines and schedules.

Tricon Solutions is a consulting firm who has won the Wheatland County RFP to provide Project Management services and personnel for the Broadband project.

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