Episode 67 – How to grow an economy by growing fiber networks

Broadband, Fibre, High Speed Internet. Whatever you call it, it is to the present and future economy what roads, rail and power were to the industries of the past. In the past, the Kootenay region could not have flourished if they didn’t have the roads to get the gold, silver and timber out. Just the same, the economies of today and tomorrow cannot flourish if we can’t get data in and out of the region. Following the great recession it was Roosevelt who started the often imitated economic development stimulus of building roads and infrastructure required to get the economy moving. As recently as the great economic crash of 2008 onward we saw vast billions of dollars going into roads and bridges. Those in the know however understand that to stimulate the economy going forward that money could be better spent installing data highways of fibre optic networks throughout the region.

Dan Salekin knows this better than most. He has been involved in greater than a dozen IT start-ups, including the raising of a billion dollars to build the first coast to coast fibre network. Moving back to his home of Castlegar he pushed the Columbia Basin Network to consider putting money into connecting the Basin with Fibre. Several years later that has begun happening and Dan’s own company Columbia Networks is offering the service in his home region that he’s been selling to big centers across western Canada for years.

I sat down with Dan in his Castlegar office to hear his inspiring backstory and learn just how important broadband is to the region, and how to make it happen.

This episode was graciously supported by Lesley Beatson

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