Rhonda Lafrance, Communications Manager, explains, “GigAir creates a mesh network throughout your community so that we are able to offer fiber-like speeds through the air. This service requires a short distance between radios and an unobstructed view of the surrounding neighbourhood, which makes it ideal for towns, villages, and hamlets. GigAir is currently available in a few of our communities such as St. Paul, Glendon, and Elk Point, but the plan is to offer this service to the majority of small towns, villages and hamlets throughout our service area within the near future.”
Click here to sign up for GigAir and see the coverage map as this new internet service continues to expand.
Heather Starosielski, Business Development Manager, adds, “One of the technologies that allows MCSnet to offer services, such as GigAir, is our transit fiber network. MCSnet started installing fiber optic cables between its towers in 2015 in order to increase bandwidth and operate independently of other larger broadband providers. Fiber optic technology harnesses the power of light. Pulses of light transmit data through thin, transparent fibers of glass.”
Over the past year, MCSnet has partnered with local non-profits and municipalities to grow their free Wi-FI hotspots. According to Lafrance, “This creates affordable and accessible internet for everyone. We’re committed to delivering the best network experience possible, which means creating a community where there is no digital divide. We believe in providing accessible and affordable internet across rural Alberta.”
Starosielski adds, “MCSnet’s greatest challenge is the terrain of rural Alberta, but it is also one of our greatest successes. By building a network of over 500 fixed wireless towers, our reachability across our service area is 99.9 per cent. Just because you live in rural Alberta doesn’t mean you should have to contend with unexpected internet interruptions and limited service. We continually seek out the latest innovations to bring more reliable service to our customers.”
In addition to innovative services, MCSnet is proud to be a community leader.
“We invest in our local communities because we are part of them,” says Lafrance. “With every subscription, a portion is provided back to local nonprofit organizations and charities in our service area by way of free internet, donations, and sponsorships. We assist sports teams, agricultural societies, seniors clubs, rodeos, concerts and more. We also have a scholarship program that provides four student scholarships annually to grade 12 students pursuing a post-secondary education in the field of computer science or related studies.”
MCSnet has come a long way since this family owned and operated business started in 1995 with a father and his three sons. By 1998, MCSnet added a DSL line in their town and in 2002 were the first and only provider of high-speed rural internet in their region. Growth continued in 2015 with the expansion to include Buried Glass Inc., enabling fiber optic solutions in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Today, the family-owned business services more than 25,000 customers.
Starosielski says about MCSnet’s future, “MCSnet will be growing its GigAir service throughout eligible communities within our service area. We are continually upgrading our equipment, installing additional access points, replacing towers with taller ones and constructing transit fiber between our towers to increase our bandwidth capabilities.”
Learn more online and by following @mcsnet.ca on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok.