April 5, 2018 2:00 pm
Updated: April 6, 2018 12:06 pm

Manitoba city offers free high-speed internet to residents

WATCH: The city of Morden may be the first in Canada to offer internet service at no monthly cost. Global's Joe Scarpelli reports.

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High-speed internet will soon be available to Morden, Man. residents as a basic service, just like water and sewer.

The southern Manitoba city made the announcement Thursday. Morenet, the community-owned internet service provider, is billed to be 5G-powered, offering 100 Mbps upload and download speed.

The city will be begin accepting customers to a limited area starting May 1, and expects to offer it to the entire community by the end of August.

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Mayor Ken Wiebe told Global News residents will be required to pay a roughly $400 installation fee which includes a router. After that tax dollars will cover the bill.

The city believes it is the first in Canada to offer internet service at no monthly cost.

“We view it as an essential service that you need in the community like we have the library, we have sports and recreation, we have streets and roads and that’s all part of the tax system,” Wiebe said.

By the time the project is complete, Wiebe estimates it will have costed the city $350,000 to install the technology, not including labour.

“We anticipate at this time, no increase, or no change in our tax structure to provide this service.”

Peter Cantelon, an avid internet user, is one of a handful of Morden residents who have been selected to test the service since late last year. He has been impressed.

READ MORE: Wireless service in Canada remains expensive, but should Ottawa intervene?

“It’s right there with the best offerings right now, not just nationally, but internationally in terms of speed and stability based on the four months I’ve been testing it,” he said.

Morden is roughly 130 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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