The announcement that fibre optic high-speed internet is coming to Humboldt is but one step in improving our online infrastructure.
It’s an important step – don’t get me wrong. Many newcomers to the region look at Humboldt first when to comes to moving into the area and establishing new business ventures. It’s important that when people come here, they can get the internet speeds they can get in Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton or the Battlefords.
Yet there’s a lot more to this region that just Humboldt.
As comments on our Facebook page made clear when the upgrade was first announced, there’s plenty in the rural areas around Humboldt that are having problems having reliable internet, let alone fast internet.
We’ve got a lot of industrial manufacturers, like Schulte, Michel's, Doepker and Koenders, that are located in the small towns around Humboldt. If they’re going to be successful in an age where more people are buying their products online, they need to have access to fast, reliable internet.
I’m hoping that the upgrades in Humboldt – and nearby Melfort, Tisdale and Nipawin – will provide a starting point where fibre optic internet can be expanded into towns like Muenster, St. Gregor, Annaheim and Englefeld.
After all, our economic future depends on rural residents, farmers and industries being able to connect to the global marketplace through the internet.
While I understand the desire of Saskatchewan cities and towns to have the province modernize how it gives the public notice, I am concerned they are discounting a traditional and powerful way to do that – through newspapers.
At the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention, towns and cities voted to lobby for changes to requirements to give public notice.
I’m told the move wasn’t so much about newspapers as it was about providing communities without newspaper with different methods to give notice. Yet most communities in this province are covered by a newspaper in some manner, if not through a local paper like the Humboldt Journal, than through a regional paper like the East Central Recorder.
The provincial government would be foolhardy to drop notice requirements from a medium that has more readers than ever before, is trusted and provide a permanent record that doesn’t disappear into the ether.