According to the report from the Chamber, however, only 50.8% of respondents are currently at this threshold.
“The only way we’re going to put business forward and be competitive to what the rest of the world is is if we can meet the world standard,” says Vos. “We’re at a disadvantage if we can’t use some of those new technologies that are out there to advance us in our business and in connecting with outside of our city.”
31 business owners said they use Shaw for their internet. 23 were satisfied with their Internet Service Provider (ISP) while eight were dissatisfied.
Of the 26 that used Telus, only six were happy with their internet and 20 were unhappy.
A small group used Whipcord, WiBand, or Xplornet.
What Vos said is concerning is that many businesses have to use multiple different ISPs to meet their demand and usage requirements.
“Having to run Telus and Shaw both in to make sure that they’re meeting their service requirements. If they have a huge usage and their computers go down, that causes problems for the customer and that causes problems for the business.”
The survey also found internet speeds and availability depends on where in the community they were located.
Entrepreneurs outside of the city had the fastest internet speeds, while those on the south side had the best in Lethbridge.
Those on the north side, particularly in the industrial area, had the slowest speeds and had the greatest portion of respondents who were unsatisfied.
Vos believes this is troubling as it can force prospective business owners to have to choose their locations more strategically and potentially go somewhere they might not have otherwise.
Mayor Chris Spearman floated the idea of potentially having the municipality become an ISP itself. By becoming a utility, he believed they could offer residents and businesses good service for a fair price, which could spur investments by private ISPs due to the increased competition.
Vos told media that it was an intriguing idea and that she is open to any and all solutions that will help local companies in the end. She adds that it could theoretically be a profitable enterprise for the local government if it proves to be successful.
The Chamber looks to follow up this study with additional ones that would include larger sample sizes in the future.
You can access the full report from the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce here.