Thursday Jun 18, 2015

Ken Simpson

Gigabit Bowen Proponent

Gigabit Internet for Bowen Island

Introduced by: Robert Ballantyne

On June 18, 2015, this event was recorded by former Bowen Islander, Deepak Sahasrabudhe of Deepak is founder of New Westminster Community Television. Here is the presentation on YouTube.


Ken Simpson has proposed to the Bowen Island Council that the Muni bring Gigabit Internet service to our community. Recently he founded the Gigabit for Bowen Facebook public group for news and discussions. Already it has attracted over 60 members.

Ken answered the questions: what is Gigabit Internet, why would we want it, and what are the obstacles and solutions?

Joining Ken are Scott Armstrong and Lance Douglas. Each has well over 15 years of experience building, growing and maintaining independent Internet Service Providers in rural markets.

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Scott worked for two major nationwide ISPs and built the first commercial Wireless ISP network in Southern Alberta.   In 2003, Scott launched his own fixed wireless ISP, eFirehose High Speed Internet, in rural areas surrounding Calgary.   That grew quickly, doubling their customer base every year for the first several years until reaching roughly 2500 subscribers.   During this time, they developed a suite of specialized software tools to monitor and manage the network, customers, billing, and scheduling.  The ISP was highly successful, earning in excess of 20% margins while being the dominant provider in highly competitive markets. In 2013, Scott sold eFirehose ISP division to move to the West Coast, and through their new business Swift Fox Systems, now focuses on consulting with existing and new start-up ISPs.

Lance Douglas is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Lightcore Group, Inc. Lightcore Group is the spin-up of nearly two-decades of complex solution delivery in the telecommunication, public-sector, and large-enterprise industries.

Of special interest to this Rotary meeting discussion, From 2011 to 2013, Lance was the President and CEO of Olds Fibre Ltd. Working with a volunteer Board of Directors, Municipal Government, Western Canada’s most advanced rural post-secondary institution, and local citizens, Olds Fibre brought Gigabit Internet to Olds, Alberta. The network owner is a non-profit community owned organization (OICRD), as well as the sole owner of the for-profit operating company and retail service provider. Lance was accountable to the volunteer Board of Directors of OICRD. Success was realized as a running FTTP carrier, in entirely uncharted Canadian waters, with the datacentre completed and the GPON/Acitve-E network running in proof-of-concept mode with Lance as the only technical staff on board. With recruitment of a technical team, operational launch was possible and O-NET was generating revenue by the 11-month mark from Lance’s hire-date. In months 12-25, O-NET became a stable, competitive, and scalable carrier in rural Alberta with an innovation award and international press coverage comparing it to Google Fiber’s Kansas City project.

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