Will fibre optic cable in Grey County be the solution for economic development?
That was the question the Owen Sound and District Chamber of Commerce tried to answer at its Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
President and CEO, Peter Reesor, says there's an expectation that fibre optics will be the catalyst for vigorous economic development -- but it's a "double-edged sword."
He tells Bayshore Broadcasting News local business must be prepared for "stiff competition" when high-speed broadband infrastructure becomes available in the City.
Ressor says a fibre optic connection provides would-be customers with efficient access to worldwide markets and, therefore, more options.
Director of Information Technology with Grey County, Geoff Hogan, was the AGM's guest speaker -- and he says fibre optic cable "is a game-changer."
He says the lack of connectivity is limiting the success of forward-thinking businesses.
Hogan says the larger and more profitable firms are paying high prices for access to fibre optics now, but he's hopeful that more providers/competition will reduce the cost and allow smaller businesses to utilize the technology, too.
Bruce Telecom was the sponsor of the Chamber's 2016 AGM on Thursday -- and Chief Financial Officer, Steve Soychak, is keen to see the company install fibre cable.
He says Bruce Telecom will invest $500,000 in Owen Sound, beginning in the Spring, to expand its own fibre optic network into the City.
Soychak says the local telecommunication provider "has been committed to the Owen Sound community for many years," and fibre is the next logical phase.
The Owen Sound Chamber of Commerce also passed bylaw amendments at the Annual General Meeting to reduce its Board of Directors from between eight and twelve to between five and seven, plus the Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer.