Like many British Columbians, residents of Barriere and Clearwater enjoy their rural lifestyle, but are also active members of the larger global community.
“My wife is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, we met in South Africa. She was worried about moving to a little town in Canada,” explains Kirk Baskin. “But people here are really nice, inclusive and welcoming, and the support we’ve received has helped to ease our transition.”
Baskin is no stranger to finding his feet in new places. He was born in Alberta, grew up in Quebec, and left home for the first time when he was 18.
“I’ve lived all over. I lived in the States, and then moved to BC. Then I decided to try South Africa,” he says. “In South Africa, I met my wife, and we started our family.”
Attracted by the beautiful landscape and the sense of community offered by small town life, Baskin and his wife decided to relocate to Clearwater about a year and a half ago. It was this move that made Baskin realize just how important reliable internet service is to those living a rural lifestyle.
“When I first came to Clearwater, I didn’t anticipate that getting internet service could be a problem,” he laughs. “When my wife and I realized that we couldn’t get internet from [larger companies] because we’re on the outskirts of town, we sort of freaked out. For a minute we thought we wouldn’t be able to stay.”
Luckily, he learned through a neighbour about a company called Raftview Communications, which was acquired by Mascon Cable in 2017 and now operates under the banner of this BC company.
Mascon Cable is new to the Barriere and Clearwater areas, but has already established itself as a leader in internet, television, and home phone services in over 20 small BC communities including Sicamous, Chase and Vanderhoof.
As an installer with Mascon Cable, Baskin is able to appreciate first hand the way his company’s increased internet speeds benefit local residents.
“Mascon has been making some pretty big changes here,” he says. “The first thing we’ve done is upgrade internet speeds in the area. Previously, Raftview Communications was only able to provide speeds of 20 megabits per second. But now with Mascon Cable, people can sign up for speeds of up to 120 megabits per second. It makes a huge difference.”
This means that Barriere and Clearwater residents can now take advantage of opportunities to work and play in a much bigger way.
“One fellow I connected was a tech support guru working for a company outside of this area,” remembers Baskin. “Just like me, when he first moved to Clearwater he wasn’t sure he could stay because he didn’t have high enough internet speeds to do his job. Fortunately, we were able to help him out.”
“Another person who sticks in my mind is a lovely lady who works as a medical transcriptionist from a home office,” he says. “She needed high speed internet to keep doing her work, so she was happy we could provide that.”
Better internet speeds can also make life a lot more fun.
“Before Mascon Cable came to the area, there was really only enough bandwidth for one person in a house to be streaming YouTube or watching Netflix. Now everyone can be online,” Baskin explains. “And if you’re into video gaming, now you can compete with anyone anywhere online.”
With the introduction of fibre optic into their network, Mascon Cable’s internet speeds are set to increase in the near future.
“Basically, we’re replacing a substantial portion of what used to be cable lines with fibre, to make our signal even more reliable,” Baskin notes, adding that Barriere is slated to have access to this fibre network in the next 3 months, with Clearwater expected to be connected by the end of 2018.
As for Baskin and his family, they’re excited about getting to know their new community.
“Last winter, just down the street from us, there was a snowmobile event, with drag races and freestyle jumping. My wife and I didn’t know anything about this kind of thing,” he laughs. “But we just went out to watch it all. People took the time to explain how it worked, and we had so much fun. I’m really looking forward to learning more.”
To find out more about Mascon Cable, visit mascon.ca.