Swift Internet keeps Creston area connected

With people staying home more than usual this spring and summer, business has been booming for Swift Internet.

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With people staying home more than usual this spring and summer, business has been booming for Swift Internet.

Serving the Creston area, Swift has seen a 20 per cent increase in bandwidth usage since the pandemic hit. President and CEO Kitt Santano says the pandemic has been “a trial by fire,” but has illuminated the essential role of connectivity and what the future may hold. “Look at remote business, remote doctors. It’s a replacement for physical presence.”

Swift Internet started in 2012 when Santano and his wife, then owning and operating a computer store, noticed the need in their community, which the big national providers weren’t reaching. “People would come in all the time saying their computer was broken, but it was really just bad internet.”

The business started serving the area outside of Creston, where the biggest connectivity gaps were. It continued to grow organically, adding more customers and covering more of the community. It now serves over 2,000 customers and employs over a dozen local workers.

“CBBC has been very important to our growth,” says Santano. This is because CBBC has an approximately 1,000-kilometre broadband network, which extends roughly from Trail in the west to Elkford in the east, north to Spillamacheen and soon north up the Slocan Valley. This network is like a major highway system that connects communities. Then, local internet service providers (ISPs), like Swift, connect to the highway and provide smaller “roads” that bring the internet to businesses and houses.

Santano says that being able to connect to the CBBC network “is really convenient for us and it strengthens the community—it really does—because we are able to provide better quality internet right into the community.”

Swift Internet also went through the Trust’s Basin RevUp program. This program helps non-technology businesses that are poised for growth with customized support, training and networking. It connects business owners or managers with experienced mentors and provides customized growth plans, coaching, training and engagement with peers.

“It made me aware of some flaws and how we can enhance what we have,” says Santano. The program took him from owner to CEO, with both big plans on the horizon and a commitment to maintaining a close connection to the community. “We are very community oriented, and we don’t mess around with customers. I want to run a business like how I want to be treated.”

CBBC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trust, created to improve connectivity in rural areas and communities in the Basin. Improving connectivity is important so that all people can fulfill business needs and access education, news and entertainment, among other services and opportunities. Connectivity is the window to the rest of the world.

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