By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 25 2018
Algonquin Highlands councillors are wondering how flexible internet provider Xplornet might be on the length of a lease agreement for use of the Dorset tower.
During a Jan. 18 meeting councillors discussed a proposal from Xplornet for the company to install equipment on the tower it would use to provide internet service to area residents. Under the proposed terms Xplornet would pay Algonquin Highlands $6000 a year but is looking for an initial 10-year term.
That seemed a little long for councillors with Mayor Carol Moffatt saying she’d prefer a five-year term and Councillor Marlene Kyle saying she’d prefer one as short as two. Councillors acknowledged that a shortened term may make the proposed project unfeasible from the company’s perspective and asked parks recreation and trails manager Chris Card to contact Xplornet reps about the prospect of a shortened term.
The township currently has a lease agreement with local provider Highlands Internet Services for $1 a year for the use of the tower. That agreement started in 2012 when options for high-speed internet in the area were fewer than they are now. That agreement will be up for renegotiation this July.
“The two providers are not getting or giving the same thing” Moffatt noted.
Xplornet would potentially reach many more customers than the local operation.
Another consideration for councillors was the Eastern Ontario Regional Network broadband project which when completed will help fill cellular connectivity gaps throughout eastern Ontario with the construction of telecommunications towers.
It is not yet clear where towers would be located locally.
“I don’t like the idea of a tower looking at a tower” said Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen.
“I think that is important for us” Moffatt agreed. “We know with the EORN project towers are coming.”
A report from Card indicated that council might consider having a third-company party build a separate telecommunications tower on the lookout tower property which could be used to house equipment for providers.
Moffatt also suggested the township could do that itself.
Councillors will continue the discussion after the township has a received a response from Xplornet.