By Chad Ingram
The County of Haliburton is issuing two letters of support for proposedprojects that could heighten internet connectivity in the county.
As previously reported the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure is offering $150 million in grants for broadband projects and during a Julymeeting councillors agreed they would sole-source the services of aconsultant with the ability to conduct a technical evaluation ofproposal from internet providers.
The funding application is due onAug. 21 and the county has retained the services of Johnathan Black from Kuro Partners to evaluate proposals.
During a special meeting onAug. 18 councillors heard about two proposed projects – one from Belland one from Xplornet – and issued letters of support for both fundingapplications.
“Bell and Xplornet have relatively shovel-readyprojects” county chief administrative officer Mike Rutter told councilbefore providing an overview of each.
The Bell $20-million projectwould equip about 4000 premises in the county with speeds up to 50 Mbps for downloading and 10 Mbps for uploading through a combination offibre-to-home and fixed wireless technology.
The project Xplornetwas requesting a letter of support for was larger in scope one worth$200 to $220 million which would install some 2650 kilometres of newfibre throughout central and northern Ontario and according to theproposal would offer 100 Mbps service to 170000 “under-servicedhouseholds.”
As to what “under-serviced” means exactly “We did askthat question and really haven’t been able to get a clear answer onthat” Rutter said.
Councillors approved both letters of support in a resolution that read the county would also continue to work with anyinternet providers interested in creating projects to enhanceconnectivity in the area.
These projects would be separate from thecell gap project being completed by the Eastern Ontario RegionalNetwork and the gig project for which EORN has recently requestedfunding.