By Chad Ingram
Minden Hills council is supporting anagreement between Haliburton County and Bell to bring or improvehigh-speed broadband Internet to a number of public buildings in thecounty.
Council granted support after hearing apresentation from county IT manager Mike March and treasurer ElaineTaylor during a Feb. 11 committee-of-the-whole meeting.
During a Jan. 27 Haliburton Countycouncil meeting council agreed to contribute $360000 to a deal withBell to expand the company's fibre network in the community. Betweenthe fibre expansion and digital subscriber lines (DSL) a total of 24public buildings will gain or get improved access to high-speedbroadband Internet.
Minden Hills will reimburse the countyfor the service fees for the Minden Hills buildings that will benefitfrom the project those fees totalling about $13000 a year.
The county will pay for any smallequipment purchases such as a new firewall at the arena.
Bell is making a significant capitalinvestment in the project with fibre costing the company between$20000 and $30000 per kilometre.
“It's an awful lot of bang for thebuck” said Reeve Brent Devolin. While the project deals solelywith public buildings it will improve and increase the number ofpublic wireless hot spots. As Devolin pointed out the expansion ofthe fibre network in the community means that in the future Bell oranother company could potentially undertake a residential project.
Bell will own the infrastructure andretains the right to make agreements with third parties.
In Minden Hills the arena townshipoffice cultural centre Lutterworth roads garage and the watertreatment plant will get upgraded Internet services and the fire hallwill gain Internet access.
The fibre service is 100 Mbpssymmetrical and the service agreement is for 10 years.
If in that time Minden Hills or anotherone of the townships constructs a new building March said thepricing in the agreement would apply.
The township has asked how much itwould cost to run fibre to the community centre in Irondale andLochlin.
March said it would cost approximately$45000 to run fibre to the Irondale facility and as much as $180000to the Lochlin hall.
The project will help ease capacityissues at highly frequented public wireless hot spots such as theMinden Hills Cultural Centre.
"Some of our most popular hot spots . .. in 2015 experienced a lot of problems” March said explaininghigh volume slowed down connectivity for users.
“It's like feeding cornflakes to youone at time” Devolin said.
Not only should the project improvecapacity but Devolin said he also wanted to see the exteriorwireless area at the cultural centre grow.
The request for proposals for theproject was completed by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network whichwas seeking the best collective deal for the municipalities thatcomprise the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus.
The county contributed $500000 to the $170-million EORN broadbandproject that was completed in 2014. That project attempted to providehigh-speed Internet to 95 per cent of homes and businesses in thearea although many residents in the county are still without access.Many residents
have also expressed discontentment with the qualityof the satellite Internet service meant to fill the gap areas.
EORN is working on a rural wireless gap analysis.