By Chad Ingram
The Township of Minden Hills will outfit its community halls in Lochlinand Irondale with satellite internet councillors decided during theirJune 11 committee-of-the-whole meeting which was held using onlineconferencing and broadcast on YouTube.
Council had asked the county’s IT department to explore the possibility of installing wireless hotspots at each of the halls.
“Cellular service at both of those locations is weak enough that I wouldn’t feelcomfortable putting in a wireless hotspot” county IT director MikeMarch told councillors. “I think it would probably cause more problemsthan it would solve.”
Neither building is connected to cable andthose capital costs would be prohibitively expensive at approximately$180000 to run cable to the Lochlin site and approximately $45000 forthe community centre in Irondale.
March told councillors thatsatellite internet is available for those locations via companyXplornet. Labour and equipment costs for starting up will be about$1200 per site and the service will cost approximately $110 per monthper site.
Mayor Brent Devolin pointed out that when the EasternOntario Regional Network cell gap project being undertaken by theEastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus is complete the connectivity issues inthe area would be solved. “I think within a year or two with the project that’s already underway with EORN it’s going to have it the questionis do you want this to bridge a year or two really?”
“I’d like tosee us bridge it until that time” said Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell adding that she often hears about the poor connectivity in the Lochlin areafrom residents.
“I think we should especially with the circumstances where parents are trying to teach their children at home” saidCouncillor Jean Neville. “And all along County Road 1 there it’s just atragedy that that isn’t one of the places where internet is available.There’s so many people along there.”