Hastings County stalled on high-speed internet expansion north of Highway 7

Don’t hold your breath waiting for expansion of high speed internet services in the north woods… because Hastings County is told it’s expensive north of Highway 7.

Here’s a story about it from the Community Press in Stirling.

By Janet Richards

Jan. 29, 2009

Belleville – The push to expand broadband Internet service in Hastings County is making headway.

County council approved a recommendation from its planning and development committee to work with Barrett Xplorenet Inc.(BXI) on the development of broadband service in the south part of the county.

Paula Preston, a consultant hired by the county to help with expanding broadband services, told council yesterday that the cost of servicing areas north of Highway 7 is too great for the county to undertake right now, even with provincial grants.

The county had invited BXI and Bell Aliant. to submit proposals. Preston said the BXI proposal contained better costing and more coverage for the county’s needs.

CAO Jim Pine told council the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) has been speaking to both the federal and provincial governments almost daily on the issue of broadband. The caucus on Jan. 13 issued a request for expressions of interest to help develop a network that will service 95 per cent of eastern Ontario. By Jan. 28, Pine said, 25 submissions from the private sector had already been received.

“There’s definitely an interest.”

Pine told council the EOWC expects to make a funding request to the federal government in the spring.

Pine said the “trunk network” will fill in the gaps still left in the county’s broadband service, including areas to the north, as well as enhance service. He expects it will take three to five years to develop.

Preston said funding for the broadband enhancement project through the Provincial Rural Connections program should be received in May and service could be in place as early as this fall.

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