| Jul 03, 2008

Jul 3/08 - Broadband Initiative Ramps Up

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Feature Article - July 3, 2008 Broadband initiative ramping up in Cloyne, Plevna and Mountain GroveBy Jeff Green

The drive for rural broadband has been slow, frustrating and complicated in rural Eastern Ontario, and in the northern parts of Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Counties it has never seemed to be able to get off the ground.

But now, finally, that seems to be on the verge of changing.

Towers have been constructed in Cloyne, Plevna and Mountain Grove to deliver broadband service to the schools in those communities, and with some help from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation, a company based in Montreal, OmniGlobe Networks, will be providing internet service on a commercial basis using those towers, according to a media release that came out early this week.

Players that are involved in this initiative include Utilities Kingston, which was contracted by the Limestone School Board to build the infrastructure necessary to deliver faster internet service to the rural schools.

“We are looking forward to working with OmniGlobe Networks to fulfill this important rural infrastructure initiative that is assisting us to provide broadband services to schools in Plevna, Mountain Grove, and Cloyne. Furthermore, we couldn’t have done it without the commitment and support of the Limestone District School Board.” said Jim Keech, Utilities Kingston CEO.

Anne Prichard, the executive director of the Frontenac CFDC, has been working for several years now on helping to piece together broadband service throughout Frontenac County, and she told the News earlier this week that it will not likely be possible to instantly determine exactly which locations will be reached by the service being provided off the new towers.

“Terrain is a big factor,” she said, “in some cases it may require a site visit for the provider to confirm it can deliver service to a specific location.”

A map was produced a few years ago which marked off the areas where service is available in Eastern Ontario, but it was not entirely accurate, and a lot has happened since then with the advent of wireless service. Once this new service is up and running, Prichard expects that the service gaps in Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Counties will be clearly determined.

“We may be looking at neo-net satellite fixes for those households and businesses,” Prichard said.

Broadband service is now delivered in Frontenac County through a variety of means: through telephone lines by Bell Canada and North Frontenac Telephone Company in many parts of Central Frontenac, and using wireless signals delivered from towers by KOS Kingston from a tower in Sydenham and by Occam communications from a tower near Hartington.

The OmniGlobe service constitutes the first opportunity for broadband in North Frontenac and Addington Highlands, with the exception of satellite-based services that are being used by a few business customers.

Details about where the service will be offered and what the end cost to consumers will be are being rolled out this month.

OmniGlobe will be making a presentation to Addington Highlands Council and the AHEAD economic development committee next Monday in Flinton.

In addition to the new service provider coming on stream, the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) will be providing internet training in Frontenac County in the coming months.

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