| Jan 10, 2008

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Feature Article - January 10, 2008 High speed internet access coming to Lanark Highlands by Jeff Green High speed internet service will be available to most Lanark Highlands residents in 2008.

Storm Internet Service recently completed an agreement with the County of Lanark to provide High Speed Broadband Internet Services to the un-served and under-served areas of Lanark County. Township Council has agreed to allow Storm to erect towers at three township-owned properties (McDonalds Corners Public Works garage, White Lake Fire Hall, and Middleville Fire Hall) free of charge in exchange for the provision of high speed service at various municipal facilities.

“I am extremely pleased that the County of Lanark, Lanark Highlands, and Storm Internet Service have been able to form a partnership that will enable our residents to access truly high speed Internet service”, said Mayor Fletcher. “This is a project that we have been working towards for many years, as it will level the playing field for our rural residents who have been at a real disadvantage, as they have not had a cost effective means to access the Internet.” The township has issued building permits for the three new towers and construction is slated to begin the week of January 14.

Lanark County received a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) last year which provides for an incentive of 30% of capital costs for a company to provide broadband service throughout the county. Storm Internet Services, a 10-year-old Ottawa-based company, was selected after a request for proposal process in which 18 bids were received. Storm has already built a network in Beckwith Township of Lanark County, and this makes it easier for them to extend service to the rural edge of the township, including Tay Valley and Lanark Highlands.

Construction is expected to be sompleted by late May, and customers who sign up should be able to receive service by August of this year.

Storm will be hosting a series of public open houses throughout Lanark County in February to provide local residents with more information about its services.

According to company President Barry Williams, Storm will be deciding in the late spring in which direction they want to expand their service in 2009.

Two areas that are being considered are rural Renfrew County and Frontenac County.

“Frontenac would certainly be a relatively easy add-on,” said Williams.

Co-operation from township officials is sometimes a factor in Storm deciding which areas to expand into.

“That certainly was the case in Beckwith township,” said company President Barry Williams, “and it is not always financial support that is required. There are other supports a township can offer.”

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