| Jan 27, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - January 29, 2009 Proposal would bring faster Internet to much of North FrontenacBy Jeff Green

North Frontenac Council has applied for a provincial grant which could bring wireless high speed Internet to much of the township by the end of 2009.

The township has been working with the consulting firm Actionable Intelligence, the County of Frontenac and the Internet Service Provider Omniglobe to put the proposal together.

All that is missing is a $334,000 commitment from the Ontario government’s Rural Connections granting program.

At their meeting last week, Frontenac County Council confirmed their commitment of almost $100,000 towards the project. The money will be taken from provincial infrastructure money the County received last September.

Omniglobe will invest the rest of the required funds to complete the project, which is slated to cost $1 million all told.

The proposed network would build on existing infrastructure that Omniglobe, in conjunction with Utilities Kingston, put in place last year to serve the public schools in Plevna and Cloyne, and would also make use of large TVO tower.

In addition, new 120 foot towers are proposed for Ompah and a location in between Kashwakamak and Big Gull Lakes. The network would also include “repeater sites” at Palmerston, Canonto, Shabomeka and Mississagagon lakes.

It is projected that once the hardware is in place service will be available in: Plevna, Cloyne, the Meyer's Cave/Harlowe area, Ompah, Ardoch, Fernleigh, and Kashwakamak, Mississagon, Shabomeka, Mazinaw, Big Gull and Sand Lakes.

Maureen O'Higgins from Actionable Intelligence, told County Council that because the region is very rocky and tree covered, it will not be possible to determine if any individual location can access the system until the towers are in place, the equipment is installed, and the signal can be tested.

“Anyone who gets the service will get good service, but we cannot guarantee service for any individual,” she said.

People living in the Snow Road, Mississippi Station, Coxvale and Brule Lake regions will not be reached by the proposed network.

The application claims that of the over 7,000 seasonal and permanent residents of the township, 4,400 will be served if the network is built.

Omniglobe says that the price of the service would be $50 per month for residential consumers and $87 for business customers, with a sign up fee of $55. Seasonal service would also be available for 8 months out of the year, with a $30 suspension fee.

In discussing the allocation of County funds, South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison asked North Frontenac Mayor Ron Maguire if North Frontenac Township is planning to invest any of its own money into the project.

Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek intervened,

saying that a successful application to the same funding program last November to cover off broadband service gaps in the rest of the County, which included a $250,000 commitment from the County, had been done without commitments by the townships.

“This application is consistent with the one we put in last fall. I don't think the other municipalities put any money in to that one,” Vanden Hoek said

In addition to a $97,000 commitment in 2009, North Frontenac also asked the County for $21,400 for an outreach program in 2010 and 2011, but that part of the request was deferred.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.