| Feb 12, 2009

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Re: High speed internet for North Frontenac, Pat Maloney

Re: High speed internet for North Frontenac

According to your story  Proposal would bring faster Internet to much of North Frontenac in the Jan 29/09 edition, North Frontenac is going to embrace the further uglification of our county by applying for funding to install half a dozen or more Broadband internet towers.

There are now nine communication towers in the 24 km stretch of Hwy#7 between Sharbot Lake and the Arden Road. There is hardly a bend in the road that isn’t punctuated by one of these steel monsters lording it over the once sylvan landscape. The hamlet of Mountain Grove is now hunkered below a Broadband tower so tall that it dominates the landscape for miles around and sends an endless red pulsing swath from 5 miles away across the waters of Arden’s Big Clear Lake all night long like some coastal lighthouse. Yet another of these engineering marvels is planned for the Arden area even though two other towers already sit nearby and the technology exists to mount multiple applications on one tower. Yet another cell phone tower is planned for this same stretch of Hwy#7. More and more towers are marching up Road 38.

But let someone propose installing some electrical generating windmills and every NIMBY between here and Cornerbrook will be screaming bloody murder. While there is no alternative to collecting wind for power there certainly is for high speed internet. It involves stringing cable, just like the North Frontenac and Westport Telco’s have already done for their customers.

If our local governments weren’t so slavishly wedded to the dubious advice of local Economic Development hacks they would realize that any real economic development would come from the employment of local line installers and not from a doubtful surge in home based internet businesses; from keeping overhead costs reasonable and not ridiculous for customers.

While high speed access might be nice it certainly isn’t worth 10 times the cost to me. I pay $5.00 a month for unlimited dial up and do everything I want with it including banking, purchasing, email, file transfers and surfing. Sure it’s slow by comparison but Broadband is going to lock users into paying exorbitant costs to a monopoly. Improved phone lines would allow competitors to provide cheaper local and long distance phoning as well as high speed internet and allow consumers a choice of providers. When faced with the impact this uglification is going to have on our tourist industry the whole approach becomes insupportable.Bell Canada has done little to improve telephone lines in our area, concentrating instead on upgrading equipment for profitable fee for service toys. The funding that’s being thrown around would be better spent “bribing” Bell to upgrade existing lines or providing access to its poles and switching equipment so that other lines could be installed.

We have only one viable industry in the Frontenacs and turning our beautiful landscape into a southern version of the DEW line is destroying it. The only economic development from this is going to the guy selling the tower and the company in Kingston gouging for the connection.

Patrick Maloney, Arden

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