Searching for high-speed Internet
By Chad Ingram
Haliburton County is still trying to get reliable, high-speed Internet to residents who do not have it.
County treasurer Laura Janke presented a report on Internet at municipal offices during a Nov. 11 meeting of the county’s finance and correspondence committee.
There are 41 hubs at public buildings throughout the county and as Janke explained to councillors, Rogers, the current carrier, has made it clear it intends to do away with some its infrastructure in the area.
“They’re starting to decommission some of the services,” Janke said. “They are costing too much.”
For the past 18 months, Janke and county IT manager Mike March have been taking part in discussions with a group of other municipal representatives through the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, trying to get better servicing and pricing for municipalities throughout Eastern Ontario.
“We’re looking at trying to get a long-term agreement with a provider,” said Janke, adding a longer agreement would mean saving money over time.
This may also be an opportunity for the county to try to get high-speed Internet to residents who do not yet have it.
“This is also a good time to have some discussions regarding any future capital builds and what kind of resources the county should be contributing to help more residents get access to high-speed Internet,” Janke’s report read.
In fall of 2014, the multi-year, $170-million EORN project was completed, which aimed to bring high-speed Internet to 95 per cent of homes and businesses in Eastern Ontario. This was to be provided mostly through fibre-optic cable and EORN also negotiated special rates for satellite Internet for residents in area where cable couldn’t reach.
Haliburton County contributed $500,000 to that project.
However, numerous residents in the county are still not able to get reliable high-speed Internet.
Janke said there are some $232,000 in reserves that could be used.
Councillors emphasized the great need for high-speed Internet in the community, with Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin saying it was infrastructure just as, if not more, important than highways 35 and 118.