By Chad Ingram
Published June 14 2016
The county’s latest broadband connectivity project should be completed by year’s end or most of it at least.
In January county councillors voted to spend $360000 on a project with Bell that will improve or extend high-speed broadband 100 Mbps Internet to 24 public buildings in the municipality.
While there is no residential component to the project it will create or improve the reach of a number of publicly accessible wireless hotspots.
Politicians have noted that the spend on Bell’s end is much larger than the county’s.
Bell has divided the project into two phases and during a June 8 meeting of the county’s finance and correspondence committee treasurer Elaine Taylor told councillors that engineering visits to half the sites had been completed as of May 17. Taylor expected engineering visits to the remaining sites to be completed by the end of June.
“The one site that is problematic is the Minden arena” Taylor told councillors. A report from the treasurer indicated the arena has no existing pathway for fibre-optic cable and that there is no apparent simple way to gain access.
“However an existing project to extend fibre to the new housing complex is likely to provide other options” Taylor’s report reads. “We are currently waiting on the engineer for that project to contact us to discuss how to go forward with that site.”
Minden Hills township and the Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corporation are about to begin construction on an affordable housing complex at the end of Parkside Street near the arena’s parking lot.
“The majority of our sites will require the installation of fire rated conduit varying in distance” the report reads. “Arrangement will also be made to do this work in-house. The IT manager will obtain pricing from local electricians for the equipment grounding.”
For now the Haliburton County Development Corporation’s business incubator has been removed from the list of sites due to a potential relocation.
“If it is decided at a later date that the business incubator will remain at its current location we are still eligible to obtain the contract pricing from Bell” Taylor’s report reads.
As for a completion date “We really are relying on Bell to the push the times and we don’t really have a whole lot of control over timelines” Taylor said.
However the treasurer indicated she expected the majority of the sites to be connected before the end of 2016 and that a few may get finished in 2017.
The buildings that will be connected through the new project include the Haliburton County office on Newcastle Street in Minden; the Dysart Gooderham Minden Wilberforce Highland Grove and Cardiff branches of the Haliburton County Public Library; the Dorset Recreation Centre/library/Algonquin Highlands office on Main Street in Dorset; the Tory Hill and Minden EMS bases; the Algonquin Highlands office on North Shore Road; the Dysart arena; the Rails End Gallery; the Dysart township office; the Highlands East township office; the Minden Hills arena the Minden Hills township
office; the county public works garages in Ingoldsby Eagle Lake Kinmount and Highland Grove; the Dysart roads garage; the Haliburton Highlands Museum; and the Minden Hills roads garage south of Minden.
Each of the county’s lower-tier townships have agreed to reimburse the county for annual service fees associated with the project. In Minden Hills that bill will total approximately $13000.
The county contributed $500000 to the $170-million Eastern Ontario Regional Network broadband project that was completed in 2014. That project attempted to provide high-speed Internet to 95 per cent of homes and businesses in the area although many residents in the county are still without access. Many residents
have also expressed discontentment with the quality of the satellite Internet service meant to fill the gap areas.
EORN is working on a rural wireless gap analysis.