By Darren Lum
Silver Beach residents are looking forward to getting in the fast lane when it comes to internet connectivity this summer after the North Frontenac Telephone Company officially announced they were adding $1 million worth of work to expand its high-speed network for 500 homes, with a presentation to home owners and politicians on Monday, May 17 outside the development’s clubhouse.
NFTC said preparation and construction work for the addition of five kilometres of new fibre has already begun. The first phase will include Silver Beach and residents along the shoreline of Kashagawigamog Lake. There are two services being delivered to the Silver Beach residents. By the end of June wireless will be available and then construction to add fibre-to-the-home begins in two weeks.
Silver Beach condominium board president Rick Perkins, who attended the announcement with fellow board members, said this was welcome news for him and his neighbours.
“To go from what we haven’t had to something that everybody is expecting and getting delivered is going to be a change in here. Another nice thing is what’s coming through here is going to everybody else around the lake. It will really help out the whole [community],” he said.
He said current speeds are close to 8.5 megabytes per second and is expected to increase to a minimum speed of 100 megabytes per second.
“This new speed means we can have even a couple TVs on high definition, or even 4K and you can be downloading and chatting, Zoom calls with grandkids. For the people in here, it’s just incredible,” he said, referring to Silver Beach residents.
Prior to this announcement, many residents were looking for better internet connection options.
Now the search is over, he adds.
“It just helps everybody. There are so many people in here that are working from home. They can’t do it without,” he said.
Discussions with NFTC started a little more than three months ago, Perkins said, and the time has gone quickly.
“They are a good group to work with. It’s been very clean. It’s been very professional. Rolling very quickly,” he said.
With his wife, he’s been a resident since 2017 after coming from Toronto, where high-speed was not an issue, to retire in the area.
Also attending were politicians Jamie Schmale, MP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, and Dysart et al Deputy Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy, who is an area resident and was in attendance for Mayor Andrea Roberts.
From a press release, NFTC’s vice president Sandy Nuttall said, “It has been incredibly helpful working with MP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes Jamie Schmale, who has consistently and persistently requested expansion of our high-speed network for local residents. His persistence has helped catapult NFTC’s $1 million investment in Haliburton, ensuring that this project was considered urgent.”
Schmale said he appreciated the regular communication with Nuttall, who came to make the announcement in person. With a greater dependency on a high-speed internet connection during the pandemic to remain connected, the need is more important than ever.
“With North Frontenac’s investment, this is pretty spectacular and I hope more to come because, as we know in Haliburton County the service isn’t the best in some places, so we need to ensure that [Sandy] still takes my calls and that North Frontenac continues to see this as a worthy community to invest in. So, thank you,” he said.
Started more than 60 years, NFTC has expanded its service to more than 35 rural communities.
NFTC currently is providing fibre services to Haliburton County communities, Minden Hills and and Dysart.