DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Council has decided to support two internet service providers’ applications for funding to bring high speed fibre-optic internet service to Uxbridge.
At a meeting on Monday, March 27, Council approved motions to sign letters of support for Telmax Inc. and Vianet Inc. for their applications to the federal government’s Connect To Innovate program.
Brian McCullagh of Vianet presented to council the company’s plan to bring the fibre-optic service to the rural communities within the Township of Uxbridge.
“We’re going to pass through five communities that have been identified by the federal government as underserved,” Mr. McCullagh told Councillors.
Those communities include Sandford, Siloam, Zephyr, Leaskdale and Udora.
Mr. McCullagh said this is a multi million dollar project, but stressed that the township does not need to provide any financial support for it. If the company is successful, the Connect to Innovate grant will fund up to 75 per cent of the project’s costs.
Mr. McCullagh also spoke about the company’s potential goals after they complete the fibre backbone build, stating the project will allow for “future builds.”
“If you can’t get a tree trunk built, you can’t build the branches,” he said.
Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet questioned if the company had any plans to service the urban areas in Uxbridge.
Mr. McCullagh responded, stating the company doesn’t plan on competing with some of the larger internet companies which already service the Uxbridge urban area.
“My residents are extremely excited about this,” Ward 3 Councillor Dave Barton said.
As well, at a meeting on Monday, March 20th, Howard Morton and Claude Pothier presented a plan to Councillors to bring fibre-optic service to the township as well as the rest of Durham Region.
“What we are talking about is levelling the competitive playing field for your communities,” Mr. Morton told Councillors.
The Telmax officials asked council for a letter of support for their grant application, as well as help from Township staff to prioritize areas in the township that need internet service upgrades.
“We are working both with Durham Region, who is supporting our Connect To Innovate grant, we are working with your peers in Scugog and Clarington and Oshawa and Whitby and Ajax to bring forward a unified network to unite the entire region,” Mr. Morton said.
Mr. Morton also told Councillors that the company is planning to hold a launch in Oshawa on Thursday, April 27th, adding that the company plans to undertake the project in Uxbridge with or without the grant.
“The grant is going to speed things up tremendously,” Mr. Pothier said.
Just like with the Vianet application, the Telmax officials said the Township does not need to chip in any financial help for the project.
Under the rules of the grant, all work on the project must be completed by 2021.
Mr. Morton said that, with the grant, it would take the company roughly about two and a half years to service the entire township.
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