DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Over 800 homes on Scugog Island will soon have access to high-speed fibre internet following the recent announcement that the township will be receiving assistance through a funding grant from the federal government for the project.
On the shore of Lake Scugog on Thursday, June 25, MP Erin O’Toole announced the Federal government will give a grant of almost $1.9 million to Eccentric Artists Technical Services Limited, which operates locally as Communicate Freely. The money was given to the municipality as part of the Connecting Canadians program.
The program was launched in July, 2014 and has a goal to provide over 98 per cent of Canadian households with improved high speed internet services by 2017.
Mr. O’Toole said that this is a truly unique opportunity for Scugog, that will put them a cut above everyone else in Durham Region.
“What’s extra special is this community is receiving a grant and will be the only community in Durham receiving a Connecting Canada grant and one of the only ones in the GTA,” he said.
Construction to set up the fibre service is expected to begin in the fall. Communicate Freely plans to start with homes on Scugog Island and work themselves toward the rest of the Scugog community. They hope to finish work on the Island by the end of 2016.
“Worst case, summer of 2017 the whole area (of Scugog Island) should be done,” said Communicate Freely President Tim St. Pierre.
The service is expected to deliver speeds of up to 10 Megabits per second, something that Mr. St. Pierre said would be able to rival one of the biggest cities in Ontario.
“This is a generational fix. We’ll have better internet here than they have in Toronto by the time were done,” Mr. St. Pierre promised.
The process is currently in the legal consultation and evaluation stage. Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett said that he felt it was the right decision for the company to begin on the Island.
“Everybody I speak to complains about our internet. This is the greatest thing to happen to the Island in ten years,” he said. “It means a lot because we have been ignored for so many years and we have so many high profile people that will be so thankful that we’ve got it now.”
Mayor Tom Rowett added that he believes that this service will be beneficial in bringing more jobs into Scugog.
“When you have ultra high speed, you start bringing in major technology companies, data centres, high paying, good paying jobs,” he said. “Canada is third in the world for game development. That’s a multi-billion dollar industry that we could start attracting.”
Mr. O’Toole stated that he believes that the new internet will also provide a better environment for established small businesses in the community.
“Over time it’s going to mean a competitive advantage for this area,” he said. “Starting with the Island and expanding beyond, they will have high speed levels that you can get in downtown Toronto, in parts of Scugog Township.”
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