BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Councillors have taken the next step in securing a high-speed internet connection for residents of Scugog’s rural-reaches.
During a meeting on Thursday, March 5, Scugog Council directed staff to obtain an Option to Purchase order with local internet service provider Communicate Freely – which currently serves several downtown businesses and residences along Queen St.
The Option to Purchase, which will cost the Township $2,000, allows financial staff to look into the company’s books and records, hammer out the details of a business plan, and retain the ability to purchase the company within the next six months - pending the approval of the federal government’s Connecting Canadians grant.
Scugog’s Clerk, Chris Harris, told The Standard that “The Option and the money will essentially recognize that business with the company will be tied up over the next six months.”
Scugog applied for the grant in January, and Mayor Tom Rowett has since been in talks with the local telecommunications company – considering options of partnership, or becoming an outright municipally-owned company.
Scugog’s investment into the broadband network would follow one of three major models: shared infrastructure - where service providers can connect to and expand on the Township’s network, dark fibre - where the Township lays out their own network and accepts payment from service providers to connect their own equipment, and a third option where the Township purchases a local service provider and becomes the sole owner and operator of Scugog’s internet services.
In addition to connecting Scugog’s rural residents and businesses, Mayor Rowett previously expressed an interest in building a self-sustaining network. Once lines are put into the ground, they would be controlled by Scugog town hall, and rented to internet providers. The proceeds are expected to cover upkeep costs, with left-over money reinvested into expanding the network.
The potential target for the federally-funded fibre optic lines has yet to be named, as Scugog has many currently under serviced areas – potential candidates named by Council include Scugog Island, Seagrave, and Blackstock.
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