I applaud Mayor Tom Rowett and Scugog Council for their efforts to bring high-speed internet to our rural township, and their due diligence in making sure this is a sound investment. I attended the Sept 21 special Council meeting and was very impressed with the presentations.
Since The Standard reported on this meeting, I was surprised and disappointed that a column in the October 1 paper presented such a negative view, including the claim that this is a gamble of taxpayer money.
The fact is that a federal grant for Scugog Island has already been received. An application is being prepared for both federal and provincial grants for expansion of this service to other Township rural and in-town areas. The contribution by the Township will be taken from Scugog's Hydro reserves, and a loan, both to be paid back by subscribers. The $1.1M taken from Hydro reserves still leaves $1.6M in that reserve account. When subscribers can receive up to 50 Mb/s service, more data, low cost TV and home phone at a fraction of the cost of the less reliable options currently available, wouldn't you switch? After subscribers' revenue has paid back the reserves and the loan, the Township will receive dividends in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
That revenue means either lower taxes, better services, or both. Taxpayers won't pay for this internet service, but they will benefit from the revenue that it will provide.