Policy change could mean loss of rural high speed internet service

South Dundas council added their voice to the list of those concerned with the Industry Canada proposal. The proposal will force Internet providers like Xplornet Communications to give up their 3500 MHz spectrum, which is being used to bring high speed internet services to about 11,000 residents and businesses across Eastern Ontario.

According to a briefing note provided to Eastern Ontario Municipalities by the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association, this spectrum will be transfered  to wireless cell companies to support services for urban customers.

Those affected are only those licenced and served by the 3500 MHz spectrum which is a more reliable higher speed service, generally used in rural commercial applications.

“In our view, this short sighted proposal appears only to benefit the major telecommunication companies and is contrary to the Federal government’s priority of providing high speed internet service to rural communities throughout Canada,” said Ron Eddy, chair of the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association.

South Dundas council agreed that it strongly supports the views expressed by the chairs of the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus and the Eastern Ontario Regional Network.

“Should you proceed along this path we know that more than 11,000 customers across a large part of eastern Ontario face the spectre of losing their connections to high-speed services. This cannot be allowed to happen,” reads the letter signed by Steven Byvelds on behalf of South Dundas council. 

“The Government along with its partners in EORN have just connected these homes and businesses at a considerable cost the public and to its private sector partner. Millions of dollars would be wasted and the good work of the EORN damaged. This must be avoided.”

The Government of Canada contributed $55 million to the EORN project, as did the Government of Ontario. The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus Inc., and private sector partners contributed the remaining funding of the $170 million project.

“It’s ludicrous after the millions that have been spent on rural broadband in this part of the province,” said South Dundas councillor Jim Graham, who brought the issued to the South Dundas council table at the October 7 council meeting.

“It defies logic,” agreed South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds.

South Dundas council sent off a letter expressing their displeasure, and passed a resolution requesting that Industry Canada modify its policy proposals to permit current 3500MHz licence holders who are party to the Eastern Ontario Regional Network and delivering high speed fixed wireless internet services by exempt from any requirement to depart this spectrum.

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