As part of our Strategic Plan, Improvements to Internet service is one of the key imperatives. Since I took office I have consulted with residents, staff, internet professionals and discussed with Internet Service providers about the challenges faced in providing better service in our region. My experience in this industry and having lead several deployment projects has helped me understand the fundamental issues they face. There have been commitments from providers for expanded infrastructure that have recently been announced as well as new technology that improves reception for line of sight providers. I have also continued to work with our Warden and stayed in step with EORN and the Warden’s Caucus as the positive lobbying has resulted in funding commitments for our region.
As we have looked at possible solutions, the feedback has been that the barrier to higher speeds is infrastructure and the cost of those overbuilds. I have looked at creative solutions and discussed them with the ISP’s with different funding models that could involve public and private involvement to get this infrastructure built and internet in TLTI improved. At our September 5th meeting I will be bringing forward a motion that will look at how we get some of those options moving.
Mayor Baptista – Broadband Infrastructure
WHEREAS there has been a significant amount of lobbying and discussions with private sector companies, government bodies and technology experts with regards to improving internet services for the Residents of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
AND WHEREAS discussions with providers in the region have yielded commitments from existing providers for service improvements and additional service offerings in the past few years. There has also been a significant amount of investment through EORN in the existing broadband infrastructure in Eastern Ontario. Despite these investments there are still a significant amount of areas with the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands where broadband service is very expensive, limited in speed or capped for bandwidth;
AND WHEREAS one of the barriers to better service is building new infrastructure and extending existing infrastructure. The existing rules allow for smaller providers to utilize existing networks however, the large conglomerates have not upgrading their own infrastructure in most regions. Access to high speed internet is a major factor that will determine whether small business move to our region and we should look at all possible means to improve services;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Committee of the Whole recommends that Council direct staff to establish a working team to consult with providers to develop a business case and plan for a Capital Infrastructure project that would overbuild and extend internet services into currently under serviced areas of the region. Recommendations should include possible funding models that could include a combination of private and public contributions for the capital initiative as well as billing models that could support the capital expenditure repayment.