Com­pany seeks $100K from Wellesley to ex­pand its fi­bre op­tic net­work

Morn­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ca­tions is propos­ing a $2.1-mil­lion project that would boost high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice in the town­ship’s set­tle­ments of Lin­wood, Crosshill, Hawkesville and Bam­berg

The Woolwich Observer - - VENTURE - FAISAL ALI

KICK­ING IN $100,000 WOULD help fast-track the ex­pan­sion of high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice in Wellesley Town­ship’s smaller com­mu­ni­ties, says a com­pany look­ing for sup­port from coun­cil.

Morn­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, which cur­rently pro­vides its fi­bre in­ter­net ser­vice to homes in Wellesley vil­lage, re­cently pitched the idea to coun­cil­lors, tout­ing the ben­e­fits of a new fi­bre op­tic in­ter­net con­nec­tion in the area.

If ap­proved, the $100,000 con­tri­bu­tion would go to­wards a $2.1-mil­lion project to ex­pand fi­bre op­tics ser­vices to the vil­lage cen­tres of Lin­wood, Crosshill, Hawkesville and Bam­berg, cov­er­ing an es­ti­mated 500 homes and busi­nesses in the town­ship.

“The pro­posal is that we bring fi­bre to Lin­wood, Hawkesville, Crosshill and Bam­berg,” Ken Nay­lor, gen­eral man­ager for Morn­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, told coun­cil­lors Septem­ber 25.

Of the $100,000 con­tri­bu­tion be­ing re­quested from the town­ship, $75,000 would be re­quired to build a fi­bre op­tic net­work for the vil­lage cen­tres of Lin­wood, Hawkesville and Crosshill. The vil­lage of Bam­berg would also be in­cluded in the net­work if the town­ship agreed to con­trib­ute the re­main­ing $25,000.

The com­mu­ni­ties were un­der­ser­viced, sug­gested Nay­lor, with be­low stan­dard lev­els of in­ter­net speeds.

“We re­ceived a lot of in­quiries from res­i­dents in the town­ship that wanted bet­ter in­ter­net ser­vice,” Nay­lor ex­plained in a later in­ter­view. “The project it­self is about $2.1 mil­lion. So with the town­ship con­tribut­ing up to $100,000, it’s enough to make it so the busi­ness case is jus­ti­fi­able.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Cana­dian Ra­dio-tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (CRTC), a gov­ern­ment reg­u­lat­ing agency, the pre­ferred min­i­mum in­ter­net speeds for all Cana­di­ans is at least 50 Mbps for down­load­ing and 10 Mbps for up­loads. The CRTC notes that while most Cana­di­ans meet this cri­te­ria for in­ter­net speeds, many ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas in the coun­try do not.

Us­ing mea­sure­ment tools from the Cana­dian In­ter­net Regis­tra­tion Au­thor­ity (CIRA), a not-for-profit that man­ages the “.ca” in­ter­net do­main, Nay­lor notes that the speeds in the Wellesley Town­ship com­mu­ni­ties fell well be­low the rec­om­mended min­i­mums.

“In your area, you’re un­der­served is what it comes down to. The av­er­age speed in th­ese com­mu­ni­ties is some 2 to 5 Mbps,” said Nay­lor, not­ing that Lin­wood fared slightly bet­ter than the other three vil­lages. “So com­pared to be the 50 Mbps con­nec­tion that is con­sid­ered to be the min­i­mum stan­dard, it’s a far cry off that.”

The fi­bre op­tics would of­fer in­ter­net speeds of up to 1 Gbps, and in­clude tele­vi­sion, home and se­cu­rity mon­i­tor­ing fea­tures. Morn­ing­ton would add new fi­bre op­tics lines to the con­nect the four com­mu­ni­ties to their larger net­work, and of­fer free in­stal­la­tions for el­i­gi­ble homes and busi­nesses to the net­work – al­low­ing prop­erty own­ers the op­tion pur­chase Morn­ing­ton’s in­ter­net ser­vice at a later date.

Cru­cially though, the fi­bre op­tic ca­bles would not cover homes and busi­nesses in the ru­ral parts out­side the vil­lage lim­its of Lin­wood, Hawkesville, Crosshill and Bam­berg. Only ru­ral homes and busi­nesses along the path­way of the pro­posed fi­bre op­tic line would be con­nected to the net­work.

Cur­rently, the pro­posal is for the fi­bre op­tic line to be laid along Ament Line. From west to east, the fi­bre op­tic ca­bles would cut through the vil­lage of Lin­wood, and then branch off at the intersection of Ament Line and Hutchi­son Road, and run along both roads to ser­vice Hawkesville and Crosshill, re­spec­tively.

The op­tional Bam­berg net­work would sep­a­rately be con­nected to ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture within Wellesley vil­lage, and travel east along Ger­ber Road, and then north along Moser Young Road to Bam­berg.

Town­ship coun­cil­lors, while sup­port­ive of Morn­ing­ton’s over­all goal, questioned how the pro­posal would in­ter­act with the Re­gion of Wa­ter­loo’s ex­ist­ing com­mit­ment to sup­ply the town­ships with fi­bre op­tic in­ter­net.

The Re­gion has al­ready com­mit­ted to work­ing with the South Western In­te­grated Fi­bre Tech­nol­ogy (SWIFT) net­work, a not­for-profit lever­ag­ing pub­lic and pri­vate fund­ing for the creation of open-ac­cess fi­bre net­works for ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties across the prov­ince.

If the town­ship waited for SWIFT, it would likely get fi­bre op­tic in­ter­net with­out hav­ing to spend any ad­di­tional funds. The SWIFT fi­bre net­work would also be open-ac­cess, al­low­ing mul­ti­ple in­ter­net ser­vice providers the abil­ity to of­fer their in­ter­net ser­vices on the same net­work. Morn­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, by con­trast, would have a much tighter monopoly on their fi­bre op­tic in­fra­struc­ture, lim­it­ing Wellesley Town­ship res­i­dents’ op­tions.

Nay­lor, how­ever, noted that the SWIFT ini­tia­tive could take years to come to fruition, whereas Morn­ing­ton could be­gin con­struc­tion in short or­der.

The pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil was just a pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sion, and no de­ci­sions were made. Wellesley Town­ship staff will re­view the com­pany’s re­quest in greater de­tail and re­turn to coun­cil with a rec­om­men­da­tion re­port at a later date.

Morn­ing­ton has said that they are look­ing to have homes in Lin­wood, Hawkesville and Crosshill con­nected by 2019, and Bam­berg in 2020.

[SUB­MIT­TED]

Morn­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ca­tions is look­ing to in­stall high-speed in­ter­net con­nec­tions to homes and busi­nesses along the path­way of the fi­bre op­tic ca­bles. Pic­tured is a map of the pro­posed route for un­der­ground fi­bre net­work in the town­ship.

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