PUSLINCH – Puslinch council has agreed to enter a partnership with the University of Guelph and Clearcable Networks to improve internet service in the township.
CAO Glenn Schwendinger told council at its May 20 meeting there are funding programs available to help improve internet service, but the township does not have the expertise in-house to develop a plan to capitalize on such grants.
He said the University of Guelph’s Regional and Rural Broadband project (R2B2) headed by Dr. Helen Hambly, and Clearcable are willing to partner to develop such a plan and would need $25,000 seed money to get started.
Councillor John Sepulis, who chairs the planning and development advisory committee, said internet access was always spotty, but it’s become a critical issue with COVID-19 and more people relying on the internet for work, for school, for information, to communicate, and to shop for essentials.
“My concern is if we don’t do anything, we will miss the opportunity,” Sepulis said.
“People can’t function without (the internet).”
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has mapped the area “and this area is considered fully serviced by the CRTC,” Sepulis said.
“But we know internet service is crappy everywhere here. This proposal will fill the gaps.”
There may be cable infrastructure underground, he said, and it looks like there should be wide, broadband service, but it’s deceptive.
What Clearcable does is locate that infrastructure and use it where possible to expand internet service.
“It seems a reasonable investment when you consider the grants that will come from it,” said councillor Matthew Bulmer.
“The internet should be like a utility,” added councillor Jessica Goyda. “It’s not a luxury anymore.”
Council unanimously approved funding the partnership.