Satellite internet for Lochlin, Irondale
By Chad Ingram
The Township of Minden Hills will outfit its community halls in Lochlin and Irondale with satellite internet, councillors decided during their June 11 committee-of-the-whole meeting, which was held using online conferencing and broadcast on YouTube.
Council had asked the county’s IT department to explore the possibility of installing wireless hotspots at each of the halls.
“Cellular service at both of those locations is weak enough that I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting in a wireless hotspot,” county IT director Mike March told councillors. “I think it would probably cause more problems than it would solve.”
Neither building is connected to cable and those capital costs would be prohibitively expensive at approximately $180,000 to run cable to the Lochlin site and approximately $45,000 for the community centre in Irondale.
March told councillors that satellite internet is available for those locations via company Xplornet. Labour and equipment costs for starting up will be about $1,200 per site, and the service will cost approximately $110 per month per site.
Mayor Brent Devolin pointed out that when the Eastern Ontario Regional Network cell gap project being undertaken by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus is complete, the connectivity issues in the area would be solved. “I think within a year or two with the project that’s already underway with EORN, it’s going to have it, the question is, do you want this to bridge a year or two, really?”
“I’d like to see us bridge it until that time,” said Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell, adding that she often hears about the poor connectivity in the Lochlin area from residents.
“I think we should, especially with the circumstances where parents are trying to teach their children at home,” said Councillor Jean Neville. “And all along County Road 1 there it’s just a tragedy that that isn’t one of the places where internet is available. There’s so many people along there.”