MM2020 volunteers plan local Internet network

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‘MM2020’ is the Mississippi Mills Broadband Working Group — volunteers trying to improve broadband service in our community.

The ‘2020’ in our name is the year we hope to have high-speed broadband service available to all residents, both urban and rural.

We started by exploring options with the major telcos.  We, like many other small rural communities, realized that the best option is to build our own fibre network. (Read this to learn how the small town of Olds Alberta did it.)

MM2020 is striving to build a similar fibre network in rural Mississippi Mills.

(Also click here to check out what the community of Scugog Township in Ontario built.  If they can do it, so can we.)

We assembled a team of local people, and we were fortunate enough to get technical advice from the Developing World Design Group at Google. We have a basic plan for deployment and we need some feedback from the community to ensure that we have things right.

What are we proposing?

Internet service up to 1 Gigabit per second.  That is up to 1,000 times better than what many Mississippi Mills residents currently receive.  There will be no data caps.

How can a community based group like MM2020 build a multi-million dollar fiber network?

  • Earlier this year volunteers completed a funding application to the Industry Canada Connect to Innovate Program to partially fund the backbone network for Mississippi Mills rural service. We are in an ongoing dialogue with the funding entity and expect to receive feedback on our application in late summer.
  • The Canadian Radio and Television Commission started a $750M fund to improve internet service for Canadians. We may eventually get some funding from this source but it will not be in the immediate future.
  • Community funding

A small group of local investors and a small financial institution have expressed interest in the MM2020 project. Although the funding available is modest, it would allow MM2020 to build a Mississippi Mills Community Fiber Network in phases across the community.

Note: The CRTC is seeking your advice before June 28th on how best to spend the money mentioned in point 2. The choices are: provide the money to Bell, Telus and Rogers for network expansion, or set up a fund to assist communities like Mississippi Mills to build rural fibre networks.  MM2020 endorses the latter option.

Express your vote at: https://act.openmedia.org/communityBBfirst?src=161689

Where are you building the network?

Ideally the network will cover all the rural areas, but MM2020 cannot build the network in one step. Instead we must use a phased approach where we build the network in pieces.  The proposed first phase of our network is shown on the map below.

We are considering two routes, one from Carleton Place to Appleton and the other from Carleton Place to Almonte along Ramsay Concession 8.

If you live in Appleton or along Concession 8, and that includes residents of Monroe Meadows and Torok Drive, then we need your help.  If you are interested, or not interested, in subscribing to our 1 Gigabit fibre service please tell us by filling out this survey: http://tinyurl.com/MMHighspeed.

After this first phase, by 2020 both rural and urban residents would have access to true broadband — there might still be a difference in service but both groups would have closer to the same speeds.

In the near term it may be that rural residents on our network actually get  better service than the urban residents.  This is happening in a few communities in Canada already.

Proposed initial routes marked in dark red.