Fibre-optic infrastructure: Jesse Hirsh is correct

I read Mr. Hirsh’s article with interest. My wife and I relocated to Almonte from Kanata some years ago. At that time BCE was busy installing fibre cable and infrastructure throughout the city of Kanata. Today when I tell friends from Kanata that BCE has yet to install fibre on my street (Dr.Bach), they are incredulous and wonder why.

The answer is pretty straightforward – BCE, despite their mantra of being a truly national telecommunications carrier, is not oblivious to the interests of their shareholders and the bottom profit line. They need a critical mass of customers to make their investment in fibre infrastructure profitable. BCE started installing fibre infrastructure on Dr. Bach last year but quit when they began to have difficulty with rocky terrain. Their customer support folks have been instructed to indicate fibre will be installed but to this point that promise is empty.

There are very many municipalities and remote locations across Canada that currently must cope with poor internet speeds and connectivity issues especially when compared to the urban experience. Having worked with First Nation and Inuit communities for many years I can attest to how much their self-development has been impeded by lack of connectivity. I will also say some progress has been made in recent years.

The situation that Jesse articulates so clearly is not peculiar to Lanark County or Mississippi Mills. Other communities in many parts of Canada experience the same difficulty. Other countries have embarked on ensuring all their citizens have access to fibre internet as a nation-building initiative. Why not Canada?

The federal government might consider creating a ministerial portfolio with the mandate to extend fibre Internet nationwide, where practical, and enhance connectivity in other ways for those remote communities where fibre infrastructure it’s not. The government should work directly with municipalities to make this happen.

And yes, it will cost the taxpayer. Jesse Hirsh is right. Fibre internet infrastructure Is essential, not a luxury, not just in metropolitan areas but in smaller municipalities such as ours. Let’s get on with this!

Finally: BCE! you owe it to Almonte residents! Finish the job you started. Install fibre on streets like Dr.Bach.

Jim Moore, Almonte