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Some city residents to see improved internet speeds

Bell Canada offered to pay for two temporary city staff members, says report

Thousands of Guelph residents may soon have faster internet service. 

Bell Canada has begun a three-year project to deliver fibre overlay connections to customers’ homes, but representatives declined to provide more information.

“Fibre internet technology is considered to be the fastest and most reliable,” Bell Canada spokesperson Jacqueline Michelis said via email.

Several questions, including whether this added service would result in a price increase for customers, went unanswered despite being repeatedly posed. Details about which areas of the city will be impacted and why those areas were chosen also went unanswered.

The plan, as outlined in a report to city council earlier this week, is to connect 10,000 Bell customers in the city through “two significant projects,” with plans to connect 15,000 to 20,000 more homes per year for the next three years.

“This work will support Guelph’s economy through improved connectivity for businesses and residents throughout the city,” the report states. “The city and Bell are parties to a municipal access agreement which outlines the terms and conditions under which Bell is permitted to construct, maintain, and operate its infrastructure in the municipal rights-of-way.”

The city has seen “significant and continued growth” in the utility sector during the past several years, the staff report explains, noting there is one full-time employee who oversees those projects from the municipal perspective. 

As that person had an “over capacity” workload prior to Bell’s ‘Fibre to the Home’ initiative beginning, the utility company has offered to pay for additional, temporary city staff to ensure “review timelines are maintained and proper oversight” is provided.

“At the time of this report, it is anticipated that the agreement with Bell will provide for two contract staff for an initial term of one-year, renewable to a maximum of three years,” it continues, adding those positions will cost about $77,200 annually each.