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Puslinch teaming with Clearcable, U of G to address internet woes

The partnership involves the telecommunications firm and University of Guelph to craft a technical plan for funding applications
Keegan Kozolanka/GuelphToday file photo

PUSLINCH – The Township of Puslinch has made further ground in their quest for improved broadband service for their residents. 

At Wednesday’s council meeting, a partnership with telecommunications firm Clearcable was approved including $25,000 in start-up money. 

In a follow-up phone call, CAO Glenn Schwendinger explained they are seeking federal and provincial funding to improve internet service in the area but the required technical plan, business case and detailed application made an outside partnership with Clearcable necessary. 

“With a municipality the size we got, we don’t have the resources in house to create a technical plan for internet service for communities,” Schwendinger said. “They’re a firm who have put many of these technical and feasibility studies together for internet service for communities all over the place.”

The University of Guelph is also helping with the project. Professor Helen Hambly, who councillor John Sepulis described as “the guru on rural internet,” is providing students to help with data collection.

“She’s got a whole team of people who are working on internet issues across rural areas and they’re going to help a lot with data collection and provide a lot of the inputs necessary to come up with the concept and develop the technical plan with Clearcable,” Schwendinger said. 

The CAO explained that it is difficult to attract broadband providers to rural areas based on the economics of it. 

“The capital cost is high because of the distances that have to be travelled and the number of potential connections are lower,” Schwendinger said. “Therefore, your economic plan isn’t as attractive as it is in a highly urban and densely populated area. That makes it a little more difficult for that service to be installed.”

Schwendinger said getting federal and provincial capital investment improves the economic outlook for companies. 

Sepulis, who was elected as a councillor on a platform of improving internet service in Puslinch, called this partnership a great step forward. 

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m hoping it comes to fruition that we get the application in and we get the funding,” Sepulis said.

Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for Elora, Fergus and rural Centre Wellington.
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