Rural Argenteuil will soon be getting the fibre it needs.
Fibre Argenteuil has been officially launched. The new company, which is owned by the MRC d’Argenteuil, is going to ensure fibre-optic cables provide high speed internet and other telecommunications services to under-serviced rural parts of the region.
The project began in 2017 when the federal and Québec governments provided $9.3 million to help bring fibre-optic service to the northern area of the MRC. The MRC is covering the remaining cost of $6.7 million.
Under the government funding agreements, the MRC and Fibre Argenteuil have until March 31, 2021 to reach the target amount of 4,250 residences.
MRC Prefect Scott Pearce said he is proud that better internet access will soon be available for residents and is also proud of the staff who took the initiative to get the project started.
Argenteuil Member of the National Assembly Agnès Grondin compared internet to electricity as an important need.
Geographic Information System Administrator Frederick Jones explained that Fibre Argenteuil will have 355 kilometres of fibre-optic lines. Good internet access in the region is currently limited to urban communities and rural areas between Autoroute 50 and the Ottawa River.
The work to connect homes began in Wentworth during 2017 and 2018. In 2019 to 2020, the focus will be on the Dunany area, Brownsburg-Chatham, rural Lachute, Gore, Mille Isles, and the remainder of Wentworth.
The maps Jones showed explained that the areas being targeted are along Routes 327 and 329.
The MRC is responsible for constructing, owning all the lines and other infrastructure, and for easement relations with Hydro-Quebec and Bell Canada. Fibre Argenteuil will be responsible for operations, monitoring, customer billing, marketing, and maintenance.
Line construction is expected to be complete by the end of January 2021.
President Benoit St-Jacques described the seven-member Fibre Argenteuil board as being composed of “dynamic people.” They include Vice President Deny Ouellette, Secretary-Treasurer Stéphane Jourdain, Pascal Comeau, Jacques Nantel, Danielle Parent, and Denis Fillion.
St-Jacques said Fibre Argenteuil will offer products and services at prices that are similar to other corporate providers. He is hoping that at least 75 per cent of the more than 4,000 residences subscribe to the service.