The Municipalité Régional de Comté (MRC) d’Argenteuil wants action from utility companies as it tries to complete a fiber-optic network to bring high-speed internet to under-serviced areas of the regional municipality.
On May 7, the MRC notified the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) about its plan to develop a fiber optic network to serve 4,260 households in its territory. The MRC d’Argenteuil Council is asking the Québec government, the Canadian government, and the CRTC to put immediate pressure on the management of telephone companies that own the poles the MRC wants to attach fiber-optic cables to, to accelerate the completion of this project.
The MRC’s plan is part of the Québec government’s Québec Branché initiative and the federal government’s Connect to Innovate program. In 2017, the MRC received $9.3 million in funding for its high-speed plans but the process of obtaining permits to use the poles owned by the phone companies has slowed progress down.
“The MRC d’Argenteuil believes that the only way to meet its commitment to provide high speed fiber optic Internet service to 4,260 households in its territory by March 31, 2021, in accordance with the terms of the funding obtained, is for the governments of Canada and Québec and the CRTC to force owners of support structures to show good faith and flexibility and to collaborate in a respectful and diligent manner with municipalities and MRCs which, it must be remembered, are local governments serving the population and the common good”, said MRC d’Argenteuil Prefect Scott Pearce.
Since January 2019, the MRC has been vigorously addressing the issue of access to poles and permit acquisition.
The MRC d’Argenteuil estimates that 8,000 households, or 45 per cent of the dwellings in its territory, do not have access to high speed internet service. As the local government, the MRC is currently conducting the first phase of a large-scale fiber optic deployment project, with total costs estimated at $11.7 million. This project, which is carried out jointly with the non-profit organization Fibre Argenteuil Inc., covers 355 kilometres in rural areas and will be made possible by government funding totalling $9.3 million and the injection of the substantial sum of $2.4 million by the MRC d’Argenteuil.