Grey County council has agreed to contribute $25,000 in 2014 to support efforts that will set the stage for a multi-million-dollar regional project to bring high-capacity fibre optic broadband Internet connectivity to all of southwestern Ontario.
The 13 other member counties of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (WOWC) will also be asked to each pay a $25,000 share — for a total of $350,000 — after representatives of the non-profit organization endorsed a regional area network proposal in late October.
Grey County Warden Duncan McKinlay, chairman of the WOWC, said making fast, reliable, affordable Internet available in every community, regardless of population density, is vital to the county economy and future prosperity.
“I think fibre optic technology is the best value infrastructure upgrade we’ve had since railroads came into this part of the world,” he said in an interview, following a Grey County council meeting Tuesday in Owen Sound.
“It will be an asset, not just for teenagers to download movies, but for every business and every institution in southwestern Ontario.
“It’s vital for us to just keep even with the rest of the world as far as competing in business, industry, education, medicine.
“What we’re proposing here will put us a step ahead and provide an infrastructure that, with further investigations of the fancy toys at the end of the fibre optic line, we can keep ahead or at least even with the rest of the world for generations to come.”
The WOWC says it will cost about $234 million to build the broadband network for southwestern Ontario. The price could drop by up to 30% if existing infrastructure is used, the organization says. It will cost about $9.65 million to manage the network.
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