Muskoka Lakes will be upgrading internet access to certain municipal buildings.
At the Wednesday meeting council approved two motions regarding internet quality and access. First was the installation of high-speed internet at the Raymond Community centre, the second being a five-Year deal with Bell to provide fibre internet service to the township office in Port Carling.
The Raymond Community Centre is one of the few community centres in Muskoka Lakes which has lacked connection to high-speed internet. The township installed most of its community centres with high-speed internet between 2018 and 2020. But Raymond was an exception, as its location lacked infrastructure to provide the internet service. Since then, changes have been made which have brought better internet access to the area.
Councillor Gordon Roberts spoke about how technical issues have made internet usage in Raymond difficult for many years.
“This has been long-awaited for the Raymond area,” Roberts said.
Roberts also passed on thanks from an absent Councillor Susan Mazan, who represents the Raymond area of Ward B.
“She (Mazan) really appreciates Council support on this long-awaited service that we will be providing to Raymond,” Roberts said.
The second approval by council was for a five-year deal with Bell to provide fibre internet service to the township office. According to staff, the township offices have experienced intermittent service which has resulted in the interruption of Township work and business.
Several councillors voiced concern over the length and inflexibility of the five-year contract. First Councillor Frank Jaglowitz had concerns over limiting the townships’ potential to find a more affordable deal down the road. Then Councillor Ruth-Ellen Nishikawa voiced concerns over confidence in dealing with Bell.
“I’ve heard lots of stories and I’ve been involved with lots of stories with Bell, and they don’t always live by their agreements,” Nishikawa said.
Nishikawa stated that she would be more comfortable agreeing to a month-to-month deal with Bell to give the township more flexibility.
“Otherwise, I’d be really concerned that we’re locked in with for five years and in fact, their service may not be that great,” Nishikawa said.
Councillor Peter Kelley stated he personally has switched his home to the same service the township would be receiving and that his experience has been exemplary.
Mayor Phil Harding highlighted guarantees from Bell to provide 99.999% network availability as well as twice the network speed the township office currently has.
Director of Financial services Mark Donaldson spoke to reassure concerns about service quality by highlighting if service were below promised levels Bell would be forced to give discounted billing or refunds to the township.
Both proposals were passed unanimously by council.
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