Bell, Rogers and Xplornet are set to bring more reliable high-speed internet to rural areas after signing a $1.2-billion deal with the provincial government.
That’s music to the ears of rural residents like Ariel Kenny, who says poor internet access in Seeley’s Bay affects everyday life.
“My granny did live on Sweets Corners Road, which is in the same area,” says Kenny. “She had Xplornet, and her service was horrible…. She couldn’t do anything with her computer. It was basically dial-up.”
Unreliable internet affects not only residents of rural areas, but businesses as well.
At The Junction Family Restaurant just past Seeley’s Bay, the spotty internet service can throw a wrench in everyday operations.
“With our POS (point of sale) system, we have three in our restaurant. Because our internet is not the greatest here, we’re only able to run one,” says restaurant server Logan Buelow.
“If we run more than one at the same time, then it crashes and we have to reset everything, which takes time, and then we get some customers and we have to ask them to wait.”
The province says Xplornet will cover Greater Napanee and most of the Leeds, Grenville and Rideau Lakes community.
Bell and Rogers will provide service to the Belleville area, Quinte West and Prince Edward County.
“Everybody that’s struggled with having their kids learn virtually from home, or have had to do their job from home, or operate their business, in some cases, from home, they know that in the very near future they are going to have access to high-speed internet in their community,” says Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith.
“We’re really excited that the contracts are being awarded and that work is about to begin.”
The province says there are up to 266,000 unserved and underserved homes and businesses across Ontario.
The Ford government is aiming to bring reliable, high-speed internet to every corner of the province by 2025.
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