High-speed Internet could soon be available to 5,000 families and businesses in the Pontiac and Vallée-de-la-Gatineau MRCs if the application for financial assistance of $10 million that Connexion Fibre Picanoc filed this morning to the Brancher pour innover and Québec branché programs is accepted.
This is what the wardens of the two MRCs – who have worked together since 2006 – want to offer: access to a high-speed Internet service on these two great territories that rank among the least connected in Quebec. In 2007, the MRCs created Connexion Fibre Picanoc in partnership with local school boards to connect municipalities, schools, libraries and fire stations to a fiber optic network. They then created Réseau Picanoc.net, a public-private partnership currently serving nearly 2,000 customers with microwave antenna towers, which are often saturated due to a large number of users.
“Too many households have to be satisfied with mediocre and intermittent Internet service, while others are downright deprived,” said Raymond Durocher, MRC Pontiac Warden. “This has a significant social and economic impact on our communities.”
Mr. Michel Merleau, MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau warden, agrees and believes that all Canadians, wherever they are, should benefit from a quality Internet connection. “It’s not just a right, as the CRTC suggests. It is also an essential condition for the development of a region, particularly in rural areas such as ours, which are experiencing major devitalization.”
The financial aid application aims to connect the thousands of households that currently have little or no access to internet services to a fiber optics network. This will enable families to actively participate in today’s society, increase their interest in education, and allow them to access essential services offered online such as banking services.
Wardens Durocher and Merleau come together to agree that, “It is now up to the provincial and federal MPs to help the process by adding their support to this most important funding request for the economic and social development of the Pontiac and Vallée-de-la-Gatineau territories.”