East Ferris’ and Bell’s internet connection re-established

Faster internet is coming, East Ferris.

“The provincial government remains committed to ensuring that all communities have access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025,’ stated Sofia Sousa-Dias, the media spokesperson for the Ministry of Infrastructure.

“Ontario and the federal government have entered into transfer payment agreements with Bell Canada to provide high speed internet access in the East Ferris area, and discussions are continuing,” she added.

Bell confirmed that all is well with the East Ferris internet project, telling BayToday via email that “the project remains on track for completion in 2025, as scheduled. We look forward to working with the Municipality.”

East Ferris was concerned that the fibreoptic internet, which was promised to residents in 2021, was not going to happen. The years have passed, and council grew curious as to what was happening with the work. Last week, East Ferris’ Chief Administrative Officer, Jason Trottier, told BayToday that “We’re left wondering what’s going on with the project, and we’re not the only community.”

See: East Ferris wants Bell’s internet expansion contract scrapped

With the project’s deadline looming – the work is supposed to be complete by 2025 – East Ferris council passed a motion asking both the provincial and federal governments to dissolve the contract with Bell for the work and offer it to a local company.

Other communities are set to receive faster, fibre optic internet connections. The province and the feds have pledged $170 million to Northeastern Ontario, with $12 million earmarked for East Ferris. The governments enter contracts with providers (the municipalities are not involved with the contracts, they are only beneficiaries) to install the fibre optics, and Bell is contracted for East Ferris.

“This project includes the municipalities of North Bay, Nipissing, East Ferris, Callander, Powassan and Chisholm,” Sousa-Dias said. “Construction is underway on parts of the project and claims have been paid for work completed to date. We are in discussions about what specific role Bell will have in the community of East Ferris.”

“The Municipality of East Ferris is grateful to the Ontario government and Bell Canada for providing an update on the status of the municipality’s Internet project,” East Ferris’ Mayor Pauline Rochefort said.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca