Temagami taking the next step in broadband project

·3 min read

TEMAGAMI – The municipality of Temagami is moving forward in its attempt to provide its residents withmore reliable broadband internet.

Treasurer-administrator Craig Davidson told Temagami council at the October 8 regular meeting that the municipality had been notified that it has advanced from the expression of interest stage for theCentre of Excellence in Next Generation Network’s third Northern Ontario Residential Broadband Project.

According to a press release from the Ontario government, the program “will bring high-performance broadband access to more than 200 homes, while providing a model for low-cost expansion to surrounding communities.”

Davidson notedthat Temagami had submitted their expression of interest in the program to CENGN back in August and that now they would bestarting to discuss options with community partners selected by CENGN.

In a letter addressed to the municipality, CENGN outlinedthat Temagami had been “selected out of 15 community applicants as a host community for our third Northern Ontario Residential Broadband Project to support a middle-kilometre broadband-access solution for the Lake Temagami area to homes across Lake Temagami and around the lake. To provide an optimal solution for residents living on the east, south, and north arms of Lake Temagami, it would seem to make sense to also work closely with Temagami First Nation for this project.”

Davidson said that Temagami is one of two communities that are“working with technological people right now in order to get the grant for installation, which they basically want to award in time for work to start in early 2021.”

Davidson said that Temagami’s goal is to have a proposal for the broadband project filed for October 26 and that theyhave engaged the services of Bernardi Consulting to assist withthe technical aspects of the proposal.

“If you are to look at any of staff’s calendars, this fall is extremely busy. So to make sure we didn’t miss out, following direction that council gave out in the spring, I did engage the services of Bernardi Consulting to act as our go-between with the technology people to make sure we had the right fit for not only our community but for Temagami First Nation,” he said.

“CENGN really wants to have Temagami First Nation involved as well.”

Davidson said council likely would have to have a special meeting at “some point in time” to approve the next submission for the Northern Ontario Residential Broadband Project, which is due October 26.

“We have a really good chance in getting internet and where CENGN wanted to focus was in the lake hub and Temagami First Nation, like Bear Island,” he noted.

“That’s sort of the area they want to make sure they can boost the internet because what the feeling is is if that area gets boosted, then it’s a lot easier to set it up on the arms of the lake, as well, and actually affect more places. In some spots there’s already half-decent internet that maybe that can form part of the catalyst to get a tower built, or what have you.”

Davidson added that Bernardi Consulting would be “helping us out in looking at what the solutions are and seeing what would work best in that area.”

Temagami Mayor Dan O’Mara commented thatthe broadband project was “a major development” and that Temagami was getting “close to the top” of communities on the list who could be potentially acquiringbetter internet capabilities.

Temagami says it will include Temagami First Nation council in its communication and invite them tomeetings related to the next phase of theproject.

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker