A F F A I R E S • B U S I N E S S




A new federal funding program for im- proving Internet service in Canada has the proponents of a major broadband project for Eastern Ontario excited. Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin announced Monday, November 9, the launch of the expanded Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) to aid regional Internet and cel- lular service improvement projects across Canada. Drouin cited the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) and its proposed Gig project for ultra-fast broadband service as an example of a potential UBF beneficiary. “Today’s announcement,” stated Drouin, “creates the adequate funding source so organizations like EORN can apply to make this project a reality.” The original plan for the UBF program called for $1 billion in present and future budget funding to support broadband improvement projects across the country. Funding for the program is now increased to $1.75 billion, with the addition of a Rapid Response Stream application process to fast-track funding approval for “shovel-ready projects” that qualify. Drouin noted that the pandemic has shown that guaranteed high-speed Internet service is “more critical than ever” now. “COVID-19 has altered everything about our way of life,” Drouin stated. “It has ex- posed and compounded existing inequali- ties and vulnerabilities and has hit rural


The United Counties of Prescott- Russell has a number of lots in Hawkesbury it will offer for sale to developers. Social Services Director Sylvie Milette presented the United Counties of Pres- cott-Russell council (UCPR) with a report on 37 lots located in Hawkesbury that belong to the UCPR through its social services department. The lots are loca- ted along Portelance Street, Gladstone Street and Taché Street. UCPR council approved a recommen- dation from Milette to declare all of the lots as surplus to the needs of the department and to allow for the sale of 32 of the lots. The five lots set aside may be used for other purposes to be determined later. The total potential value of the lots that will become available for purchase is $2.15 million. All money from the sale of these lots will be reinvested in the social services department`s housing services program.

Un nouveau programme fédéral de soutien financier pour l’amélioration du haut débit est une bonne nouvelle pour les promoteurs d’un projet visant à fournir à l’Est de l’Ontario un service Internet ultra-rapide. — photo tirée d’une banque d‘images

communities hard. For too many residents of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, lack of access to reliable high-speed internet has a dramatic impact on quality of life. Now, more than ever, everyone needs reliable access to high-speed Internet as we work, learn and keep in touch with friends and family from home.” EORN response EORN officials issued a brief expressing both appreciation and excitement about UBF program announcement. “Today’s announcement is a critically important step forward in the EORN proposal to undertake our Gig Project,” stated EORN. “This is exactly what $1.6 billion Gig Project would do for Eastern Ontario. The project would see more than 550,000 homes,

businesses and other premises receive up to one gigabyte of speed through a fibre/ cable connection.” EORN officials noted the provincial govern- ment’s recent announcement of $680 million in new broadband funding support which makes EORN “confident that we are taking big steps forward towards making the Gig Project a reality.” The EORN Gig Project is a private-public- partnership proposal for enhancing the existing regional Internet setup, including providing high-speed service to all rural areas that do not already have it. EORN is working on getting confirmation of federal and provincial funding for the project and also funding and in-kind support from the private sector.

Michael J. Houle Q.C./C.R., B.A., B. COMM., LL.B. 613-794-0024

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