Connexion Fibre Picanoc submits near $60 million internet proposal

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Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC & VALLÉE-DE-LA-GATINEAU – On June 1, Connexion Fibre Picanoc (CFP) submitted an application for a project worth more than $57.5 million
to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) Broadband Fund to install about 3,000 km of fibre to connect 6,788 residences in more than 35 municipalities to high-speed internet.
CFP has requested a $4 million grant for the project, 50% of which the Québec Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) would cover. With the support of the MRCs of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Pontiac, Déry Télécom is also a strategic partner in the proposal.
The project has been in the works for about two years and began when MRC employees and elected officials learned how other MRCs had expanded internet in their regions during a Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) meeting. The MRC was referred to a consultant to help with the proposal who had
experience helping other MRCs with similar projects.
­­“CFP has spent two years analyzing the project and holding multiple consultations in the two MRCs with a single objective: to offer all currently underserved households high-speed internet access according to CRTC standards,” said Bernard Roy, President of the CFP project and director general of the MRC Pontiac.
According to Roy, the project’s goal is to provide all rural communities in both MRCs with an essential tool for their development, consisting of a “fast (at least 50 MB/s for downloading and 10 MB/s for uploading), reliable, affordable and scalable internet link” private carriers can use to complement cellular coverage.
Connexion Fibre Picanoc is a non-profit corporation the MRC Pontiac and MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau created in 2005 in partnership with the local school boards to connect municipalities, schools, libraries, and fire halls to fibre optic. CFP
manages and operates an approximate 500 km fibre optic communication network.
According to Jane Toller, MRC Pontiac warden, as a member of CFP, the MRC Pontiac would benefit from the proposed project’s revenues; funds would be used to advance some of the MRC’s major projects. “In the last election, it became apparent that the number one priority to revitalize the Pontiac was communication, specifically high-speed internet and cellular service. We’ve submitted a strong business plan and request that will make the Pontiac a better place to live and work,” she added.