Francine Bastien, special contribution

It has been in the works since 2016, but now it seems closer to reality. According to Robert Desmarais, the Director General of the Brome-Missisquoi MRC, fibre optic high-speed internet will be available everywhere in the MRC by January of next year.

“A major breakthrough was achieved a couple of months ago when, Bell and Hydro, the owners of the poles carrying the wires, agreed to cooperate.’’ That cooperation, Robert Desmarais told Tempo, speed- ed up the emission of permits to carry out the work of installing the required equipment on the poles.

The mayor of West Bolton, Jacques Drolet, agrees: “What used to take eight to nine months of talks can now be achieved in a few weeks.’’ This being said, there are still potential obstacles says Mayor Drolet “like delays in the delivery of material and also the inspection of the poles won’t be completed before springtime. The process has to be speeded up. There is a lot of pressure from citizens’’ said Drolet in an interview with Tempo.

Mayor Drolet explained that his municipality was especially hard hit by the lack of reliable high-speed internet. “We live these problems every day at Town Hall. The last virtual council meeting was delayed because of problems with our Internet connection.’’The mayor is also confident that some businesses would move to West Bolton if reliable high-speed internet was widely available.

Work to start in May in TBL

IHR Telecom, the company retained by the MRC to deploy the service in the MRC, plans to start work in TBL in May; the construction should be 90% complete by January 26, 2022. To meet the deadlines, all the required permits from Bell and Hydro must be delivered. In West Bolton, IHR expects to complete 90% of the construction work by January 5 of next year. The next step will be the individual connexion to homes and businesses.

Once fully deployed, the new fibre optic system will be open to all providers to compete. According to Robert Desmarais, the cost of the service to consumers will be in line with what is on offer in the market. With more people moving to the country and working from home, “one thing is sure, says Mayor Drolet, the pandemic has given an extra push to the deployment of fibre optic but now, I keep both my fingers and my toes crossed that it will happen as promised.’’

Once the project is completed, some 7,041 homes and 743 farms and businesses will be connected at a cost of $27,644,668 to the MRC, $20.5M of which came from provincial and federal grants.

In order to be connected as soon as fibre is installed on their road, citizens may register now on IHRtelecom.com/inscription or call 450-346-0057 or 1-888-346-0057.