Though high-speed internet is available in the Brome-Missisquoi MRC, it is far from prevalent. We do have cable, transmission towers, telephone lines, some fibre optics, satellite reception … but also our beautiful mountainous topography sometimes plays havoc with direct visual linkage between towers and home or work modems.

To correct this, Ottawa and Quebec recently announced a fibre-optic injection of $20.6M into our MRC through the federal Connect to Innovate program ($8.12M) and the Québec branché one ($12.44M). There is also a $7M contribution by Regional high-speed internet, a non-profit set up by Internet Haut Richelieu to support fibre optic hook-up to residences. The goal is to install fibre-optic cabling throughout the region.

In all, $100 million will be invested in ill-equipped MRCs.

In Quebec, the Brome-Missisquoi MRC is so weakly outfitted for the internet that it warranted a financing priority to allow our out-lying region to catch up to city-level services within a few years.

The project is to install a fibre-optic spine encircling the MRC, a bit like an expressway to which a dozen loops, or secondary roads, will be grafted, and from which service providers would hook optic fibres into houses and businesses. This could allow for traffic speeds up to 100 Mb/s.

This permanent and lasting infrastructure would accommodate future fibre-optic technologies as they evolve.

This project will be completed gradually, first from the Richelieu river area, its starting base, then quickly into the challenging eastern part of the MRC, to reach fruition in three years, possibly five, depending on negotiations with Hydro and Bell to attach optic fibres to their poles and agree on access payments.

All in all, it would be like the difference between snail mail and e-mail.

For the consumer, the access cost will depend on the array of chosen services, as it is now. For the MRC, the cost is nothing.