Report targets strategies for better internet in the County
The woeful state of internet is no surprise to County residents outside of the core urban areas, but the multi-millions it will take to bring quality and stability means it will likely take years to hit any kind of status quo.
There’s a $70 million price tag for consumer perfection – where the County becomes its own internet service provider and every home and business has the best, fibre technology. Knowing that is not possible, Eric Rothschild of Rothschild & Co. and Rob McCann, of Clearcable Networks, presented council with several strategies to get the best possible service, to the most people.
Last year, the municipality stated reliable internet is a critical infrastructure noticeably lacking for its rural residents. It sought this report to understand overall technology, design, requirements and costs to make decisions on a strategy to move forward.
Council received the report for information purposes only.
Recommendations in the high-level, detailed technical plan and business model range from ‘wait and see’ results of coming provincial, federal, and other funding; to collaboration with current internet service providers (ISP) and adopting policies that promote cheaper installation techniques.
Earlier Thursday, Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis announced $700,000 in funding to help bring high-speed internet to more than 1,100 rural homes in Rednersville/Albury areas and in Bancroft. Canada’s Connectivity Strategy aims to provide all Canadians with access to internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download / 10 Mbps upload. Federal targets include connecting 98 per cent of Canadians to high-speed internet by 2026 and a national target of 100 per cent by 2030.
The wait and see, said Rothschild and McCann, is key.
“Once the County knows which projects have been funded, it will be better positioned to predict what coverage gaps will remain to be filled.”
CRTC National Broadband Data
Their findings show more than 7,000 homes and 990 kms of County roadways remain unserved, or underserved. Density is sparse – about seven homes per kilometre on average to 12 homes per kilometre in model areas.
“The vast majority of County residents pay high prices for slow, unreliable broadband service.”
The technology it recommends is fibre to the home which requires the greatest investment, but also the greatest long-term scalability as it is easily upgradable. The $70 million cost is mostly for capital work with a payback period estimated at 10+ years, assuming 100 per cent subscribe (unlikely) and no subsidies received, also unlikely.
Even if the County had that money to spend, given the investments ISPs have already made in infrastructure, and plans to further expand coverage, the two suggest potential opposition to the municipality being in competition with the private sector, “but we see positive collaboration as the County moves to support existing efforts.”
Though much lower capital costs, ($6 million to $13.9 million) they rejected LTE, 4G and 5G wireless, digital subscriber line (DSL), low earth orbit satellite, mobile, WiFi and satellite noting negatives such as slow speeds, considerable tower infrastructure and long-term performance problems. Wireless maximum speed is 50/10Mbps and no upgrades are possible.
They got to the costs by modelling on three known areas of gap coverage – at Lake Consecon, Milford and Waupoos.
Costs ranged from $6,564 per house in Lake Consecon for 256 homes on 22km of road using a formula of 70 per cent underground and 30 per cent on poles – about $71.76 per metre.
Milford’s example of 183 homes on 12km of road, 30 per cent underground and 70 aerial came to $4,180.43 per house, or $56.48 per metre.
Waupoos, with 280 homes in a five km radius from a proposed tower came up to $1,490.94 per house.
The most severely underserved rural settlement areas include:
• Black River which is currently receiving an average download speed of 4.0 Mbps and is representative of approximately 115 households and businesses.
• Waupoos area which is currently receiving an average download speed of 5.6 Mbps and is representative of approximately 350 households and businesses.
• Village of Milford which is currently receiving an average download speed of 3.2 Mbps and is representative of approximately 200 households and businesses.
• West of Rednersville: Which is currently receiving an average download speed of 4.6 Mbps and is representative of approximately 220 households and businesses.
• East of Consecon which is currently receiving an average download speed of 4.5 Mbps and is representative of approximately 210 households and businesses.
• West Lake area which is currently receiving an average download speed of 4.0Mbps and is representative of approximately 320 households and businesses.
Ways to reduce costs include flexible policies that allow for lower cost install methods that existing ISPs would support; aerial construction (instead of underground) which could save up to 33 per cent depending on the condition of existing poles; building only wireless options and providing a maximum 50/10Mbps though it sacrifices performance and future capacity (not recommended); apply for subsidies and pursing alternative approaches such as encouraging ISPs, public private partnerships and the wait and see for gaps that remain after funding applications have been processed.
View the extensive, detailed report within council’s May 27 Committee of the Whole meeting agenda.
About Prince Edward County:
Prince Edward County is a municipality in southern Ontario, Canada. Its coastline on Lake Ontario’s northeastern shore is known for Sandbanks Provincial Park, which has sandy beaches and towering limestone cliffs. The Regent Theatre, a restored Edwardian opera house, sits at the heart of the town of Picton on the Bay of Quinte. Nearby Macaulay Heritage Park highlights local history through its 19th-century buildings.
About Rothschild & Co:
Rothschild & Co is a global and family-controlled group. We provide M&A, strategy and financing advice, as well as investment and wealth management solutions to large institutions, families, individuals and governments, worldwide.
Having been at the centre of the world’s financial markets for over 200 years, we can rely on an unrivalled global network of trusted professionals and decision makers. This means that we have in-depth market intelligence, bringing us closer to current issues than any other global financial institution.
Our 3,600 talented employees in over 50 offices around the world have a strong track record of outstanding execution in three business lines: Global Advisory, Wealth and Asset Management, and Merchant Banking.
It is this combination of scale, local knowledge and intellectual capital that allows us to provide a distinct perspective and effective long-term solutions for our partners.
Clearcable™ is a specialized telecommunications technical consulting firm focused on the needs of service providers by developing new business revenue streams, maintaining existing infrastructure and proposing new advancements in telecommunications sectors globally. Clearcable provides assessment and strategy consulting, complex network architecture and high-level design, logical and physical design, implementation and network deployments, cabling, project management, training and ongoing network management and support services.