Cogeco looking for federal grant to get internet to Brigden


There may be a solution to some of the Internet availability problems in Brigden but the fix won’t come before Bell Canada cuts off rural service March 31.

St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold says the municipality has been pressing Cogeco Cable to provide services to the municipality for some time. It’s now submitted a project to the federal government which would provide high-speed service to Brigden, Sombra and Port Lambton. “Those are the rural areas with the biggest problem,” says Arnold.

Arnold says the project will cost about $10 million and the company is looking for funding from the federal government to make it financially viable.

The applications for funding for the project closed in mid January but Arnold says even with immediate approval, there would be no way for Cogeco to provide service to those areas before Bell Canada cuts off service to rural Lambton County.

Last fall, the federal government gave Bell permission to use the bandwidth now used for the rural service in Lambton County for cell phone services. That’s left a lot of homeowners searching for an Internet provider. The service will be cut off March 31.

Bell has offered a solution of using a mobile hub in the home but many residents and politicians say the service is not consistent and is costly.

The county is also investigating a long-term solution – a project across southwestern called SWIFT which will cost about $234 million – but it wouldn’t begin bringing service to St. Clair Township until 2040.

Arnold is hopeful the Cogeco application will be approved saying “we need to get that service for our people.”