Plympton-Wyoming may give two internet companies free space on municipal property to help get internet service to the community.
Internet access has long been a problem in Plympton-Wyoming, particularly along the shores of Lake Huron where hundreds of new homes will be developed in the next few years.
It’s a problem all of rural Lambton deals with. The county has been working regionally to bring fibre optic internet to the community. Friday, SWIFT announced it was calling for contractors to install $11.3 million in infrastructure in the area.
But that won’t be enough to get internet to everyone immediately according to Plympton-Wyoming Chief Administrative Officer Carolyn Tripp.
So, she’s recommending council offer two local internet companies use of municipal properties – at no cost – to set up antennas and equipment to provide line of sight broadband to the community.
A typical broadband service is about 10 MB, allowing kids to do homework and other people in the home to use the internet at the same time. In some parts of Plympton-Wyoming, residents aren’t even able to access one megabyte.
The SWIFT project would bring ultra high speeds of 50 MBs once the homes are connected. But it could take some time.
“All this is not going to happen overnight,” Tripp says “even if they let a contract tomorrow and start servicing Plympton-Wyoming…$10 million is just a drop in the bucket to service everyone in Lambton County and Plympton-Wyoming is part of that.”
Tripp is recommending Merlink Communication and SLICC be offered access to the Wyoming Water Tower, the Cullen Drive Pumping Station, the Camlachie Sewage Treatment plant, the Hillsboro Pumping Station and municipally-owned streetlights on Cullen Drive to erect equipment as quickly as possible. Council discusses the idea Wednesday.
“This (line of sight service by local providers) is an interim measure but…for some people this may not be just the interim fix, it may be the permanent fix.
“In council’s opinion, and in my opinion, internet access is not a luxury, it is an essential services…and we want to help out providers to provide the services our residents need…Even with this and the SWIFT project, there will still be some people left out in the cold for a while.”