Provincial funding announced
for HuronTel and Saugeen First Nation

By Liz Dadson

Huron-Kinloss news/Video

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Glenn Grubb (R), general manager of Huron Telecommunications in Ripley, and Blair Scott (L), president of the board of directors, welcome Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell, agriculture minister, who made a funding announcement to support the provision of Internet in rural communities

Standing with the equipment used to install new infrastructure for Internet access, are Glenn Grubb (L), general manager of Huron Telecommunications in Ripley, Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell (agriculture minister), HuronTel board president Blair Scott, Huron-Kinloss councillors Don Murray and Jeff Scott, and board directors John Elliott and Sandy Pollock

The Province of Ontario is investing more than $1-million to provide high-speed Internet service to rural residents in the Ripley area, and Saugeen First Nation.

Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, was on hand yesterday (June 9), to make the announcement at the Huron Telecommunications Co-op Ltd. office in Ripley.

Through the "Building Broadband in Rural and Northern Ontario" program, HuronTel will receive $743,108 to provide access to high-speed Internet to the Ripley area, including parts of Kincardine Township, Huron-Kinloss and Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh.

The company has already embarked on a $2.5-million infrastructure upgrade which has also received $1.023-million in funding from Industry Canada.

Saugeen First Nation will receive $304,500 for its $1.15-million project which has received $500,000 from Industry Canada and $170,000 from Indian and Native Affairs Canada.

Mitchell said both projects will provide high-speed Internet to 2,675 residents, helping to connect families and providing local businesses with new opportunities for economic growth.

She said the province is also working to cut down on the red tape that is a struggle for many small businesses.

For example, she said, local abattoirs will have to file for a licence only once every three years which reduces the amount of paperwork.

"We're making audit ratings easier to understand," she said, "and clearing up unnecessary duplication for our farmers. We are responding to the needs of our residents while ensuring our food is safe."

Mitchell commended HuronTel for the strength in communications that it provides in the rural areas.

"We appreciate anything you can do to cut down on the red tape," said Glenn Grubb, general manager of HuronTel. 

"We are excited about this project and what it means for our co-op members," he said. "The company has struggled to provide Internet access over our aging facilities for some time. This initiative will provide the infrastructure that is needed to put our rural residents and businesses at the forefront of the broadband economy."

Installing fibre-optics to the home and to the curb began last year and is optimistically expected to be complete by December of this year, said Grubb. The company will then spend another $1.3-million to provide high-speed Internet to the hard-to-reach places in the community.

He commended the staff for making the company and this project, in particular, a success.

Grubb also noted that HuronTel is celebrating its 100th birthday, and is hosting a celebration at the Goderich office June 18, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and at the Ripley office June 25, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a barbecue, refreshments, cake, and entertainment.

Looking to the future, Grubb said that HuronTel wants to be an Internet service provider in the Town of Goderich.

"That's why we over-built that area," he said. "Currently, it is serviced by Bell.'

Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell, agriculture minister

Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell makes the provincial funding announcement

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Thursday, June 09, 2011