Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Telecom services in spotlight

Rainy River Future Development Corp. is looking to review telecommunication services in Rainy River District.
The RRFDC has applied for a Northern Communities Investment Readiness (NCIR) grant, and is looking for a consultant to undertake a review of the telecommunication services and infrastructure locally.

“What we’re doing there is a baseline study of what do we have for telecommunication services in Fort Frances and the area, and what is planned,” noted Geoff Gillon, regional economic developer/manager of client services for the RRFDC.
“Hopefully, we can get the telecos [telecommunications companies] to tell us what they’re planning to do,” he added.
“With that, we are hoping we can work, through an expression of interest, with one of the telecos to apply for some senior government funding in the new year to improve the bandwidth.”
Gillon said he’s heard from local residents many times that due to the prevalence of streaming video like Netflix, many find their Internet slows or they get bumped off altogether.
“The ‘pipeline’ is just too jammed full,” he remarked.
Gillon said the latest he’s heard is the province wants to increase bandwidth here from 1.5 megabytes (MB) to five MB by 2017-18.
Earlier this fall, the RRFDC got a different NCIR grant and hired a contractor to undertake an assessment and evaluation of the personal services business sector (i.e., ancillary health and personal services) within Fort Frances and Rainy River District.
“We’re working closely with the Fort Frances Clinic and Riverside on that, and we’re basically doing gap analysis—what’s here, what’s in the region, and what could be located in Fort Frances,” noted Gillon.
“Once we’re done with that, we will move forward . . . and promote the town for whatever they tell us will make a good fit,” he added.

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