• Stuart Benson

$100,000 to bring La Pêche’s internet out of the ‘dark’

The municipality of La Pêche has an unused Internet ‘highway’ under its feet, which is about to be ‘reopened’ in order to help speed up the municipality’s goal of connecting every resident with high-speed Internet.


On Nov. 2, La Pêche council took one more step toward their goal by authorizing the mayor and director-general to negotiate with Internet service providers to develop draft lease agreements to use fibre networks – the unused Internet highway’ or dark fibre as it is called – as part of future development projects.


The municipality of La Pêche logo.

Council also allocated a $100,000 surplus from unused investments in Rapide-O-Web, a non-profit organization created by La Pêche and Val-des-Monts, to invest in Internet development projects that are ineligible for provincial or federal funding, according to Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux.


“At this point, Rapide-O-Web is focused on maintaining its current network and not involved in planning development,” Lamoureux explained. “So we're focusing on a more municipal level.

These steps by council come a little over a year after the municipality acquired two sets of fibre-networks from the Commission Scolaire Des Portages-De-L'Outaouais in October 2019. One of the sets is from Wakefield to Farrellton and another from Wakefield to Lac-Des-Loups — both had gone ‘dark’ after the closure of the schools in Farrellton and Lac-des-Loups.


The purpose of the acquisition was to speed up the extension of Internet coverage in La Pêche through Internet service providers by renting access to this existing network and available fibres while generating revenue for the municipality.


“Strategically speaking, this new resolution [to authorize negotiations with Internet service providers to use dark fibre] is good because any new Internet project would already have its 'backbone' already existing,” Lamoureux explained. “This saves a step and a huge amount of costs.”


Lamoureux also credited Pablo Sanchez, the creator of the Facebook group La Pêche high-speed Internet, as being “instrumental” in acquiring these fibre optics and identifying underserved areas.


“[Thanks to] Sanchez, we have a [nearly] complete mapping of La Pêche Internet coverage, documenting in real-time any extension projects taking place,” Lamoureux explained. “You can type in your address and it will show you what is available to you, and once the projects from Régions Branchées are completed, we'll be able to understand the gaps,” said Lamoureux.


The Régions Branchées, announced in 2019, was a provincial call for projects aimed at supporting the establishment of telecommunications infrastructures in partially served areas.


Sixty-six Internet projects were chosen for project funding to provide service and prices comparable to urban areas to over 60,000 homes in the province.


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