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  • Trevor Greenway

High-speed in the Hills hits delays

Hundreds of households in La Pêche promised high-speed internet by Sept. 30 will have to wait a bit longer to get connected, as labour shortages, supply-chain issues, and bad weather are pushing some projects six months past the provincial deadline, according to Cogeco.

The entire Outaouais was expected to be hooked up with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) by Sept. 30 through $1.3 billion in joint funding from the federal and Quebec governments. Bell, Cogeco and a number of smaller providers split up high-speed projects throughout the province.

“High-speed internet is not a luxury anymore for young people,” said Liberal Pontiac MP Sophie Chatel. “Especially as they study in high-tech fields, they need high-speed internet. I wish we would have done this 10 years ago.”

Chatel said she’s heard from constituents struggling to keep up with school and work – mostly in remote areas of the Outaouais – as connectivity issues in the Hills have been a problem for years. She said her son, who is studying software engineering in Montreal, “would not be able to do the work he does if he didn’t have high-speed internet.”

“Imagine people who are living in some of our remote regions and they can’t do their homework. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

Duclos resident Annie Legros is one such person. She’s been living in the remote La Pêche hamlet for 22 years and has experienced decades of connection problems — everything from cell signal to satellite and dial-up woes. So when she got a letter from Cogeco in late November stating that