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Internet and Connectivity

Many people who move into rural areas and are surprised by the limits to internet service. The information below is intended to shed some light on the challenges of rural broadband, it’s availability in the Municipality of Hastings Highlands, and what is being done by the Federal and Provincial governments to improve access to high speed internet.

Challenges with Rural Internet

Rural areas typically involve significantly larger landscapes and a much lower population density. This means that expansion of broadband would be very costly for internet service providers (ISPs) since there would be a limited number of households to fund the expansion or generate a sufficient profit.

This problem is exacerbated by the limited number of ISPs providing service in many rural markets across Ontario and the lack of competition means there is little incentive for these companies to improve the service they offer.

The combination of expensive infrastructure, fewer households, and limited competition has resulted in a gap of broadband services for some rural residents. This problem is referred to as “market failure” because the typical market for goods and services (basic supply and demand) has failed to provide what consumers want. 

Latest News and Updates

Provincial Broadband Project (2023-2025)

 On August 4, 2022, the Province of Ontario announced their commitment to bringing high-speed internet access to every corner of the Province by the end of 2025. 

The Ontario government released an interactive high-speed internet map so you can see where high speed internet is available and where work is undergoing or planned. Search by address or municipality then click on the colour lines to learn more.

Map of government funded high speed internet service projects

Bell Canada is a Canadian communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media and business communication services throughout the country.

Bell Canada was awarded by the Province of Ontario with connecting homes and businesses in Hastings Highlands under this Provincial Project.

Azimuth Three Enterprises (AZ3) Telecom & Structural Solutions is a Canadian owned and privately operated company offering structural steel construction and telecommunication services in Canada and around the world. AZ3 will be a subcontractor for Bell Canada in the installation of broadband throughout the Municipality as part of this Provincial project.

Bell Canada, and its subcontractor AZ3 , will be conducting work throughout the Municipality in 2024 and 2025 to implement the Provincial project. 

Bell Canada and the Municipality are in the midst of negotiating a Municipal Access Agreement that outlines the terms and conditions under which Bell Canada is permitted to construct, maintain, and operate its infrastructure in the municipal rights-of-way. The Province of Ontario has legislated that the Municipality is required to still permit Bell Canada, or their subcontractor, to conduct their work to implement this Provincial Project.

Bell Canada and AZ3 have applied to the Municipality for appropriate permits to conduct broadband installation on municipal properties, roads, and road allowances. 

The Municipality is not reviewing any work to be conducted on private property. Bell Canada or AZ3 will be following the applicable legislation on conducting work on private property, such as contacting property owners.

Access to residents’ homes is not required.

The work is planned within the municipal right-of-way, including the shoulder areas. There should be no or minimal impact to traffic on municipal right-of-ways.

Driveways should not be impacted while Bell and AZ3 are conducting work.

If there is a need for work beyond that, residents will be contacted by Bell or AZ3.

Bell  and AZ3 started work in early spring 2024 and will continue through 2025.

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