Island cellular-broadband service to further expand with four additional West End towers

MANITOULIN––West End Manitoulin could see improved cellular service with the addition of four new cellular-broadband towers as part of a project from the NetCentral Community Communication Network (a not-for-profit community-based telecommunication network).

“We received a joint proposal from Bell and Rogers as a result of the RFP (request for proposal) process for the West End Manitoulin project and are currently reviewing it,” explained Morry Brown, general manager of NetCentral. “We are also in the process of preparing funding applications for FedNor (Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario) and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and we have sent letters to stakeholders briefing them on our plans, looking for letters of support to submit with our funding applications.”

If the project moves forward, Western Manitoulin would see four new towers with proposed locations in Morrisville, Evansville, Meldrum Bay and Providence Bay.

“We are hoping to submit our funding application within the next few weeks,” added Ms. Brown.

NetCentral is currently completing another cellular project on Manitoulin, with six of the seven cellular towers associated with that project now operational.

Cellular towers in Manitowaning, Mindemoya, South Baymouth, Little Current, Sheguiandah and Wood Lake (Highway 6, south of Espanola) from a Netcentral/Rogers joint project were operational before Christmas, with the seventh tower located between Kagawong and M’Chigeeng to be completed early this summer.

“The current project should be completed by June/July,” Mr. Brown told The Expositor. “Rogers has just finished securing the land for the remaining tower between Kagawong and M’Chigeeng and will have the tower operational by the summer.”

The towers will deliver high-speed packet access (HSPA) technology for both cellular telephone and mobile broadband service to Rogers and through the proposed new West End project, to Bell subscribers.

HSPA technology delivers both cellular and mobile broadband services, which will significantly improve cellular service on Highway 6 and surrounding communities. HSPA provides residents and businesses with access to mobile broadband for handheld devices such as the iPhone and Blackberry.

Robin Burridge