Two projects for broadband in works here

Two local groups will find out by next Friday (Dec. 20) if they were successful in landing funding from Industry Canada to develop a business case for bringing a broadband infrastructure to Rainy River District.
The Town of Fort Frances has most of the feasibility numbers already, said Geoff Gillon of the Rainy River Future Development Corp. But the rest of the district needs to be assessed as to the cost of bringing broadband to rural areas.
One of the applications was submitted by the RRFDC for the west end of the district (Emo to Rainy River), while Ron Allen of Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing-Ne-Yaa-Zhing Non-Profit Advisory Services confirmed its has applied for funding on behalf of seven area First Nations.
Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing-Ne-Yaa-Zhing would not discuss details of its application.
Industry Canada’s Broadband for Rural and Northern Development project is set up to provide $30,000 to successful applicants to put towards an assessment.
The federal government is looking for hard numbers as to the cost of bringing broadband DSL service to rural areas, noted Gillon.
“The First Nations did their own thing,” he said. “The west end chose to do their own. Time was too short to do a dual thing.
“I’m surprised we got what we got in and they got in what they did,” he added.
But Gillon believes it’s still possible the government might merge the two applications into a co-ordinated effort here.
Industry Canada will announce Dec. 20 which proposals have been selected. Those that fail then will have until March 1, 2003 to submit for the second round.
Business plans for the selected proposals will be due at the end of March and the successful ones will be announced in June.
“We hope something will happen in the next year,” said Gillon.