Amherstburg Lagging Behind Basic Internet Standards

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Internet in Amherstburg is lagging behind CRTC standards for basic telecom service.

That's according to a survey conducted by Amherstburg town council.

A report brought to council says many areas of town simply don't have access to connections capable of the 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds set out as "basic service" by the CRTC in 2016.

Of the 500 residents surveyed 91% failed to even meet the much slower goal of 5 Mbps down and 1 Mbps the CRTC aspired to in 2011, and the majority of those surveyed see it as a problem, according to the report.

The report concluded failure to deliver appropriate internet services could slow residential and commercial investment in the region.

Town CAO John Miceli says the survey shows improving the town's internet capabilities is something residents of Amherstburg are behind and the process of improving internet speeds and accessibility is already underway.

"We've applied for some federal grants to try and get that improved. We know that other providers are looking at coming into town so our hope is at the end of the day that the residents get their wish, and that's faster internet in the town of Amherstburg," he says.

Miceli says the issue has been identified under part of the town's strategic plan, and the survey reinforces the need for improvement.

"It's something that's been identified in our community strategic plan as not a want, but a need," says Miceli. "It has been recognized at the federal level that internet speed has to be provided and we want to be able to comply with that."

Miceli says, should the town receive up to $2-million in grants, the goal is to add a fibre-optic backbone as a long term solution.

"We want to have a fiber-optic backbone throughout the entire town," he says. "We've done our preliminary analysis, if we get the grant we'll be bringing a report back to council to identify for council what that solution will mean."

Miceli couldn't reveal a specific number on cost, but told AM800 News that the town has a viable financial plan to move forward with a fiber-optic backbone should they receive additional funding through federal grants.