1. Pakenham Working Group
The Pakenham Working Group has been meeting weekly at the Pakenham Branch Library on Tuesdays, at 7pm. The focus of the group has been to review the survey distribution through Road Reps, fill rates, feedback and trying to accelerate the uptake of responses. All roads in the Pakenham and Blakeney area have been assigned to a Road Rep however not all have reported back to say the work has been done. The survey can be found here.
Please report if you have been successful in reaching out to your neighbours.
Several roadblocks have been discussed:
- Although very time consuming it appears necessary to speak to the householders rather than just leaving the survey documents in people’s mailboxes. Unfortunately, there has been very little uptake from those where the information has just been distributed in mailboxes. We’ve created a ‘calling card’ for Road Reps to attach to flyers or surveys if necessary.
- Many residents in the Pakenham hamlet are quite content with their internet service and some do not feel the need to complete the survey. There are factors that come into play in this situation: technically, their speed is higher because they are in closer proximity to the Bell building; some have a dedicated modem just for internet use. No one in the hamlet has access to fibre – which is the proposed network – they have access to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) to the Bell building which is then connected to a fibre cable to the ski hill towers. MM2020 has told us that that network is aging out and no new technology is available to upgrade it nor can houses enroute to the ski hill be linked to this network. We need to convince people to help their rural neighbours on this one.
- Regardless of a household’s current situation – our actions do not commit anyone to a future contract – we want to paint a picture of the situation here in Pakenham and Blakeney, so we can form a compelling argument for our area as a revenue opportunity worthy of investment. Our survey participation also provides a major point of differentiation between our community and others competing for the same broadband deployment resources. Demonstrating broad community support will be critical in the immediate future for a successful rural broadband rollout. We need to show we’ve done our homework.
- Many households do not have computers and have no need for internet access. This is understandable in any community where aging demographics reflect the use of new technology. However, this shouldn’t preclude support for future usage. As an example of the requirement, homes for sale in the Clayton area are on the market for 6 months longer than those in Almonte much of which could be attributed to the lack of both internet and cell service in Clayton. It matters, especially when both Clayton and the Pakenham survey to date, demonstrates that over 30% of households have a home-based business. We need to ask people to complete the survey, so we know how many DO NOT use internet access.
2. Update from MM2020
The MM2020 group are working with the staff of Mississippi Mills and Lanark County and Storm Internet Services to do a pilot project in Clayton to provide broadband access through a rural road fibre network. These 3 organizations are working on a business and technical plan for a solution that includes laying conduits in the existing roadbeds throughout the area with fibre being pulled at a rate of 10 km a day. The solution provides ownership of the conduits for the municipalities and a share of the revenue without the use of taxpayer’s money. It is expected that when the pilot is approved shortly, the work for Clayton will be completed by the end of 2018.
3. Report on Road Reps
We have 16 residents currently volunteering to canvass homes and ask residents to complete our survey. We need more Road Reps. We need people to talk to 5 to 10 of their neighbours to help get the job done! We can provide you with a list of civic numbers for households that we haven’t heard from just to make it easy on you! Please volunteer by coming to our next meeting or contacting us – see information below.
4. Community survey
The survey was launched on April 24th at and hard copies are available at the General Store, Nicholson’s and the Pakenham Library Branch.
As of today, we have received 301 completed surveys, representing over 1000 unique households. Although Blakeney is smaller, their Road Rep is on a mission with over 75% response.
A few highlights:
- 32% of respondents have a home-based business and 40% telecommute
- Households spend an average of $201 a month for TV, home phone and internet services
- 95% would consider signing a contract with a broadband service provider
- 34% are not using landline services, but using cell or VOIP
- Our target is to have 75% of all homes in our study area completing the survey.
5. Contact Information
Please contact us for more information or to volunteer:
Doris Rankin, 613-624-5580
Mark Joynes, 613-624-5734