Lakeland Energy to expand broadband in Muskoka & Parry Sound

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Muskoka Post Staff

After ramping up to meet heightened broadband demand during the pandemic, Lakeland Energy is pleased to learn that new federal and provincial funding programs will be taking a tailored approach to support network infrastructure that best meets local connectivity needs. With government funding assistance, Lakeland is poised to begin rolling out as many as 11 separate projects to bring broadband to where it is most needed.

As recently as a week ago Norah Fountain, executive director of the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce, requested the province declare broadband essential infrastructure.

Lakeland's 11 projects are part of a plan the company developed to increase Internet coverage, at speeds of 50/10 Mbps and beyond, to another 21,000 homes and businesses, reaching almost 100,000 local residents. The areas are located between Gravenhurst, throughout most of Muskoka, west to Parry Sound, east to Dwight and north to South River.

“With our 500 kilometers of fibre optics, access to more than 100 towers, and local ownership and expertise, Lakeland is uniquely positioned to help deliver more broadband where it is most needed,” advised Chris Litschko, CEO.

The projects would build on Lakeland Energy’s existing network infrastructure, engineering, and customer service expertise, including fibre optics and wireless operating divisions.

“We have successfully worked with Lakeland in rolling out high speed broadband throughout our territory. They have the resources to construct this critical infrastructure elsewhere as well,” said Craig Brown, Chief Executive Director for Wasauksing First Nation.

Lakeland states that COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of tackling broadband in a region challenged with thick forest, lakes, and rugged terrain making good broadband inaccessible for many without government funding support. Lakeland Energy’s plan is part of its effort to fill in remaining underserviced areas in the region over the next 5-7 years in ways that support new options for small business, allow for more robust school and work-from-home options, and enhance access for those who make Parry Sound-Muskoka their homes, or wish to.

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