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Lawrencetown goes ahead with own Internet project

Lawrencetown Village Commission chair Jaki Fraser, left, holds one of the small dishes that would receive signal at subscribers’ homes in the new WiFi project that is under way in Lawrencetown. With her are project committee members Sean Ebert, commissioner Madelyn McLain, commissioner Brian Sturney, Commission vice-chair Brian Reid, and Lawrencetown businessperson Lynn Roscoe holding one of the antennae that will be part of the tower array.
Lawrencetown Village Commission chair Jaki Fraser, left, holds one of the small dishes that would receive signal at subscribers’ homes in the new WiFi project that is under way in Lawrencetown. With her are project committee members Sean Ebert, commissioner Madelyn McLain, commissioner Brian Sturney, Commission vice-chair Brian Reid, and Lawrencetown businessperson Lynn Roscoe holding one of the antennae that will be part of the tower array.

LAWRENCETOWN - Businesses and residents in Lawrencetown and surrounding area could be tapping into a 450-megabit-per-second WiFi network within a few months if all goes well.

About two dozen people attended a public meeting Monday evening where the Lawrencetown Village Commission unveiled a plan to erect four 90-foot towers that would provide Internet signal in a radius of 15 kilometres.

The volunteer-driven project has been in the works for nearly two years and has involved hundreds if not thousands of hours of research and testing, said village commissioner Brian Reid who has spearheaded the effort.

In a powerpoint presentation, Reid said that the committee exploring village-wide Internet possibilities, looked at various technologies for performance and reliability and decided on wireless broadband with directional antennae using Ubiquity equipment and Trilon Towers.

Three towers will be located on village property – at the public works office on Prince Street, the village well property on the north side of Highway 201, and on the South Mountain near the village’s water reservoir. The fourth tower will be on Lawrencetown Lane at Reid’s own property where a 12-bundle fiber optic cable runs. The village network would tap into one of those gigabit cables.

Each tower will support six antennae and subscribers will have small dishes to receive the signal.

The committee has already tested the technology on a 30-foot tower on Lawrencetown Lane. Reid said an upload that would have taken 180 days on Bell’s ultra highspeed network took just eight hours during a test.

The tower on the South Mountain will also house a weather station, which has already been purchased, and will be used to monitor a wind turbine that the village hopes to install part way up the mountain in a few years.

Two of the 90-foot towers have already arrived in Lawrencetown.

The group has also purchased a radio wave monitor and has done an assessment throughout the village for baseline numbers.

 

Funding

Initial funding for the project came from a federal gas tax grant the village applied for through Annapolis County. Reid said some of the funding for the third and fourth towers will come from village utilities as they will also be used by the utilities for security and infrastructure management.

Reid said future funding will come from operation of the service itself and there are no plans to subsidize the service after it’s set up.

“It must be priced to be self-sustainable,” he said.

Early estimates put the cost at $40 a month for non-streaming service and as high as $80 for streaming, but Reid said costs to consumers have not been nailed down.

The village will administer the infrastructure until it’s set up. It will then set up a cooperative to operate and administer the service. Under the cooperative model the network will be owned by the subscribers and managed by a board of directors and any staff it requires.

The project is managed by legislation under Industry Canada and the committee has already completed Transport Canada, Nav Canada, National Defense, Annapolis County, and Health Canada compliances. A final requirement is to send letters to homeowners within 270 feet of the towers. Those people will have 30 days to respond with concerns. The village will then have 60 days to respond to those concerns, if any.

About two dozen people attended a public meeting Monday evening where the Lawrencetown Village Commission unveiled a plan to erect four 90-foot towers that would provide Internet signal in a radius of 15 kilometres.

The volunteer-driven project has been in the works for nearly two years and has involved hundreds if not thousands of hours of research and testing, said village commissioner Brian Reid who has spearheaded the effort.

In a powerpoint presentation, Reid said that the committee exploring village-wide Internet possibilities, looked at various technologies for performance and reliability and decided on wireless broadband with directional antennae using Ubiquity equipment and Trilon Towers.

Three towers will be located on village property – at the public works office on Prince Street, the village well property on the north side of Highway 201, and on the South Mountain near the village’s water reservoir. The fourth tower will be on Lawrencetown Lane at Reid’s own property where a 12-bundle fiber optic cable runs. The village network would tap into one of those gigabit cables.

Each tower will support six antennae and subscribers will have small dishes to receive the signal.

The committee has already tested the technology on a 30-foot tower on Lawrencetown Lane. Reid said an upload that would have taken 180 days on Bell’s ultra highspeed network took just eight hours during a test.

The tower on the South Mountain will also house a weather station, which has already been purchased, and will be used to monitor a wind turbine that the village hopes to install part way up the mountain in a few years.

Two of the 90-foot towers have already arrived in Lawrencetown.

The group has also purchased a radio wave monitor and has done an assessment throughout the village for baseline numbers.

 

Funding

Initial funding for the project came from a federal gas tax grant the village applied for through Annapolis County. Reid said some of the funding for the third and fourth towers will come from village utilities as they will also be used by the utilities for security and infrastructure management.

Reid said future funding will come from operation of the service itself and there are no plans to subsidize the service after it’s set up.

“It must be priced to be self-sustainable,” he said.

Early estimates put the cost at $40 a month for non-streaming service and as high as $80 for streaming, but Reid said costs to consumers have not been nailed down.

The village will administer the infrastructure until it’s set up. It will then set up a cooperative to operate and administer the service. Under the cooperative model the network will be owned by the subscribers and managed by a board of directors and any staff it requires.

The project is managed by legislation under Industry Canada and the committee has already completed Transport Canada, Nav Canada, National Defense, Annapolis County, and Health Canada compliances. A final requirement is to send letters to homeowners within 270 feet of the towers. Those people will have 30 days to respond with concerns. The village will then have 60 days to respond to those concerns, if any.

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