By: Jennifer Bowman
Courtesy of Rural Hastings Advocate 
Broadband Internet is right on schedule to be accessible to rural residents and businesses throughout southern Hastings County by the fall, said the county’s clerk.
“It’s a big project, but it’s on time and on budget,” Jim Pine, Hastings County chief administrative officer told county council on Wednesday.
The budget is $170 million. Hastings County needs to pay $1million for their share of the project. He said taxpayers are paying six cents for the dollar, compared to the average project that costs taxpayers 33 cents on the dollar.
One of the goals is to make access to faster Internet affordable for people.
“That’s one of our main goals, is to make sure that people in the rural areas are paying an equivalent, or the same amount as people in the urban communities so that there’s not a price disadvantage,” said Pine.
There is also federal and provincial funding.
“It’s $170-million effort to build it, but at the end of the day it’ll have a value of about $300 million,” he said.
The Eastern Ontario Regional Broadband Network started in Ontario in 2009. Once completed, 80,000 rural residents and businesses over 7,000 square kilometres in southern Hastings County will have high speed internet.
High speed means they will be able to use the Internet ten times faster than most standard internet connections are now.
The project has already been completed in the Ottawa area, and has been in progress in progress in southern Hastings County for several months.
When the project is finished, at the end of 2013, there will be 50,000 square kilometres lit up with high speed Internet.