The government on Tuesday morning confirmed the $ 150M envelope to finalize its commitment to connect all Quebec homes to high speed internet by September 2022. Additional homes between 15,000 and 30,000 will be connected.
This new investment, the 3rd phase of the Éclair project, will make it possible to connect orphanages scattered in remote areas of the province. And everything needs to be done quickly, said Gilles Belanger, a parliamentary aide to the prime minister who is responsible for the project in government.
“There are 312 days left to connect all the houses in Quebec. It’s not so much. Our government is committed to the cause, “said Mr. Belanger, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau.
“Laclair III is a very fast tool. Generally, to award contracts, we talk about several months, with part Éclair III, we talk about a few days, ”the manager explained, confirming that almost thirty projects are already on the table.
Photo by Pierre-Paul Biran
Left to right: Luke Provence, Member of Parliament for Beauvoir-Nord; Gilles Bélanger, Parliamentary Assistant to the Prime Minister for the High Speed Internet Component; Stéphanie Lachance, Member of Parliament for Bellechasse; Andre Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture and in charge of the Chaudhry-Appalachian region; Jacques Demers is president of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities.
Having launched the first two phases of the project earlier in 2021, the Quebec government has set a new milestone for reaching out to isolated or families not listed on the latest coverage maps of the territory.
“What we are talking about today may not be part of the map given to Bell or Videotron for unallocated territories, the ends of rows or for a given territory. These are really extraordinary cases and difficult to connect, ”explained Gilles Belanger.
This new investment will bring joy and reassurance to the President of the Federation Quebecois des Municipalities (FQM) who does not want to leave any home.
“The next step, the importance of the municipal world, is to look at the maps and see clearly the houses we have left on the ground. This is a very important step that we must not forget anyone,” Jacques Demers emphasized.
The latter also emphasized the impact of such technological advances on its many members.
“We can not forget the promise of the government. 5,000 Civil Servant jobs in the area. If we want to have them, we have to prepare them, ”he said, citing the FQM president as an example. “People want to live in the areas they want, they have to be given tools.”
“Ready for any situation”
The government estimates that nearly 200,000 households still do not have high-speed Internet access. As many works are already in progress, Gilles Belanger expects this number to be “just over 100,000” during the next update of the situation, scheduled for early 2022.
The next few months are crucial for the government to reach the target next September.
Especially since Bell pointed out in a press release a few weeks ago that there are doubts about the possibility of achieving this goal. The supplier, which must grant access rights to its polls to several Internet providers, claims to have received only half of the requests required to continue working.
A worry-free observation for Gilles Belonger at the moment.
“Perhaps the figure is a little over-estimated. We end up with the speed of the permit application to reach the targets,” Quebec adds, referring to the person responsible for the file, “ready for any event”.
“In contracts, we follow every month. If a supplier lags behind in his schedule, we have the option of defaulting him and hiring another supplier. […] And I will not wait until September 30, 2022 to tell the supplier that he is late, ”he said.
The total operation cost for Quebec is currently $ 1.3 billion.