One of the biggest concerns many councillors hear from residents of the region consisting of Huron Shore and Manitoulin Island is the lack of high-speed Internet in their districts. Hence, in 2019 it started investigating how it could improve internet service in the region. Intending to bring real Internet to the area, the MoHS Council committed to pursuing a community-owned broadband network, called Huron Shore & Manitoulin Island Community Owned Fibre Infrastructure (H&M COFI).
H&M COFI will build a fibre backbone infrastructure so that high-speed Internet can be made available to all residents and businesses in every part between Nairn Centre and Garden River First Nation, including the City of Elliot Lake and St Joseph and Manitoulin Islands. Once the network is constructed and operating, consumers, home, and business owners will buy Internet services from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) using the H&M COFI network. ISPs will pay a wholesale or floor rate to H&M COFI for the Internet access they sell. The model allows for a large number of ISPs to offer various services to you, the customer. The intent is that profits generated in the operation of H&M COFI, and dependent on the financing model used, could be returned to the community.
The project will provide a fibre infrastructure network, consisting of the backbone, distribution network, and access drops, offering excellent Internet speeds across the region. The access drops to the home, or the last kilometre, will be primarily Fibre to the Home (FTTH), as well as very limited Fixed Wireless Access (FWA); each area could be different. The intent is to bring FTTH to as many homes and businesses as possible. Many factors play a role in determining what type of network will be in your community.
The completed network will meet or exceed the CRTC guidelines of wired speeds: 50 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up (50/10) and wireless/satellite speeds: 25 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up (25/5) (Mbps = Megabits per second). Our goal is to enable symmetrical 1GBps speeds (1G/1G) and higher for fibre connections, available in suburban and urban Canada, and exceed the wireless requirements for anyone requiring FWA.
To ensure that all residents and businesses are covered by the network, H&M COFI needs to know where your property is located. By clicking on Sign Up Now on our Home Page, you can input your address and take a short survey. The information gained will be used to construct the network and assist in interactions with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
If you need help inputting your address, follow these instructions: How to Input an Address Not in the Google Database Guide
H&M COFI will not be billing customers for access to high-speed internet. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have signed onto the new network will determine the packages and monthly pricing and interact with customers. We expect costs will be comparable to rates in other rural areas of Ontario.
That is dependent upon which providers choose to use our network and supply service. As the customer, we expect you to have many ISP choices, which allows you to select one that meets your budget and Internet requirements.
There will be opportunities on our network for cellular carriers to use our infrastructure. Like internet service providers, this will depend on the company providing the service .
Since H&M COFI started this project, we have heard from many people who want improved internet service, and they support the project and the community-owned concept. We believe more people will purchase homes and set up businesses in your beautiful and popular region if the best internet service is available. We are also confident that better Internet and cellular service will improve our regional economy in ways beyond the initial impact on homes and businesses.
Please check back on our website for the latest news on the project. You can also subscribe to receive more information on our home page which will allow for direct emails to be sent to you when an update is available.