Planned telecommunications tower will bring Internet to rural residents
Halton Hills Fibre Optics is waiting for site-plan approval from the Town of Halton Hills Planning Department for a 220 ft. telecommunications tower proposed to go up on Fifth Line near Hwy. 7. The tower is to provide wireless Internet connection, called Hummingbird Wireless, for the company's customers in Acton, south Erin, the rural areas north of Halton Hills, Rockwood and Ospringe. "Our goal is to bring high-speed Internet to the fringe areas," said Dan Guatto, president of Halton Hills Fibre Optics, which currently has 196 customers. He estimates the new tower, to be constructed on an approximately 1/3 acre property owned by Halton Hills Hydro, will be able to serve the more than 100 customers who have been waiting for the service, but were unable to have it because it wasn't available in their area. Guatto explained Hummingbird is two-way fast, which he said means it is fast for both downloading and uploading. "We don't want to get into the game of using larger bandwidth numbers than we actually provide, which is done. We're going to market it on the (surfing) experience," said Guatto. Although lights are not required by Transport Canada on the tower, the company is considering them as
an option. The company is working closely with Rogers Communications, Halton Regional Police and Halton Hills Fire Department who are all interested in utilizing the tower as well. Guatto said it is hoped that approval will come soon so the company can install the tower's concrete base before the end of the year. They hope to have the tower up and functional within the first quarter of 2006. Curtis Marshall of the Town of Halton Hills Planning Department said Halton Hills Fibre Optics, a subsidiary of Halton Hills Hydro, has not yet received final site plan approval for the tower, but he believes conditional approval will be issued very soon. He said no agencies have raised concerns about the tower although the Town has received one objection from a member of the public, and Planning Department staff is attempting to contact that person to discuss their concerns. At a public meeting held recently a man said he was concerned about a company supported by tax dollars getting into the communication business. He questioned if the company had the expertise. Guatto said the company cannot legally use hydro rates or tax rates and said the company is successful already.