City council will be mulling a $258,000 decision to connect Cornwall to a massive regional broadband network.
Councillors heard from the head of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN), which is in the midst of creating a broadband network that aims to increase bandwidth and connectivity for businesses and residents in this part of the province.
There has already been more than 5,000 km of fibre optic cable laid throughout the region to create a network that will allow more people living in rural communities to connect to high-speed Internet, while also creating infrastructure for increased bandwidth.
Bandwidth demands are increasing by as much as 38 per cent a year said Jim Pine, co-lead of EORN.
"Now is the time for a decision on this," Pine told councillors. "The demand for bandwidth is exploding."
Pine sat alongside SD and G Warden Ian MacLeod during a presentation to council. The United Counties have already pledged $1 million towards the EORN project.
Pine said should the city decide to pledge towards the project, it will open possibilities to connect to its massive new network - including prospective tennants in Cornwall's industrial park. Pine argued new businesses are looking for increased access to more bandwidth.
"We think ($258,000) is a modest investment," he said, adding the provincial and federal governments have already spent $55 million on the project, while the private sector has ponied up another $50 million. "We want you to paricipate. We want you to be part of this larger community."
Councillors have tasked administration with more cloesly examining the EORN request, and many around the table suggested the money will ultimately be spent.
"It's important that we partner with the counties," said Coun. Andre Rivette.
MacLeod urged city councillors to put up the money too.
"We can't just be looking at borders," he said. "We have to look at what's good for the whole area.
"The city is good for the counties, as much as the counties is good for the city."