Huron County has voted to become involved in the SouthWestern Integrated Fibre Technology Project (SWIFT).
Council passed the move by a vote of 8-6, agreeing to invest roughly $678 thousand, over a five year period.
That includes over $357 thousand from the County's General Reserve for Contingency.
The news comes to the dismay of telecom officials who spoke to councillors ahead of the vote.
Telecom spokesperson Angela Lawrence told elected officials local cooperatives would not take part in work offered through SWIFT, meaning no local profitting from the provide-wide undertaking.
Members of HuronTel, Hay Communications, and Tuckersmith Communications declined to comment on council's vote, except to say they were "disappointed."
Although councillor Roger Watt voted in favour of the SWIFT funding, he says a lot of questions remain to be answered.
Among those questions are whether the province will approve Communities in Transition (CIT) funding for rural telecommunications, and whether SWIFT will propose projects to better entice local telecoms to become involved.
Despite the vote, councillor Jim Fergusson says Huron County will continue to support local telecoms in the future.
He hopes to hear more specifics on the local aspects of the SWIFT project in the next six months.
The Council of the County of Huron approves/denies the authorization for signing and submitting SWIFT’s “Municipal Contribution Agreement” as it relates to Huron County;
AND FURTHER THAT:
Council approves/denies the request to release payment in the amount of $357,136 from the County’s General Reserve for Contingency.
For: Roger watt, Paul Gowing, Tyler Hessel, Dave Jewitt, Dave Frayne, Jim Ginn, Bernie MacLellan, Jim Donnelly.
Against: Maureen Cole, Art Versteeg, Ben Van Diepenbeek, Joe Steffler, Jim Fergusson, Kevin Morrison