In less than a month, in January 2020, Mirko Bibic took control of Bell and saw his chalet on Lake Pemichangan, in the Outaouais, become one of the rare residences in the sector to be connected to fiber optics, and therefore to the Internet. high speed.
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Bell assures that its president and chief executive officer “was not involved in the planning or the realization” of the project, but the situation frustrates many people in the area.
“It’s a strange adon,” says Yvon Blanchard, director general of the municipality of Lac-Sainte-Marie, where Mr. Bibic’s chalet is located.
The municipality has about 1000 residences, of which only thirty are located on the shores of Lake Pemichangan, about fifteen kilometers from the village. These chalets belong to “people who are better off than the rest,” he says.
And to get to this lake, Bell passed an optical fiber line through the village of Lac-Sainte-Marie, without connecting anyone to the network, not even the town hall.
“Has M. Bibic been favored? I don’t know, but it looks good. It frustrates the world, ”says the CEO of the municipality where“ hardly anyone has high speed ”.
Lac-Sainte-Marie is part of the MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, which has 17 municipalities. One glance at Industry Canada’s national broadband internet map is enough to understand: this is a high speed desert.
“We have been fighting for years to have a minimum of service and we find a way to serve this remote lake before many other more accessible places. It is unfair; Internet should be accessible to everyone, rich or poor ”, indicates the prefect of the MRC, Chantal Lamarche.
Why Lake Pemichangan and not the village of Lac-Sainte-Marie? Quite simply, we explain at Bell, because the municipality is not part of the plugged-in Quebec project currently underway in the Outaouais.
Two-thirds subsidized by Quebec and Ottawa, the $ 6.7M project aims to connect 1,800 homes in the region and is 33% complete.
“About 100 of the 600 connections made so far are in Lac-Pemichangan,” Bell spokesperson Caroline Audet explains.
She adds that even though Lac-Sainte-Marie is not part of the project, “we also plan to connect 600 households and businesses at this location.”
“They skipped the entire village of Lac-Sainte-Marie, it’s ridiculous. There are no more than 20 cabins at Pemichangan Lake. They laugh at us saying 100. ”exclaims Raphaël Bédard.
The entrepreneur owns the Fromagerie La Cabriole in the neighboring village of Montcerf. He also has his share of problems with Bell.
The fiber optic line runs over his property, 100 yards from his house, but Bell asks him $ 3,000 a month to hook it up to high speed.
–With the collaboration of Martin Jolicoeur
► The newspaper also learned, during his report on the problems of internet access in Quebec this weekend, that the president of Quebecor, which therefore owns Videotron, Pierre Karl Péladeau, still did not have access to high speed internet at his country house in the Eastman region of the Eastern Townships.