RM of Portage approves loan to fibre optic developer

The JohnQ board of directors stands with partners in business and industry at the Connecting to Opportunity announcement earlier this year.

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Some lucky citizens in the rural municipality of Portage will be seeing higher internet speeds in their future.

The RM of Portage, a subscribing member with JohnQ Public Inc., will be one of four municipalities that will see fibre optic internet infrastructure installed this fall.

“It’s big for business and it’s big for individuals in this modern internet age,” says Roy Tufford, RM of Portage deputy Reeve. “I think that the current plan is, and we don’t want to make a big deal about this because nothing is really carved in stone, but right now it would appear that JohnQ is going to a launch a separate corporation and partnership with an installer and get some fibre optic installed in four different municipalities starting this fall.”

The RM of Portage has been asked to be part of the first group, which has been dubbed the strategic fibre corridor. Small areas in the RM, that will be identified later, will have fibre optic infrastructure installed this fall while the remaining areas in the RM will be planned for the install within the next two to three years.

Details are still being worked out as to who, when and how but in order to proceed with the project, bridge financing needs to be confirmed at this time. Through this bridge financing, the RM of Portage will be loaning JohnQ $250,000 with a 36-month term subject to 4 per cent interest, which is relative to the current prime rate.

“Some municipalities are putting together multi-million dollar packages to get this and all we’re doing is loaning JohnQ Public a quarter of a million dollars so we think it’s a smart way to go,” says Tufford.

The strategic fibre corridor is a joint venture initiative between RFNOW and JohnQ Public Inc. called JQ Connect that will see the installation of a fibre optic network in the RM of Macdonald, RM of Headingley, Town of Stonewall and the RM of Portage la Prairie beginning this fall.

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