Summerside city council will vote next month on moving forward with a plan to install a $7 million fibre-optic network as part of its green energy plan.
'I can't get my head around why we would be doing something that the private sector is already doing.' — Coun. Cory Thomas
The project would hook up homes to a smart grid, enabling residents to take advantage of electricity from the city's wind farm when it is at its cheapest. Homes would communicate second by second with the energy network, turning appliances on and off as wind conditions change.
But some members of council believe building a fibre network is a huge waste of money.
"I've been on council six years and I think it's one of the most unnecessary expenditures that council will have probably made in my time there," said Coun. Cory Thomas.
"I can't get my head around why we would be doing something that the private sector is already doing. Let's partner."
Thomas believes the city should look to either Aliant — which already has fibre in the city — or Eastlink. Thomas said that would save the city a lot of money.
Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services, said there are a couple of options for partnerships.
"You can use someone else's infrastructure and rent their infrastructure, or you can construct your own infrastructure and have those partners rent from you," said Gaudet.
"It really depends on which way the community sees the value."
The city would have more control over the smart grid project if it laid its own fibre, said Gaudet.
Council will likely vote on moving forward with the project at the next public council meeting in November.
For mobile device users: Should Summerside build its own fibre-optic network?