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Hantsport offers wireless access, video surveillance


IT specialist Matt Povah shows off some of the hardware that allows Hantsport to offer both free wireless access and video surveillance. Christy Marsters photo

Hantsport residents have been enjoying free wireless Internet service for the past few months. The popular service is growing and the network will soon include video cameras in specific public locations.

Matt Povah, information technology specialist for Hantsport, Windsor and West Hants, said three access mesh points providing this free service were lit July 1 at Churchill House, Hantsport Town Hall and Minas Basin Pulp and Power Development Centre. A fourth device, acting as a giant wireless network router, will soon expand service in the mill area.

The Town of Hantsport is the first in the area to offer free wireless. “It is a way of the future,” Povah said. “We want more people to come here and live here and this gives us an opportunity. You can’t grow if you don’t do anything.”

There is a fair bit of activity on the network already, Povah noted, averaging 80-120 connections to this service each day. “People have been using it to check email at home, to do a little work in the park and we have also hear of some businesses and visitors using it, too. Quite good for a small town.”

With the Valley Community Fiber Network (VCFN) near completion, he said, there will be all kinds of capability possible with this telecommunications network in the future. “Plus, it is a great way to give something back to the people of this community.”

Costs to establish this project are a little under $40,000 to this point, but the community’s contribution could be considerably less, depending on support funds offered.

Video camera installed

Additions to the network, such as cameras can be hooked up at minimal costs to the Town. One camera has been installed, Povah said. “We’ve had some delays in deploying other cameras, but I do hope to have them running as soon as possible.”

Installing the video recorders gives the Town an ability to help people feel safe and to catch vandals in the act, he added. “We have some hooliganism going on here … and there’s an expense associated with that. It’s not appreciated. “People seem to be on best behavior when they know they’re being filmed. We hope it’s a deterrent.” Hantsport is not a crime hot spot, but this improves the quality of life, Povah said.

Other future uses for the infrastructure could include video conferencing, high–speed networking, emergency response command post capabilities and wireless water utility access. With the new network, these are all feasible opportunities for Hantsport. “There are many different things in the future that could be deployed,” Povah added. “I think the project was a very reasonable expense that’s very adaptable. We got a really good deal here.”

The Town of Hantsport would like to thank Scotia Investments, Fundy Gypsum, The HMCC Board, The Windsor Fire Department and others who helped bring this project together.

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