Sarnia is endorsing a plan by Bluewater Power to create its own high-speed Internet business.
President and CEO Janice McMichael-Dennis said the new spin-off company will operate independently of the utility and begin be creating a fibre optic “backbone” in Sarnia linking large institutions in 2016.
The network will be expanded to more businesses and residential and rural customers over time, she said.
The new venture is expected to be in the black in two years and provide an annual return on investment to municipal shareholder of 8% to 15%, she said.
Sarnia’s thumbs-up follows new provincial legislation that allows utilities to expand into areas beyond the distribution of power.
Because the Internet venture will operate separately it won’t impact electricity rates, McMichael-Dennis said.
Sarnia holds an 86% stake in Bluewater Power and Point Edward 3.4%.