Bell Canada and Nortel Networks Corp. are working together to bring broadband connectivity to Chapleau, a small community located about 320 northeast of Sault St. Marie ON. Announced earlier this month, the two companies in conjunction with the Town of Chapleau will study the benefits of broadband access over the next 18 months. It is expected that the network will go live later this year in October.  Chapleau Mayor Earle Freeborn noted during a press conference that the project holds great promise for the future of the community. "We are looking forward to becoming a showcase community," he said.  While Nortel Networks is providing last mile access through a wireless mesh network, Bell Canada will branch off from its fibre ring covering communities such as Sudbury, Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie to bring the Internet backbone to the community. Bell Canada wouldn’t disclose the cost of extending fibre connectivity to Chapleau.  Internet connectivity will allow the residents to benefit from a number of advanced services that they can’t currently receive. Healthcare and education services were cited as two major areas of opportunity for the small town’s residents.  The goal of the project is to measure the benefits of broadband connectivity to rural and remote communities and to determine whether this type of model is economically sustainable. The ultimate goal is that Project Chapleau will prove successful on all fronts and that it will lead to other similar deployments.  Brian McFadden, Nortel’s chief research officer, said during the conference call that there needs to be greater understanding of how all the elements work. "We want to further our understanding of the economic and business models of broadband when it’s available to everyone in the communities, how it will affect the way communications is delivered," he said.  While the hope is that Chapleau will become a showcase community and serve as the model to following in subsequent deployments, there are as of yet no specific plans from Bell Canada to bring the Internet backbone to other rural and remote communities.