The Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network is taking a closer look at broadband and
general connectivity. CEO John Beaton told ESREN’s annual meeting in Guysborough poor internet connection is an impediment to starting a home business due to the inability to participate in e-commerce and supply chain activities. Beaton says data gathered for the province shows poor connectivity accounts for 25 to 50 per cent of rural job losses. Beaton says lack of cell phone service in some areas and drop outs are also a concern. Beaton says the REN has established a connectivity committee to explore the issue.
Beaton says there is provincial funding available for improvements with the $120 million Nova Scotia Internet Trust. He says an application will be filed, but having solid data will be key
Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the province is taking steps to address gaps in
broadband in rural Nova Scotia.
It’s estimated some 72,000 Nova Scotia households don’t have access to high speed internet. A commissioned report for the province suggests that 95 per cent of homes still without high speed could be reached through fibre op, the remainder through a satellite delivered signal.
MacLellan says the province has committed $120 million this year for the project, with hopes it will leverage federal government and private sector funding.
The report, prepared by Brightstar Canada, estimates it would take five years to build the initial infrastructure, and another five years for upgrades.
Reliable internet access is becoming more and more of an integral part of the 21st century. Access to the service in rural areas, however, is spotty at best.
The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s wants to address this problem. Warden Michael Mosher says reliable broadband internet is crucial so people can pay bills, stay connected and run their business. He supports a submission made by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to recommend a new model for rural communities:
FCM’s recommendation is to reduce the broadband gap and significant lag in bringing faster speeds to rural and remote areas. Mosher says much of St. Mary’s struggles with their internet service, and that a remedy needs to be found immediately.