Broadband Initiative Begins With Pilot Project

Economic Development (to Jan 09)

September 12, 2006 11:38 AM

The rural communities of Tidnish and Port Howe in northern Nova Scotia are about to become the focal point for advanced communications. They have been selected for a pilot project that will look at ways to bring high-speed Internet service to rural and remote areas of the province.

The Office of Economic Development is providing $430,000 to cover project expenses and will lead the pilot in partnership with the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association and representatives from the Cumberland County communities. A request for proposals, issued today, Sept. 12, asks for a private sector company to work with the partners on a way to provide viable broadband service.

"This is a priority for the government of Nova Scotia and we are on record saying we will ensure broadband service is available to all areas of the province by 2010," said Richard Hurlburt, Minister of Economic Development. "We have to do this if Nova Scotia is to compete globally."

Broadband service is currently available to 72 per cent of Nova Scotia communities containing 85 per cent of the population.

"Broadband access to the Internet is as important today as paved roads, electricity, and telephones were in the past," said Mr. Hurlburt. "We need it to communicate, to access information, and to conduct business,"

The goal is to develop a model that can be used to bring broadband service to all areas of the province.

"We are looking forward to the benefits that this project can bring to residents and businesses in the Tidnish to Port Howe area," said Rhonda Kelly, executive director of the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association. "This will also enable the development association to ultimately facilitate broadband service to the balance of the Northumberland Shore, as well as rural Cumberland County, in a timely manner."

The pilot project is scheduled to be completed in late 2006.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Tidnish and Port Howe in northern Nova Scotia have been

selected for a broadband pilot project.
     
     The Cumberland County pilot will look at ways to bring

broadband Internet service to rural and remote areas of the

province.

     The Office of Economic Development will provide 430-

thousand dollars and lead the project, in partnership with the

Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association.

     The project is also seeking a private sector company to

join the other partners.

     The minister of Economic Development, Richard Hurlbert,

says the government has promised to ensure broadband service is

available to all of Nova Scotia by 2010.


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Media Contact: Tom Peck
              Office of Economic Development
              902-424-4998
              E-mail:peckto@gov.ns.ca