HALIFAX — Develop Nova Scotia, a Crown corporation responsible for developing and implementing a strategy to provide high-speed Internet access across the province, today announced the expansion of several existing contracts for Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative projects, which will provide access to an additional 6,700 homes and businesses.
Projects associated with these scope expansions will reduce the number of remaining unserved or underserved homes and businesses by more than half, says Develop Nova Scotia’s press release. The contract extensions are for project agreements with ISPs Mainland Telecom and Bell Canada which will provide connections to approximately 30 small communities across the province with high-speed Internet at speeds higher than the CRTC’s targets (50/10 Mbps for fixed broadband and 25/5 Mbps for mobile), says the release.
Preparatory and engineering work is beginning immediately on these contract extensions, with the additional homes and businesses covered by the extensions expected to have improved network access by late 2023. The Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust (NSIFT) is investing more than $24 million in these project expansions, with leveraged funds of over $9 million from other levels of government and the private sector, including approximately $170,000 from Mainland Telecom and almost $8.9 million from Bell.
When the first round of Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative projects was announced in February, the goal was to provide high-speed connections to 42,000 homes and businesses through an initial investment of $45 million by the NSIFT, leveraging about $56 million in private and other public-sector funding. Round two projects, announced in September, are providing access to an additional 32,000 homes and businesses, through a second investment of $59 million by NSIFT, with leveraged funds of $61 million from the public and private sector.
Round one projects are expected to be substantially completed by the end of March 2021, and round two projects are expected to be finished by summer 2022.
“Since the first Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative projects were announced in February 2020, approximately 21-22,000 of a total of 81,500 homes and businesses already have the network in place to provide new or improved high-speed internet, and providers are working to make those connections as quickly as possible,” reads Develop Nova Scotia’s press release today announcing the scope expansions of existing contracts.
“Our work continues with urgency to reach those remaining underserved residents and businesses across the province,” says Jennifer Angel, president and CEO of Develop Nova Scotia, in the release. “We know reliable connections are crucial to Nova Scotians, for accessing critical services, growing business, and overall quality of life. And removing this barrier to participation also helps us to attract people to Nova Scotia, in an emerging work-from-anywhere future. We will not quit until we get the job done.”
More information about the scope expansion projects here.
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