d’Entremont wants government to act on rural broadband access

June 29, 2016 at 10:45 am

High-speed Internet essential for rural Nova Scotian homes, businessesChris d'Entremont, MLA for Argyle Barrington

ARGYLE, NS – Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont wants the government to act now to get high-speed Internet access to rural Nova Scotians.

In the recently released study ‘Options for Rural Broadband Connectivity,’ commissioned by the Department of Business, approximately 1,000 customers across eight counties do not have access to broadband Internet.

“Rural Nova Scotia has been left in the dark when it comes to reliable and accessible high-speed Internet,” says d’Entremont. “Minister Furey now has this report in hand. I’d like to know that he will act on the recommendations.”

Even for those who do have access to Internet service in places like Shelburne County, reliability and speed are notoriously unpredictable. Slow Internet access has limited the ability of people who wish to work or do school work from home.

The review indicates that these challenges “could be negatively affecting social and economic opportunities for residents in rural communities.”

“We know that for a small or medium-sized enterprise to thrive in rural Nova Scotia, access to the global economy through high-speed Internet is essential,” says d’Entremont. “If businesses can’t connect to international markets, they can’t move their products. It’s no way to grow an economy.”

Several recommendations for the government were highlighted in the report, including:

-Development of provincial goals for broadband access;
-Coordination of Municipal and Community based initiatives that would advance progress toward provincial broadband goals;
-Development of a community based solution evaluation framework;
-Coordination of provincial telecommunication procurement, and infrastructure investment activities, to advance the deployment of broadband technologies.

Internet connectivity for rural enterprises was noted in the Now or Never Report as a way to boost start-ups and growth-oriented enterprises.

“Great strides have been taken since the PC government started the Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia initiative in 2006, but there’s more work to be done,” says d’Entremont. “I strongly believe that if people want to live, work and thrive in rural Nova Scotia, they should be given the tools, such as high-speed Internet, to do so.”

d’Entremont wants the Minister of Business to give an update on progress so far in connecting rural Nova Scotia to broadband and what his plan is to ensure reliability and access continue to improve.