Government funds Rural Broadband Initiative
Innovation, Business and Rural Development Minister Keith Hutchings has announced a $4 million investment to improve broadband access on the island portion of the province.
This investment, along with previous provincial government investments focused on advancing the province’s communications capacity, has seen the percentage of residents with broadband access increase to approximately 85 per cent – up from 60 per cent in 2003.
This announcement is in addition to the $11.3 million provincial investment announced in Happy Valley-goose Bay to upgrade Labrador’s communications infrastructure.
The government, through the Rural Broadband Initiative, is advancing initiatives to improve broadband access in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Mr. Hutchings explained “As a government, we made a commitment to improving broadband access in underserviced rural communities. “It’s an important step in achieving our goal of having broadband access available throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. It will link those living in rural areas to educational, commercial, and social activities that are currently not available.
“Broadband is a bridge that connects rural communities to the same opportunities available in larger, more urban centres.”
Of the funding, Bell Aliant will use $2.1 million from the province to provide broadband access to parts of the Northern Peninsula, as well as the central and eastern regions of the province.
Burgeo Broadcasting Systems and Ramea Communications, through a combined $230,000 investment, will upgrade services to Ramea, Grey River, and Francois. Xplorenet Communications will use a $1.67 million investment to identify opportunities to implement a fixed wireless solution in the central region.
Mr. Hutchings indicated “It represents the positive outcomes that can be enjoyed when private and public sector organizations work collaboratively. It is a results-driven approach that is paying incredible dividends in this province as it has led to more than 470 communities having broadband access – up from 114 communities in 2003.”