Nova Scotia

High-speed solutions sought for rural Nova Scotia internet woes

Government issues request for information for immediate solutions that can be done for next year

CBC News

July 14, 2016

The province has issued a request for information for work that can be immediately done for next year to improve rural internet access. (Shutterstock)

The Nova Scotia government is looking to learn more about how it can fix the ongoing hassle of rural internet access.

Government issued a request for information (RFI) Thursday morning, calling a broadband connection "crucial" to the survival and sustainability of rural communities.

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"The province is looking to increase service levels to as many people as possible as quickly as possible in rural areas of Nova Scotia."

In this year's provincial budget, $6 million was announced for work to improve rural internet access. Thursday's request for information is looking for input on what immediate solutions can be implemented by March 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017.

Government is looking for "achievable upload and download speeds," as well as how many homes would be included in those solutions.

In its RFI, the government did not identify any one particular area of focus.

The province released a new report in June which assessed the state of rural internet in Nova Scotia, saying it's time to trade analysis for action.

A 2007 study determined around 93,500 Nova Scotians were without access to broadband internet. That number is now down to an estimated 1,000 customers, while another 20,000 to 40,000 are "underserved."

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) considers anyone with internet speeds lower than 5 Mbps underserved.

Requests for information must be submitted by Aug. 4.

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