Retailers on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula are calling for the government to step in and force high-speed internet access in all areas of the province, amid worries that planned changes for some areas could leave them in the Dark Ages.


Northern Peninsula retailers fear they might not be able to process purchases if they do not get high-speed internet connection. ((Fred Prouser/Reuters))

Most retailers in the remote area depend on the outdated dial-up and modem connection to process Interac and credit card purchases, but there are plans to phase out the antiquated service with much more efficient high-speed internet access.

But the service might only be available in selected areas and this could be a problem for businesses that will not have access to the high-speed service, said Richard May of the St. Barbe Development Association.

May said the switch might mean that retailers could be forced to accept cash only.

"Some of the businesses on the peninsula probably will end up in the position where they've got to accept cash only in a couple or three years and that's certainly going to be a deterrent to them doing business," May said.

May fears the service providers will opt to keep the high-speed service out of certain areas that might not be profitable. He is calling on the government to make it mandatory in all areas of the province.

"I don't think that's fair that the area should be held ransom based on somebody wanting more profit," he said. "There is a role for government to intercede."

The minister responsible was not available for comment.