Nova Scotia's budget to include plan for improved internet access in rural areas

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the upcoming provincial budget will include his government’s plan for solving the problem of poor internet service in rural areas.

'We’ve got to start moving the chains on this and we will,' says Business Minister Geoff MacLellan

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the upcoming provincial budget will include a major investment to address internet service issues in rural areas. (CBC)

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the upcoming provincial budget will include his government's plan for solving the problem of poor internet service in rural areas.

MacLellan acknowledged there has been a lot of "waiting and talking" about a plan to bring true high-speed service to the entire province, but he said "that time is now." The minister said it's good to finally have the plan, but making substantive change comes down to one thing.

"At the end of the day, this becomes about money," he told reporters at Province House.

"It's a $500 million problem estimated for Nova Scotia, so we've got to spend big to be approaching a solution to the broadband challenge for many Nova Scotians in remote areas."

The government spent $15 million on the issue last year, but MacLellan said that only amounted to "inching along."

"We've got to start moving the chains on this and we will."

Tory MLA Kim Masland says poor internet service is preventing some people from moving to her district. (CBC)

Tory MLA Kim Masland said that plan can't come soon enough.

The representative for Queens-Shelburne said she routinely hears from people in her constituency who struggle with inferior service. It also has an effect on bringing people to the area, said Masland.

"In my constituency I have people that want to move to Queens County but can't because internet is prohibiting them from coming there and doing their business at home," she said. "We've got to do a better job of this. We've got to do it now."

About the Author

Michael Gorman

Reporter

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia who covers Province House, rural communities, and everything in between. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca