An internet service provider claims signal interference from a rival company has left some rural Nova Scotians with snail-paced service.

Dan MacDonald, with North Nova Cable, accuses Seaside Communications of using its provincial mandate to stomp on its signals. He said he's forced to spend $20,000 on new equipment and service calls to fix the problem.

"We just gotta keep moving ahead and skate around them as best we can, and unfortunately incur this additional cost," MacDonald told CBC News. "We can't let these people get away with what they've been doing."

Seaside activated a new Wi-Fi transmitter as part of its contract with the Nova Scotia government to provide broadband service to the province's nine northern counties.

But that has created interference, affecting some of MacDonald's 1,000 customers.

Alison Grant made do with dial-up internet at her home in Hardwood Lands for years. When North Nova Cable put a Wi-Fi aerial on her roof, she could finally upload photos to Facebook and watch YouTube videos.

Then it slowed right down.

Lost customers

"You can't really even use the internet some days," said Grant. "Sometimes I guess I felt I was paying for a high-speed internet connection and only really getting a dial-up."

MacDonald said he doesn't know how many customers are affected, but estimates he lost 20 to 30 because of these interference issues.

Adam Conter, spokesman for Seaside, said competitors were informed about his company's plans for the towers and the network, and did its best to co-operate.

"There has been a great deal of co-ordination between ourselves and other companies in the area to make sure your service is not interrupted," said Conter.

But Conter said Seaside cannot always adjust frequencies so as not to interfere with competitors. He said the company has state-of-the-art equipment and it's up to competitors to upgrade their systems.

MacDonald said he hopes to have Grant and other customers back up to speed by the end of the week.