High-speed internet service will soon be available to all Prince Edward Islanders.


Rural Development Minister Allan Campbell called the Aliant deal a great one for Islanders. ((CBC))

Large rural areas of the province currently rely on dial-up service, but on Wednesday the province announced it will be entering into an $8.2-million deal with Aliant to provide rural customers with high-speed internet by 2009.

"This was their initiative that they came forward with, and we're very pleased to be doing business," said Rural Development Minister Allan Campbell.

"It's great service, but it's also a great deal for the taxpayers in this province."

The province has not invested any up-front money in the deal, but it has given Aliant a five-year contract.

Campbell said there were other tenders, including one from Eastlink, but Aliant had the best proposal. The deal includes a $100,000-a-year investment over the next five years from Aliant and the province into an innovative technology fund to promote and develop internet-based applications.

The Island-based company ISN Wireless announced last summer it would bring high-speed internet to rural P.E.I. It has already put up 18 towers and 37 antennas in Eastern Kings over the last four years. Wayne Phalen, a partner in ISN Wireless, worried last August if Aliant won this bid, he might be put out of business.

Phalen could not be reached for comment.