Broadband getting boost in Labrador

The public and private sectors have announced a plan to pour $24 million into enhanced communications infrastructure in Labrador.
An excerpt from a news conference announcing $24 million to increase Labrador broadband service 0:32

Boom times in Labrador are behind a public and private sector plan to pour $24 million into enhanced fibre-optic links in the region.

"Tremendous industrial and economic activity in Labrador has precipitated the need to improve telecommunications infrastructure in the region," provincial Innovation Minister Keith Hutchings said in a news release.

Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue said the project will "improve the ability of companies in the region to establish, expand and operate more efficiently."

The plan will see construction of a new pole line with an attached 48-fibre communications cable between Labrador West and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The province and feds are each contributing $3 million to the initiative. Nalcor Energy, Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned energy corporation, is fronting $8.3 million. Bell Aliant is investing $9.7 million.

Proponents say the project will become the backbone of Labrador's long-term broadband infrastructure, enhancing high-speed Internet to Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Churchill Falls, while also enhancing existing service to Labrador City and Wabush.

Nalcor, meanwhile, is stressing that its contribution is one of the benefits of the planned Lower Churchill hydroelectric project. "Nalcor is investing in this project to ensure that critical infrastructure required to build and operate the Muskrat Falls development is in place in Labrador," vice-president Gilbert Bennett noted.

Bell Aliant says the dedicated fibre network will help ensure that the residents of central and western Labrador have access to world-class Internet services.