Nova Scotia

New projects mean 97% of N.S. homes, businesses to have high-speed internet by 2022

Nova Scotia announced Tuesday it is bringing high-speed internet access to an additional 32,000 homes and businesses by summer 2022.

32,000 homes, businesses expected to receive access under internet intiative

Premier Stephen McNeil made the announcement at the Uniacke Estate Museum grounds in Mount Uniacke, N.S., one of the communities that will receive access to new or improved high-speed internet. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Nova Scotia announced Tuesday a round of projects aimed at bringing high-speed internet access to an additional 32,000 homes and businesses by summer 2022.

"This new round of projects announced today means that we are on our way to delivering high-speed internet to 97 per cent of homes and businesses in Nova Scotia," Premier Stephen McNeil said at the announcement at the Uniacke Estate Museum grounds in Mount Uniacke.

"Once complete, Nova Scotia will be among the first provinces in Canada to achieve this level of coverage. We need this coverage to continue to build a stronger economy and continue to grow our population all across Nova Scotia. Being a connected province means we are that much more of an appealing place to live, work and to raise your family."

The new round of projects is being administered by Develop Nova Scotia, the Crown corporation responsible for implementing a high-speed internet strategy for the province.

Jennifer Angel, the CEO of Develop Nova Scotia, said more than 100 communities across Nova Scotia will receive high-speed internet in this new project. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Jennifer Angel, the president and CEO of Develop Nova Scotia, said more than 100 Nova Scotia communities, including Mount Uniacke, will receive high-speed internet access by 2022 through the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative.

Angel said Bell Canada will be providing internet access and work is already underway. Develop Nova Scotia expects more than 11,000 homes and businesses will have new or improved internet access by summer 2021, then 21,000 by the end of 2021 and 32,000 by the summer of 2022.

"It's a good day but it isn't the best day. That day will come when the job is done," Angel said at the announcement. "And while we're very pleased with the project and the progress we're able to show you today, our minds are already turned to those people and places that remain underserved."

In May 2019, only 70 per cent of Nova Scotia homes and businesses had reliable access to high-speed internet. Develop Nova Scotia is hoping to bump that number up to 90 per cent by 2022. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

This is the second round of homes in the process of receiving high-speed internet through Develop Nova Scotia's projects.

In February, the corporation announced the first round of developments, which has provided approximately 18,000 homes and businesses with new or improved high-speed internet. The target for Round 1 is 42,000. 

McNeil said the province has committed $193 million through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust for this initiative, $59 million of which has been invested for Round 2 while also leveraging $61 million from private and public sectors.

He said the province has been working to implement the projects to provide better internet access to people during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

High-speed internet will become available for the homes and businesses gradually. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

"While I know that [for] many Nova Scotians, high-speed internet connection cannot come quick enough, we are well on our way to ensuring that the majority of Nova Scotians will have access to high-speed internet in the coming months ahead of us," he said.

Angel said she and her team are committed to getting the job done as quickly as possible.

"We understand that this service is needed now more than ever," Angel said.

"Not only to support business growth and quality of life but for business continuity and survival, for access to essential services like health care and education, to stay connected to loved ones — we know how much this means and we know how urgent it is and we don't want to let you down."

With files from Vernon Ramesar

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