7 ISPs share in almost $1M funding to bring internet to more P.E.I. homes

The P.E.I. government is once again providing funding to internet service providers (ISPs) to provide better and faster service on P.E.I., it announced in a written release Thursday. 

Companies will receive up to $150K each

The local companies have until the end of the year to complete their improvement projects. (TippaPatt / Shutterstock)

The P.E.I. government is once again providing funding to internet service providers (ISPs) to provide better and faster service on P.E.I., it announced in a written release Thursday. 

Applications for the funding were announced in August and are through the P.E.I. Broadband Fund, which added two new streams at that time: a home-improvement grant for homeowners to improve their internet service, and a layer of funding for ISPs, which provides grants of up to 90 per cent of upgrading costs, with a maximum of $150,000 per project.

Prior to this new funding stream for ISPs, there was a 50/50 cost split between the internet provider and the government, but the province found that many local businesses couldn't foot the bill.

The seven companies receiving almost $1 million total are: Wicked Eh, Air Tech Communications Inc., Buzz Networx Inc., Island Monitoring/P.E.I. Monitoring, Island Telecom Services Inc., NSEW Connect Inc. and Red Sands Internet Inc.

"Our system redesign will provide every one of our customers with a better overall internet experience without increasing prices," said Joelene Ferguson, Wicked Eh chief branding officer, in the release. 

Projects must be completed by Dec. 31, 2020. 

"We really need to work hard on this especially — you look what COVID has done. People working from home — we've had students trying to work from home with poor internet service," said Minister of Economic Growth Matthew MacKay.

"We really put the best effort we could through this department to work as fast as we can to speed up the process and be as flexible as we can in working with the local ISPs and taking their ideas and putting them to work."

MacKay said "just under 2,000 civic addresses" will be hooked up by the seven service providers before the end of the year.

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With files from Sheehan Desjardins