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Funding for rural Internet access projects in Nova Scotia announced

Funding to improve Internet access in many rural areas of the province was announced March 27.
Funding to improve Internet access in many rural areas of the province was announced March 27.

South West Nova - Three communities in the region will be receiving government funding to improve connection to high-speed Internet.

The funding is part of the municipal and community rural high-speed Internet funding program, which launched in November 2016.

The projects are smaller-scale projects, most serving multiple communities and expected to be completed within six months. They include a range of technologies and speeds, and some will serve as pilots that could lead to innovative solutions that can be applied in other regions of the province.

Gerry Curry, president of the Cedar Lake Wireless Cooperative Ltd., says their area covers both Yarmouth and Digby counties so both municipalities are involved. Some of the $41,879 received will be used to contract a major ISP provider to install a fibre line and network interface box at Beaver River Baptist Church.

The fibre service will be converted to Ethernet and fed into a router that will assign IP addresses to the network and allow management of the entire network, Curry described in a project outline.

From the top of the steeple two long-range wireless radios and antennas will send a signal to matching radios and antennas, one to an 80-foot tower at a high point on Cedar Lake Road, and the other to an 80-foot tower at a high point in Springdale.

Participants in the program will have a smaller antenna mounted on their home or pole/tree on their property.

 “We are still signing up subscribers. We know who we can guarantee service to, the others will have to wait until the towers are up so we can test to see if there is an acceptable signal. We're sitting at about 30 right now, but we're positive there will be many more,” said Curry.

Participants will be charged a one-time fee of $150 to join the cooperative, then  $75/month for Internet service.

The Municipality of Yarmouth is an official project proponent in partnership with the Forest Glen Community Centre. Spokesperson Dr. Paul McLaughlin says the funding is welcome news for the community.

“It is undeniable that businesses and families need solid, high speed access.  And we are aware of those who have had to move out of the area to get access to acceptable Internet for their work.  We have also seen first-hand evidence of reductions in home values due to lack of Internet.

McLaughlin added that the group is pretty proud of what its accomplished so far.

“This is in essence a grassroots project with the potential to benefit a lot of people for a very low cost.  We’ve learned a lot about wireless technology, land use bylaws, and even industry standards.  If all goes well, the service should be up and running by October (or sooner).

The group will receive $75,000 to install a multiple-frequency broadband Internet service tower. Using upgraded fibre access, it is anticipated up to 360 businesses and homes could have access to high-speed Internet. Expected speeds will range from 15 to 100 Mbps.

In the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, $75,000 in funding will extend fibre to about 340 homes and 16 businesses on Highway 203, Ohio; Shelburne Marine Industrial Park, Sandy Point, and Jordan Falls. This will offer download speeds of up to 940 Mbps.

Other communities to receive funding

Government funding totalling $1.44 million is being provided to 22 municipal and community high-speed internet projects in the province.

For a complete list and map of communities to receive funding to improve connection to high-speed Internet, visit this link

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