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Pictou County ushers in new era of rural broadband based on community owned networks

Annapolis County is finishing contract negotiations and getting closer to the day when it can start building a countywide fibre optic Internet backbone that will be able to bring high speeds to almost every business and residence in the county.
Annapolis County is finishing contract negotiations and getting closer to the day when it can start building a countywide fibre optic Internet backbone that will be able to bring high speeds to almost every business and residence in the county. - Lawrence Powell
PICTOU, N.S. —

Good news rural residents of Pictou County, high speed internet is coming.

The Municipality of Pictou County announced this week that it is moving forward on a project that it says will bring fast and affordable high-speed internet to the community.

In partnership with Nova Communications, a division of ROCK Networks, and a consortium of best-in-class partners, Nokia, Plexus, WesTower, i-Valley, and NCS, the Municipality of Pictou County is positioned to provide internet connectivity where none has existed before.

This Open Access Network model is designed to succeed where traditional telecom models fail.  It is a self-funded revenue generating approach for rural communities that proponents say could usher in a new era of economic and social growth while attracting and keeping jobs in the community.

Municipality of Pictou County Warden Robert Parker said this project has been in the works for the last three years.

“This will allow individuals and businesses to live and operate almost anywhere in our rural landscape with all the communications advantages of larger urban centres,” he said.  “While the upfront expenditure is large, our Council’s objective is to build a high-speed Internet system that is top quality, competitively priced, and sustainable. The network will be self-funded from internet service revenues, thus not increasing tax rates. In all, it’s a big move ahead for rural Pictou County, with improved cell service to follow not far behind.”

The Municipality of Pictou County has committed $25 million to building the network ensuring residents and businesses in rural areas have access to the best high-speed Internet available.

“Municipalities across Canada are complaining about lack of funding for community projects including broadband services.  The answer is within their grasp, and it is based on the Pictou County model of a community owned network.  Not only is the network self-sustaining but telecom spend is kept local in the community, which enables new services to be delivered,” said Joe Hickey, president and CEO of ROCK Networks. “It’s time that we close the broadband gap so that rural and urban areas have the same opportunities; it’s wonderful to be a part of such a positive change in the Municipality of Pictou County.”

Nova Communications, a division of ROCK Networks, has over 35 years of experience and is the largest communications systems integrator in Eastern Canada.

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