The residents of 64 communities in Nova Scotia, including one Indigenous community, will soon access high-speed Internet thanks to a $26.4 million investment by the federal government, the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust, and other unnamed sources. Up to 80 institutions in will also benefit from the funding.
— ISED (@ISED_CA) May 4, 2018
The biggest beneficiary, the Municipality of the County of Kings, will receive $5.6 million for a project catering to 10 communities and 12 institutions, according to a recent government press release.
“This investment will help residents connect with family and friends, do business and participate in distance education, enhancing our collective ambition to connect globally and take advantage of a world of opportunities,” said Peter Muttart, the Mayor of Municipality of the County of Kings.
According to Keith Irving, the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Nova Scotia’s Kings South district:
Improving high-speed Internet will be an economic game-changer for Nova Scotia. It will help spur innovation, advance competitiveness and build a better economic future for Nova Scotia. And it’s so much more. Nova Scotians will be able to gain better access to health care services, education and training programs, and other community and social supports, no matter where they live.
The federal government will provide $17.7 million of the $26.4 million of the funding through its $500-million Connect to Innovate program, which will bring high-speed Internet to 300 rural and remote communities across Canada by 2021.
“For rural communities in Nova Scotia, digital investment through the Connect to Innovate program enhances opportunities for residents of all ages,” said Scott Brison, the President of the Treasury Board. “This important investment will support farming and fishing industries in data collection and observation, students and youth in learning, and residents in day-to-day life with connected devices. It’s all part of our government’s plan to help create opportunities for all communities, including our rural maritime communities.”
The government’s press release says the Connect to Innovate program “is investing in building the digital backbone of high-speed Internet networks. Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities. These highways carry large amounts of data that are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to function in a digital world.”
In plain English, the Connect to Innovate program will enhance rural and remote communities’ participation in the digital economy. The program’s primary focus is new backbone Internet infrastructure in these communities.
According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada: “Building this infrastructure is the modern equivalent of building roads or railway spurs into rural and remote areas, connecting them to the global economy. This backbone infrastructure is often fibre optic-based, but can be comprised of a range of technologies including microwave and satellite service.”
Of course the private sector is very much involved. For example, Bell Canada will receive $388,331 of the Nova Scotia funding “for three projects that will provide five communities, including one Indigenous community, and four institutions with access to high-speed Internet services.”
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He’s the founder and editor of these blogs: The Canadian Progressive, Zimbabwean Progressive, and Charity Files. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad