New fibre internet projects rolling out on the South Shore

by Gayle Wilson

The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) has announced it's committing $1,925,250 to provide approximately 5,650 homes and business access to Bell Canada's all-fibre network.

The project falls under the provincial Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative and will provide residents with download speeds of up to 1.5 Gigabits, according to a news release issued by the municipality on September 1.

"These new projects will bring fibre based high-speed Internet to every district within the Municipality,"

Dave Waters, Director of Business Development, Tourism and Infrastructure., said in the release.

Waters indicated the municipality will continue to work on connecting any remaining under-served residents through Develop Nova Scotia, which is leading the provincial initiative and through the upcoming Federal Universal Broadband fund.

Nine areas in the region will be included in the project:

• Upper LaHave

• New Elm

• Springfield

• Mahone Bay North

• Lunenburg Area

• Lunenburg County Northwest

• Lunenburg County North

• LaHave

• Bridgewater area

According to MODL's mayor, Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, since 2016 the municipality has increased high-speed internet connections from approximately 60 per cent to 72 per cent.

"These additional projects will increase our connectivity to roughly 95% of households with wired Internet above 50Mbps in the Municipality," the mayor stated in the release.

The municipality expects to post maps of the projects on modl.ca/Internet by the middle of September.

Meanwhile, Develop Nova Scotia, which is overseeing the province's internet expansion, also made an announcement on September 1 concerning "a second round" of Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative projects, which it said will provide access to an additional 32,000 homes and businesses.

"Reliable high-speed internet is an essential part of building a strong, connected Nova Scotia," Premier Stephen McNeil said in a Develop Nova Scotia update.

"As of today, projects are underway that will see 97 per cent of homes and businesses in our province with high-speed access. We can be proud that Nova Scotia will be one of the first provinces in Canada to reach this level of coverage," said the premier.

Develop Nova Scotia reported that the agreement with Bell Canada will provide more than 100 communities across the province with high-speed internet, at speeds higher than CRTC targets.

With preparatory and engineering work already underway on the new projects, it is expected that more than 11,000 homes and businesses will have access by summer 2021; 21,000 by end of 2021; and all 32,000 by summer 2022, it said.

A number of South Shore communities are targeted in the developments including Blandford, Caledonia, Chelsea, New Germany and New Ross, and various communities in Queens South and Queens North.

For a full list of the communities, go to https://internet.developns.ca/zones/south-shore/

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