Group gains members across the province
By Heather Killen
The Valley-based group demanding better broadband service has taken their complaints to the premier’s office.
The Faux Broadband Facebook group met with Stephen McNeil, MLA for Annapolis, on March 4 at his constituency office in Middleton. About a dozen members of the group updated McNeil about the group’s activities.
This online group was created earlier this year to raise the issue of the inadequate access to broadband in rural Nova Scotia and has quickly grown to more than 230 members across the province.
Nancy Godfrey, organizer, said she thinks the meeting with McNeil was productive and the first step in a process.
“I think the meeting went as well as could be expected,” said Nancy Godfrey. “No one had any expectations of actual action taking place at it, but I think everyone, including Mr. McNeil, came out of it with a broader understanding of the core issues.”
She added that it probably helps that as a resident of rural Nova Scotia, the premier has direct experience with the broadband service.
Mathew Guy said, in an online update to the group, that they presented the premier with the information they have collected, including a map showing the results of speed tests run by members across region.
McNeil told them, that up until this meeting, the complaints to reach his office have been mainly centered around residents with no connection, rather than slow speeds.
He added that he has mainly heard about connection problems between Hantsport and down the Valley, according to Guy. The group explained that most of their problems are with chronically slow speeds.
McNeil acknowledged that the broadband contract with Eastlink has been an issue for the provincial government and that it has written to Eastlink. There also have been attempts made to introduce a satellite solution for those with no connection.
The group also outlined their concerns that the poor broadband service in rural communities is negatively impacting property values and economic development. Guy said the premier acknowledged these concerns and told them that he understands that good internet connectivity is the best thing that can be done to develop rural economies.
Moving forward, Godfrey says her group plans to continue pressing for action that addresses the poor service in rural areas. The group plans a larger-format meeting in the near future, so that more will be able to participate.
“I think most of us came away with the impression that we had truly been heard,” Godfery said. “That's something quite excellent, in my opinion, and gives hope for future progress.”