Chief Sidney Peters said he recalled using dial-up years ago and the frustration that could cause. For many residents, it’s not much better today.
That’s expected to change in the coming months as the government continues to roll out its Internet infrastructure upgrades to the tune of $1.44 million, previously announced on March 27.
Glooscap First Nation upgrades will come online in approximately six months thanks to $75,000 in provincial funding.
At the April 11 announcement, Peters said he was thrilled with the prospect of faster Internet access.
“This is something we needed to take the lead on in order to bring it to our community,” Sidney said. “With our new business development (Glooscap Landing) coming soon, it’s important we have this in place.”
Peters said the enhanced speed will also help with the basic functioning of government, with staff being able download and upload much larger files with speed.
“I think it’s going to be great for our homeowners as well,” he said. “People will be able to go on Facebook and Netflix or whatever it may be.”
Surrounding communities, including Bishopville, will also benefit from the enhanced network.
Michael Peters, economic and development officer with Glooscap, helped the community apply for the upgrades.
He said the average Internet speed in Glooscap is approximately five megabytes per second. That will jump up to a maximum of 100 megabytes per second when the upgrades come online.
New polls will have to be installed as part of the upgrade.
“We have some homes here that don’t even have access to Internet at all and are relying on satellite Internet,” he said. “This will expand available coverage.”
Bell Aliant will be the sole internet provider in the area.
Residents react to news
Jasmine Collins, who lives on the reserve, said she’s fed up with the current speeds.
“I’m a student at Acadia University and have struggled with trying to do my schoolwork at home, so I spend a lot of time at campus,” Collins said. “This would give me a better sense of home, being able to do that in my community. I can’t wait to actually be able to search something and get it.”
Collins said she’s also looking forward to “getting what she’s paying for,” adding that the Internet speed she receives is not reflected in the cost.
“They’re terrible. My spouse plays online games and he cannot play those and me go online for school at the same time,” she said. “It is a one-person Internet limit.”
Collins said she’s already planning to upgrade her service when the new infrastructure is installed.
Pamela Murray owns her own business and used to operate it out of her home on Ben Jackson Road, but moved her office to Hantsport for the faster Internet speeds.
“We had two providers bringing Internet to our office, and neither one was providing 24/7 service,” she said. “We had to move, you can’t run a business in Nova Scotia without Internet access you can trust.”
Kings South MLA Keith Irving said the province will continue to look into ways to bring more high-speed Internet to more communities.
“It’s a priority… in terms of economic opportunity. You can operate a business anywhere, but not without Internet access,” Irving said.
“Governments are asking more and more people to do things online to save taxpayers dollars and be more efficient; students are doing more online, it’s just extremely important if we’re going to keep rural communities relevant.”
Although more than 20 infrastructure projects were announced, many rural communities across Nova Scotia remain without access to high-speed Internet.
Irving said his government will work with partners to address that.
“We’re watching what’s happening with the federal government, which has a large half-a-billion (dollar) program that they’re getting underway,” he said. “We’d like to work with that.”
Other organizations, such as i-Valley, has been putting funding proposals together to improve rural networks in the region.
“This problem is a big one, and the only way we’re going to solve it is through partnerships,” he added.