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Advancements made in South West Nova Scotia rural Internet projects

Connection to high-speed Internet in several areas in the region will improve thanks to innovative solutions by several independent community groups.
Connection to high-speed Internet in several areas in the region will improve thanks to innovative solutions by several independent community groups.

South West Nova Scotia - Three groups in the region that received funding in April to improve connection to high-speed Internet in their communities are closing in on their goals.

The groups were among 22 in the province to receive Internet access funding totaling $1.44 million.

Their projects include a range of technologies and speeds and some will serve as pilots that could lead to innovative solutions that can be applied in other regions of the province.

The Forest Glen project in Yarmouth County received $75,000 to install a multiple-frequency broadband Internet service tower. Using upgraded fibre access, it is anticipated up to 360 businesses and homes could eventually have access to high-speed Internet.

Mark Blinn, manager, innovation and enterprise development for the Municipality of Yarmouth, says the project is progressing as well as can be expected.

“Most of the communication equipment has arrived and the actual tower is scheduled to be here this Thursday,” he said on Sept. 12.

The land has been cleared, all permits are in place and proponents hope to start the road and site prep work by Sept. 18, weather permitting.

“We are hoping that in a month’s time we will be up and running, barring any unforeseen circumstances,” said Blinn.

The service will have 15MBPS upload and download and the cost will be $59.99 per month with no data cap.

Residents can sign up at this website.

In the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, $75,000 in funding will extend fibre to about 340 homes and 16 businesses on Highway 203, Ohio; Shelburne Marine Industrial Park, Sandy Point, and Jordan Falls. Download speeds of up to 940 Mbps are expected.

Municipality of Shelburne CAO Chris McNeill says that Bell is installing the fibre lines.

“The only challenge has been acquiring the fibre material because of the national demand at the moment,” he said.

Installations should be complete and ready for residents by the middle of October.

 Efforts are underway to secure funding for Phase 2 of the project (1,000 more homes) to expand service to communities like Welshtown, Ohio, Birchtown, North East Harbour and continue further up Sandy Point.

“We are still awaiting a federal response to our application for Phase II. We are hopeful for an answer in late September, but that decision is the federal governments,” said McNeill.

Cedar Lake Wireless Cooperative Ltd. received $41,879 towards their project.

President Gerry Curry says the Beaver River and Cedar Lake towers are complete and the service is up and running. Ten homes have already been connected, with more to follow.

Fibre optic service from Eastlink is supplied to a 46-foot tower located near the Beaver River Baptist church in Beaver River, Digby County.

Commercial WiFi radios and antennas beam the signal into Cedar Lake and Springdale. From there, additional radios and antennas disperse the service to homes and businesses.

“This arrangement will give anyone interested around the lake access to a reliable Internet service at least 30 megabits per second,” said Curry.



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