Connecting to the world

Darrell Cole
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Entire county to have high-speed Internet within 24 months

AMHERST - Rural communities across Cumberland County should benefit from a broadband announcement made Wednesday.

AMHERST - Rural communities across Cumberland County should benefit from a broadband announcement made Wednesday.

Seaside Communications has been awarded the contract to provide broadband services to Cumberland County as well as the remainder of northern Nova Scotia and into Cape Breton.

That means expanded broadband coverage to Cumberland County communities still using dial-up as their means of getting on the information superhighway.

"We'll be looking to service every part of the county that's not served," Paul Hopper of the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association. "All the pockets will be serviced sometime within the next 18 to 24 months."

Seaside Communications was the service provider for the broadband pilot project that brought high-speed Internet services from Tidnish through to Port Howe. Nine other communities - including River Hebert-Joggins, Pugwash, Parrsboro and Wentworth - were hooked up several years ago through another broadband initiative that had funding from Industry Canada.

The Aliant project that was part of the Connecting Cumberland initiative only serviced residents and businesses within four kilometers of its hubs whereas Seaside in its pilot project used newer Motorola technology to expand the coverage area.

"We've mapped the whole county and we have a pretty good handle on every civic address that's not covered right now," Hopper said.

Broadband has been part of CREDA's business plan since 2001 and Hopper feels this announcement will help the organization fulfill that goal while at the same time making rural communities more competitive in providing jobs and opportunities.

"We've been quite an advocate for this for a long, long time and this is an exciting announcement for all of rural Nova Scotia," Hopper said.

The $74.5-million initiative announced Wednesday touches all counties and is being cost-shared by the provincial and federal governments and the successful service providers. EastLink has signed contracts to provide service on the South Shore.

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association, Industry Canada, Aliant Motorola

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Northern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Port Howe Nova Scotia South Shore

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