Funding approved for phase one of Municipality of Pictou County’s rural internet project

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PICTOU – The Municipality of Pictou County has committed funding to phase one of its rural internet project.

Council recently approved $11 million to the first phase of its rural internet project that could see residents in the areas of Lyons Brook, Hardwood Hill, Abercrombie, and Granton have access to high-speed internet in 2020. A consortium led by Nova Communications was chosen to perform the engineering planning and network construction.

Municipality of Pictou County Warden Robert Parker said council has made a significant step towards providing rural residents and businesses with high-speed internet.

“We are still very much in the early stages of the project, but we are moving forward with our goal to provide high-speed internet to our residents,” he said. “We have heard from so many people over the years that this is important to them, and council has taken the first step to reach this goal.”

Council had initially budgeted $8 million for phase one of the project, but this has increased by an additional $3 million mainly because of its decision to increase its fibre count from 144 to 288 strand fibres. This will provide future proof the network and give the municipality the ability to better market business opportunities.

The municipality must also construct a new tower in the Hardwood Hill Area since the recently completed design study identified the current tower in the area as unusable.

Before construction can begin, approval must be given by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission for the municipality to work within the telecommunications industry. Pending approval, the municipality is hopeful the first phase of the project can be completed by this fall.

The Municipality of Pictou County wants to become the first rural community in Canada to create its own high-speed network, which generates funds for the municipality.

The project will see the municipality create the backbone infrastructure required for high-speed internet so internet service providers will able to provide their service and products to rural residents and businesses.

This municipally led network combines revenue sharing and world-class quality with competitive Open Access pricing and choice. Public and private sectors will combine strengths for the quick delivery of a network that sparks new businesses and social initiatives.

When the network is complete, it is looking to meet or exceed the CRTC guidelines of wired speeds: 10 Mbps up and 50 Mbps down and wireless/satellite speeds: 5 Mbps up 25 Mbps down. (Mbps = Megabits per second)

The goal is to enable 1GB download speed for fibre connections and meet the requirements for wireless.