The Municipality of Pictou County (MOPC) has been awarded $4.46 million from the Federal Government’s Universal Broadband Fund Rapid Response Program for the deployment of a broadband network to rural areas.
With a contribution from the Municipality of Pictou County of $3.32 million, this project will connect many underserved households to high-speed internet in Pictou County and may create the opportunity for improved cellular coverage in the area.
“High-speed internet service is essential to the success of everyone living and working in rural Nova Scotia. Today’s investment will bring reliable, high-speed internet access to many households in Pictou County, and may also improve the quality of cell coverage throughout rural communities in our region,” said Sean Fraser, Central Nova MP. “This investment will help create the spine for future phases of the project, which will create jobs in the short term and create the conditions for long term economic growth.”
The Rapid Response money will be used to expand wireless network access in the Municipality of Pictou County as part of its rural broadband project. The MOPC has been working on a high-speed rural internet project for the past five years that will give every home in rural Pictou County the opportunity to have access to high-speed internet. Two thirds of this project will be fibre to homes while another one-third will be wireless. The MOPC will build the infrastructure needed for a high-speed network and lease it to internet service providers interested in providing rural residents with such service.
This funding will allow the MOPC to expand its wireless capabilities faster and complements the overall rural broadband project. This means that Pictou County residents could have the option of receiving a wireless connection sooner than expected and as the project progresses, they might be able to connect to fibre as more rings in the project are completed. Federal funding approval requires the funding be used by November 2021. The MOPC will be applying for additional federal funding from the Universal Broad Broadband Fund to help offset the cost of the fibre portion of project.
“We have been making progress with the planning, in conjunction with our partners and the federal government,” said MOPC Warden Robert Parker, “According to our plans, we will be serving 2,000 people in this phase of our broadband plan.”
This fund is significant in many ways, and he thanked the federal government for making it available.
“Not only is it extremely helpful in serving our rural residents but it also marks a high level of confidence by the federal government in the broadband plans our Council has approved for the county. It is also important as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Municipality is focused on keeping everyone safe during this challenging time, and a broadband network is a vital tool for residents and businesses. We depend on the network for health, education, and sustainability. Being able to accelerate the implementation of a significant portion of the network will serve us well.”
For this portion of the project, the County has partnered with Digital Ubiquity Capital which provides due diligence and review.
“We look forward to assisting MOPC in the digital infrastructure due diligence analysis,” said Mathieu Lemay, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Digital Ubiquity Capital. “Our role will consist in providing key performance indicators and project management tools in addition to ensuring that all the partners involved, including obviously the community, can participate in the creation of value that will be generated, while reducing the risks of each.”
Site validation and surveying will be performed by NCS Networks.
“The Rapid Deployment win will also enable us to jump-start the development and deployment of the team that will service the entire county in the full broadband program. We are looking forward to shaping a professional department for MOPC, which will become one of a handful of Counties in Canada to have this capability and control in their own hands,” said NCS CEO Emerich Winkler.
Other partners in the Rapid Deployment program include materials manager Dataduct Networks, microwave licensing expert PHNX Technologies, and data simulation integrator IDT.
For more information on the Municipality of Pictou County’s rural broadband project at www.ruralnet.munpict.ca