Cumberland Rural Internet Leaps Forward
One of the largest fibre-optic based high speed internet networks in rural Canada is being built in Cumberland-Colchester. An Agreement between the municipalities and Xplornet Communications Inc. was signed on August 21st following unanimous approval of both Councils.
The network will consist of 19 fixed-wireless towers and approximately 670 kilometres of optic fibre, including over 500 km of new fibre.
It will have capacity to serve 100% of civic addresses in the combined counties, including 24,400 addresses currently not covered.
Wireless services require line-of-sight. Xplornet will offer up to 100 Mbps service to 22,500 of these currently underserved addresses and up to 50 Mbps satellite service for the remaining 1,900 addresses. As many as 3,500 civic addresses will have access to fibre-to-the-home service. Unlimited data packages priced at $99.
Xplornet will invest $34 million toward the $61.1 million project. The Province will contribute $21.1 million from the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust. The two Municipalities will pay a combined $6 million over the next three to five years. Cumberland’s share will be $3,327,600 and Colchester’s $2,672,400, reflecting the amount of fibre in each jurisdiction. The network infrastructure will be Open Access for other internet service providers to rent wholesale capacity.
Cumberland Warden Al Gillis says, “This considerable investment paves the way for a bright future for our region.” His counterpart, Colchester Mayor Christine Blai said, “Our work together on broadband and the new Geopark should be celebrated.”
The Cumberland-Colchester project was selected for funding by Develop Nova Scotia under the province’s Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative. A Joint Internet Improvement Committee made up of county councillors and staff is overseeing the municipal component of the project.
A unique aspect of the project is that Cumberland and Colchester have use of two pairs of ‘dark fibres’ (fibre-optic lines for exclusive use) on the entire new network. This will allow the Municipalities to partner on innovative ventures in coming years.
Jeff Burlock, Executive Vice-President and co-founder of Xplornet says, “Colchester and Cumberland believe in a bright future for rural communities, and we’re excited to be working with them.”
The project is well underway, with new wireless service already offered in some areas. Network completion is expected within three years.
The photo shows the new 150 foot tower, located behind the Pugwash Fire Department, which is similar to eighteen others scattered throughout the two counties, providing wireless service.
Mark Austin, economic developer with Colchester will be on Morning Talk Wednesday morning on Six Rivers Radio at 9:05 to talk about the overall internet program for Cumberland-Colchester.
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