High Speed Internet
April 10th, 2017
Many residents and businesses over the past year at various community meetings have commented on the challenges they have had with loading times, coverage and reliability of internet services.
Residents and businesses in both urban and rural communities shared these experiences with East Hants in 2014 during public workshops for the Economic Development Plan and also in the Municipality’s Plan Review.
Provincial Rural High Speed
Rural high-speed is being reviewed by the Provincial Government through a new project called the Middle Mile Strategy. The Municipality’s role to date has been to facilitate the work of community groups who are interested in working on creative solutions. Over the last year staff have:
- Explored partnerships with the Valley Community Fibre Network, a high-speed fibre backbone that runs through the western part of the Municipality through to Annapolis Valley;
- Met with the Province of Nova Scotia and private sector partners; and
- Met with other communities in Nova Scotia who share the same challenges around internet and cell service.
Starting in 2015-16 East Hants partnered with i-Valley, a newly formed regional Nova Scotia not-for-profit internet association, to research the issue. Residents, community leaders, businesses and technical experts have contributed to workshops, surveys, meetings, and reports held by the i-Valley group. Membership in i-Valley includes Municipalities from Hants, Kings, Annapolis and Digby Counties.
In the Spring of 2017, East Hants started collecting official internet speeds from across our local communities using the CIRA Internet Performance Test.
To date, 662 tests have been run in Hants County and over 5000 tests in total. And we need and want more residents and businesses to take the test!
The data from this test will give us the best, most accurate information from which to make a plan.
Please participate by running the test often and from multiple locations and devices.
Local Groups working on Solutions
Recently, East Hants worked with two local groups interested in applying for available Provincial funding. Both groups decided not to apply, and are now focused on building their plans for future funding opportunities.
In the coming months, East Hants will continue to:
- explore funding programs;
- support community groups working on projects;
- working with the Province on their “Middle Mile” expansion initiative; and
- other collaborative efforts that could lead to better internet in East Hants.
Government of Canada Funding – High Speed Internet
As reported in the Enfield Weekly Press on April 7th, East Hants Council agreed in March 2017 to look further at the issue and gave approval to work with West Hants and iValley to see what alternatives might be available through a new Federal funding program, the Connect to Innovate program. This program offers partial funding for infrastructure. East Hants is looking at how that program could extend the existing high-speed Valley Community Fibre Network to 10 (Federally identified) East Hants communities, 4 additional officially identified West Hants communities, as well as numerous communities along the necessary routes and what the potential costs would be. The idea of extending the fibre network could enable private businesses, private service providers – large and small – to offer better internet service to East Hants customers.
Contact us today if you have an idea or want to talk about starting a project to improve internet performance in your community.