High-speed internet has become an essential service in today’s world, and the government of Canada has designated it as such. However, many rural communities lack this basic necessity, which affects their ability to participate in the digital economy and access critical services such as healthcare and education.
Fortunately, there has been some progress in addressing this issue. Today, the government of Nova Scotia announced a $10.6 million investment in the Pictou County Rural Broadband Project. This independent project aims to bring high-speed internet to over 4,700 homes and businesses in the municipality of Pictou County.
Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane, MLA for Pictou West, said that the investment is a significant step towards providing Nova Scotians with high-speed internet access. She also noted that the project is an important part of the government’s efforts to achieve this goal.
The Pictou County Rural Broadband Project is part of a broader initiative to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas across the country. In December, the Government of Canada announced up to $31 million in funding for the project, while the county is expected to contribute $10.6 million. The project is estimated to cost around $53 million in total.
The lack of high-speed internet access in rural areas has been a longstanding issue in Canada. According to a report by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), around 18% of Canadians still lack access to high-speed internet. This percentage is even higher in rural areas, where up to 41% of households do not have access to high-speed internet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of high-speed internet as an essential service. With more people working and studying from home, the need for reliable internet connectivity has become even more critical. However, many rural communities are still struggling to access this service.
The investment in the Pictou County Rural Broadband Project is a significant step towards addressing this issue. It is hoped that other municipalities and provinces will follow suit and invest in similar projects to provide high-speed internet access to their residents. There are may initiatives similar to Pictou County being implemented in other parts of Canada to ensure that all Canadians have access to this critical service.