Councillor Martin E. Bell
District 2 - MODL
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Internet to Rural Areas of Nova Scotia

We as a Council have been aware that rural high speed internet is not the best in many parts of our municipality. While this is not an area where a municipality normally has any direct responsibility we have expressed what we are hearing from the general public to our MLA and MP. Canada as a whole has some of the slowest broadband speeds among the developed nations. This is a market in which over 90% is controlled by a handful of telecom giants. There are different concerns as to upload speeds or download speeds or no internet at all depending where you live in the county.

I have attended information meetings to hear what people are saying. I believe we need to engage a network of municipal and community stakeholders to work collaboratively on this issue. Our Council has expressed our concerns to the UNSM and to the Hon. Mark Furey that this is a matter of business. We have to be connected globally and connected to the world in order to do business and have the younger generation access educational sites to meet their needs. I will do what I can to promote the fact that we need to hold service providers accountable for bench marks and there must be penalties in place for non-compliance or time lines not met.

We are being told that it will be five years to deliver service to boost larger communities. If that is the case then what should we expect for smaller communities? I believe MODL needs to look at our options and help consumers pass that middle mile. We need to get to that last mile final stage of connecting our homes to the infrastructure of high speed internet. I believe the rural areas need to be given cost efficient service developed in the same manner telephone service was years ago where rates between the cities and the rural areas were balanced. Paying two hundred dollars a month for service is not acceptable when city residents can get better service for half the cost.