Feds boost rural high-speed Internet
BY CHARLES TWEED
The federal government and NetSet Communications are teaming up to build 17 new towers in the Brandon-Souris riding, which will provide highspeed Internet access to approximately 90 per cent of homes in the electoral district, according to a source familiar with the announcement.
Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire is set to make the announcement tomorrow, when he will also confirm 13 existing towers in the riding will be upgraded.
“Yes, I can confirm there will be an historic announcement this Friday that will expand access to high-speed Internet services for all of Westman’s communities,” Maguire said. “Thishas been a priority of mine since Day 1 and our government will deliver on our commitment to rural Manitobans.”
The new 250-foot towers and upgrades to existing equipment will mean better coverage, greater stability and faster Internet speeds for some of the area’s smaller and underserved communities.
While the Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission set its national target speed for broadband Internet service at 5 Mbps per second for all Canadians, the new towers are expected to provide access four times faster.
Municipal leaders have long argued that a lack of access to high-speedInternet puts rural areas at a disadvantage on several key fronts, including business and education.
NetSet Communication’s website confirms the company was successful in its application for federal funding through the government’s ‘Digital 150′ strategy and Connecting Rural Canadians program.
The strategy is designed to lead the country into the digital future by 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday.
“As a result of this network build, more than 22,000 households in the Province of Manitoba will have access to the next-generation broadband services through NetSet Communications,” NetSet’s website reads.
“The new service is essential for government, commercial, agricultural and residential users. The broad coverage of the network is especially attractive for multi-location enterprises which will be able to securely operate multiple locations, as though they were all in the same building.”
In May, the government announced service would be extended to more than 4,500new homes in the Provencher riding.
At that announcement, Treasury Minister Tony Clement, Conservative MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, said the projects will cost $305million nationwide.
Construction of the new towers is expected to begin next month and is set to be completed by the summer of 2017.
Details of the new towerslocations are expected to be released tomorrow, as well as the total cost of the project, which is believed to be more than $20 million.
Upgrades to existing towers’ locations include Pierson, Cameron, Lake Metigoshe, Glenora, Pelican Lake, Dand, Napinka, Elgin, Treesbank, Brandon Hills, Brandon, Wolfdale, Fairview, Pratt, Cypress River and Holland.
One additional tower is expected to be built in the Westman area, while three existing towers will also be upgraded.