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High-speed hopes for Antigonish County

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county logo final - Corey LeBlanc

Municipal officials waiting for word on provincial contracts

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

Officials with the Municipality of the County of Antigonish are waiting for word on its request to Develop Nova Scotia – a provincial Crown corporation – for improved broadband service.    

“We, obviously, communicated to them the importance of broadband throughout the whole area,” McCarron said.    

“Once you get outside the hub – the fringe area – broadband is sketchy, to say the least.”    

He added the municipality has asked Develop Nova Scotia for “a wide variety of consideration,” when it comes to selecting areas to receive high-speed service.    

Last year, Develop Nova Scotia – as its website describes – was tasked with the newly-expanded mandate to provide province-wide high-speed internet.    

After engaging stakeholders, it created the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative Strategy and developed its competitive process.    

After issuing a request for suppliers, in late 2018, Develop Nova Scotia reviewed the submissions and created a list of 10 approved providers, which were invited to submit proposals in Feb. 2019.    

A couple months later, they were asked to respond to the first request for proposals (RFPs) – specifically, for projects that could be completed within six to 12 months – which carried a June 28 deadline.    

Over the summer, Develop Nova Scotia evaluated the submissions and has started negotiations with those providers, while it has also issued a second request for suppliers.    

Once contracts are signed, they expect to announce the first round of internet projects this fall, with some initiatives possibly beginning before the end of 2019.      

“Hopefully, within a couple weeks, there will be something out from them with respect to how the proposal for Antigonish County looks,” McCarron said.    

“We are hopeful – it is certainly something that the public has been asking for; recognizing the need for this is huge, in terms of providing small, home-based businesses an opportunity to succeed.    

“Again, we are waiting, and we are certainly hopeful that it gives us good coverage beyond what currently exists,” he added.

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