Seaside in the news
2009-11-24 -AllNovaScotia.com - Last leg of broadband moves slowly
By Gillian Cormier
The process to get broadband internet into the remotest parts of Nova Scotia seems to be moving slower than a dial-up connection.~
Fewer than 28% of EastLink's broadband towers will be providing service to customers by the end of this year - the province's target for 100% broadband coverage in Nova Scotia.
"EastLink will meet its commitment to 100% coverage, however not all of that coverage will occur by the end of the year", EastLink spokesperson Jill Laing said in an email.
"By the end of December, we expect to have 80 of 105 towers complete, and of those 29 will be 'in service', and by 'in service' we mean customers will have access to High Speed Wireless Internet".
Of the 105 towers EastLink will service, 71 are new construction and 34 are existing towers.
Seaside, the other successful bidder in the rural broadband initiative, is faring better. However, it too will not see 100% coverage at the end of 2009. Adam Conter, spokesperson for Seaside, says as of yesterday the company has competed about 83%
of its contracted coverage area. He says they expect to hit 93% by Christmas.
He says 161 Seaside structures have been erected, with about 20 more to go. Conter said that Seaside (and likely EastLink as well) put up a performance bond that is forfeited if targets dates are not met. However, he doesn't expect Seaside will lose the bond.
"I imagine this (the broadband contract) is going to be treated as a living document", he said, adding initial assumptions about scheduling were ambitious. Seaside will be working through the winter to get to 100% coverage, he says. "The last 7% is the most difficult", said Conter.
"We do know how we're going to do it and where it needs to be done. It's a matter of rolling it out as quickly as possible once the backbone and the ribs are completed".
Laing says Eastlink's remaining sites will be in service between January and May 2010.
"Several previously planned location towers are now in the new build category, which has slowed our progress in those areas", wrote Laing.
"While we won't meet the stated time line for full coverage by the end of December, 2009, we will meet the commitment of full coverage".
Mary Jane Fumerton, spokesperson for the Economic and Rural Development Department, says more than 93% of Nova Scotians now have access to broadband, while only 80% had access before the initiative began.
She says this is unprecedented in Canada, as more than 600 new communities now have the opportunity to access reliable high-speed.
The rural broadband initiative involved a $35 million investment from the federal and provincial governments and $40 million from EastLink and Seaside.
Seaside High-Speed can be reached at:
Phone: 1 888 965 5511
Fax: 1 902 539 3224
c/o Customer Service
325 Vulcan Avenue
Sydney, Nova Scotia