Yesterday’s announcement that 97% of Nova Scotia homes and businesses will have high-speed internet by 2022 does little more than anger many residents of CBRM – especially in District 3.
Much of District 3, the second largest district in the municipality, remains deprived of adequate high-speed internet service. Communities like Georges River, Leitches Creek, and Grand Narrows have to rely on outdated, slow, expensive, and unreliable options such as Seaside wireless and Xplornet satellite internet.
One note-worthy exception is the community of Eskasoni; home of District 3 Councillor Esmond “Blue” Marshall. Eskasoni recently partnered with Seaside Communications to establish a fibre optic network in the community, but will not be connecting residents in the surrounding areas.
Develop Nova Scotia, the provincial agency responsible for the rural internet project, relies on the private sector to plan these internet upgrades. Companies like Bell Aliant, Eastlink, and Seaside will only connect communities where they can quickly recoup their investment.
Meanwhile, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has stayed silent on the issue. Yes, the rural internet project is under provincial jurisdiction – but surely CBRM Mayor and Council recognize that the lack of rural high-speed internet is at least partly to blame for the municipalities economic and social woes.
Other municipalities, Pictou County for example, have side-stepped the provincial program and developed their own plans to connect rural residents. This is unquestionably an expensive undertaking, but it must be viewed as an investment – one which will spur long term economic development for the area, not to mention improving the standard of living for residents.
CBRM council has to start being more proactive – pushing the boundaries of municipal jurisdiction, lobbying the federal and provincial governments. CBRM Council needs to do more to support residents in communities.
There is an election coming. I can make these changes happen – but I need your vote.Glen Murrant – candidate for council, CBRM District 3
Coming Soon … PART 2: CB Railways