The upcoming provincial budget will include a plan to improve rural internet access in Nova Scotia, Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said Friday.
MacLellan said there has been a lot of “talking and waiting” about improvements, but he says “the time is now” to get things done.
“It’s a $500-million problem estimated for Nova Scotia, so we have got to spend big to begin approaching a solution to the broadband challenge for many Nova Scotians in remote areas.”
He said the province invested $15 million last year, although he characterizes the overall progress as inching along.
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MacLellan isn’t saying how much funding will be included in the March 20 budget, but says Nova Scotians will be happy with the allocation and the plan.
Earlier this year, Ottawa announced it would spend $27 million to bring high-speed Internet to around 1,500 households in 70 rural and remote communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The majority of that funding comes from Connect to Innovate, a program which aims to provide speeds of five megabits per second or more to underserved communities.
MacLellan said the provincial funding would dovetail with the federal program.
“But at the end of the day this is going to be a big provincial investment,” he said. “We have to start moving the chains on this and we will.”