Slipping through the Net

Gavin Simms
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Broadband project won't bring high speed to every rural community

Anne Barker is frustrated to be off the high-speed grid. "You will never see these small communities grow if we don't get the broadband," said Barker, who lives in the small Bonavista Bay community of Open Hall.

Open Hall, Red Cliffe and Tickle Cove are on a side road off Route 235.

The residents of nearby King's Cove and Plate Cove already have high speed, thanks to a $10-million investment by the province last year that brought the service to more than 60 schools and nearly 100 communities across the island.

Clarenville -

Anne Barker is frustrated to be off the high-speed grid. "You will never see these small communities grow if we don't get the broadband," said Barker, who lives in the small Bonavista Bay community of Open Hall.

Open Hall, Red Cliffe and Tickle Cove are on a side road off Route 235.

The residents of nearby King's Cove and Plate Cove already have high speed, thanks to a $10-million investment by the province last year that brought the service to more than 60 schools and nearly 100 communities across the island.

Open Hall was one of the communities that were left out, leaving Internet users with the slower, dial-up access.

Joanne Marsh of Robinson's Bight understands that frustration.

Living on the main road on Random Island, Marsh was upset last year to learn that while many of the communities on that island would get high speed, she would not.

The school in nearby Hickman's Harbour was hooked up through the province's contract with Eastlink to provide the service. And, although some of the infrastructure that supplies high speed to the school runs right past her house, Marsh and her neighbours cannot access it.

She has two children in high school, depending on dial-up to do research for homework or to access the courses they do through distance education.

"Most of the things they need to do on the Internet they have to wait until they go to school for. It really restricts them in research and homework and that kind of stuff," she said.

Marsh and Barker had hoped the provincial government's recent announcement of a broadband initiative would finally get them faster access.

But they may be out of luck.

The province announced it has asked for proposals from two companies - EastLink Communications and Axia NetMedia Corporation - to build and manage a broadband network.

The network is intended to connect more than a thousand government facilities, including health care institutions, libraries, schools and other offices.

According to a government news release, departments and agencies are spending approximately $25 million a year on telecommunications services. This project will enable the government to divert that spending towards this new system, "and in doing so offer increased services to the public."

Shawn Skinner, minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, said the network will also allow communications companies to offer broadband to local residential and business customers.

"With the high-speed infrastructure that we're going to be bringing, the business case then becomes much more attractive for the private operators out there," Skinner said.

"It will become much more feasible for them to piggyback on the infrastructure we've brought into a community and then bring it to the residential customer.

Once the network is complete, Skinner said, 95 per cent of the population of the province will be able to access high-speed Internet through a communications provider.

Yet, the broadband system won't mean high speed for all. There are many communities that don't have government facilities; places that may not be any more appealing to Internet providers than they were before.

"What we will do for that other five per cent, I don't know," Skinner said. "In two or three years' time, there might be new communications or there might be a new initiative in government to try and help those people.

"What we're doing now is taking it from 80 to 95 per cent, so we're moving in the right direction."

Organizations: Robinson's, EastLink Communications, Axia NetMedia Corporation Rural Development

Geographic location: Open Hall, Bonavista Bay, Plate Cove Random Island Hickman

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • max weber
    January 08, 2013 - 09:25

    This is crazy to me. Here at Socket Telecom in Columbia, Missouri, United States, the government doesn't really provide any of these services. There's really stiff competition between companies to do so. Our company is currently receiving government grant funding to provide high speed internet services to customers in rural areas, but we will pay a majority of the money back.

  • Clayton Ross
    September 02, 2010 - 16:21

    I have been using CRPhone High speed Internet service for almost three years now. The connection is terrific and their customer service is always ready to assist me with the best possible option for my area. There service is available at blazing speeds up to 7.1 Mbps with no credit check or term commitment. Its Direct DSL is even available in select areas without a home phone.

  • Coda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    I live about 30 kms outside of Mount Pearl, and I still can't access this high speed network either. But the town next to me, only another 10 kms further has the darn thing. Go figure.

  • grant
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    seems its always people like dave from sin city who dont understand dial-up. dial-up is not only slow, but interupts the telephone. recieving large files could take hours, no downloading music, no youtube, no news films and it goes on and on. had to drive ten miles to download a map at a school for my gps, or else wait 35 hours with dial-up. everyone should have access to broadband.

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    In the current age of instant gratification, no one has the patience to wait a few minutes or seconds but then again, life can't be too bad if the speed of your Internet connection is your major gripe.

  • Einstein
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    how did these communities grow 500 years ago then? too foolish to talk about. try relocating out of the dollar-on-the-penny boonies if you want big city amenities. when Joanne Marsh of Robinson's Bight speaks of '...research and homework and that kind of stuff', it's the '...that kind of stuff' she should be thankful they are not seeing,

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    This is half the problem with this province everyone expects that they can live anywhere they like regardless if there is only 5 people in your area and expect the government to provide the same services to everyone. I think basic services like phone , basic health care are fine but high speed internet?

  • Coda
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I live about 30 kms outside of Mount Pearl, and I still can't access this high speed network either. But the town next to me, only another 10 kms further has the darn thing. Go figure.

  • grant
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    seems its always people like dave from sin city who dont understand dial-up. dial-up is not only slow, but interupts the telephone. recieving large files could take hours, no downloading music, no youtube, no news films and it goes on and on. had to drive ten miles to download a map at a school for my gps, or else wait 35 hours with dial-up. everyone should have access to broadband.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    In the current age of instant gratification, no one has the patience to wait a few minutes or seconds but then again, life can't be too bad if the speed of your Internet connection is your major gripe.

  • Einstein
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    how did these communities grow 500 years ago then? too foolish to talk about. try relocating out of the dollar-on-the-penny boonies if you want big city amenities. when Joanne Marsh of Robinson's Bight speaks of '...research and homework and that kind of stuff', it's the '...that kind of stuff' she should be thankful they are not seeing,

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    This is half the problem with this province everyone expects that they can live anywhere they like regardless if there is only 5 people in your area and expect the government to provide the same services to everyone. I think basic services like phone , basic health care are fine but high speed internet?