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Bell Aliant and Innovation PEI reveal 1st and 2nd recipients of Rural Broadband Fund


August 31, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

August 31, 2010

Innovation PEI and Bell Aliant will offer support worth $331,000 to six rural information technology projects through the Rural Broadband Fund, said Allan Campbell, minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning.

“Through the Island Prosperity Strategy and the Rural Action Plan, we have committed this government to developing information technology and to using this technology to help support development in all areas of this province,” said Campbell. “Our partnership with Bell Aliant in this program supports the advancement of [IT] across Prince Edward Island through the Island-wide broadband network.”

Innovation PEI and Bell Aliant have offered funding to a total of six
projects. One project was supported under the first round of funding and
another five were supported through the second round. They are:

• Thinking Big Information Technology Inc.: the Charlottetown company is
partnering with the PEI Seafood Processors Association to create a
lobster tracking system using smart-phone technology.

• Gorman Controls Inc.: A South Melville-based company, Gorman Controls
will develop a storage controller aimed at the agricultural industry for
monitoring environmental factors in storage facilities.

• University of Prince Edward Island: UPEI, in collaboration with local
cultural sites across West Prince, will use the open source Islandora
software to develop a multimedia community archive portal containing a
historical and cultural data on the region. The project will also
develop an iPad version of the portal.

• SiteValet: SiteValet is a web-based tool for inns and B&Bs to
build and manage better websites for their business. With proceeds from
the Rural Broadband Fund, SiteValet will offer a series of special
offers and programs to help more of The Island’s rural tourism operators
improve their websites and their overall web presence.

• Holland College: The IT faculty at Holland College will develop an
interactive telepresence education program, enabling rural Islanders to
access distance training in IT. The enriched telepresence in this
project will provide added-value to media-rich learning environments,
while pioneering innovation in distance learning for rural Islanders.

• PEI Monitoring Inc.: This organization will make an Island-based
ULC-certified monitoring centre available to any security company, and
will provide a variety of security services such as cameras, home
security and remote data storage services. Island-based security
companies requiring ULC certification currently outsource their
monitoring services off-Island.

Innovation PEI is in the final stages of contract negotiations with the
Rural Broadband Fund recipients. Projects are expected to begin this
fall.

“Bell Aliant is pleased to be able to help stimulate innovation and
support information technology development across PEI through this
Fund,” said Bruce Howatt, VP, PEI, Bell Aliant. “Our significant
investment in the fund—along with our continued support in communities
across PEI—is testament to our overall commitment to Islanders now and
into the future.”

The Rural Broadband Fund was launched in December 2009 with the mandate
to stimulate PEI’s rural economy through the use of the Island-wide
broadband network.

One project was funded out of the seven applications submitted to the
first call for applications. A second call was issued in April 2010 with
a total of 10 submitted applications and five offered funding.
Applications were evaluated by a peer review committee consisting of
representatives from the Province and Bell Aliant.

The next call for applications to the Rural Broadband Fund is expected
to be released in the summer of 2011. Three more rounds of funding are
expected in order to fulfil the province’s commitment of $1 million over
five years.

CLICK HERE for Innovation PEI.