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Proposals welcome under The Rock’s Rural Broadband Initiative


September 17, 2012
By Alyssa Dalton

September 17, 2012 – The Newfoundland and Labrador government today issued a call for proposals under its Rural Broadband Initiative to help encourage internet service providers expand their services to communities currently without broadband access.

By implementing the Rural Broadband Initiative, the provincial government says it is providing an incentive for carriers to deliver access where the business case is not strong enough for them to make investments by themselves.

“Today’s call for proposals further represents a long-standing commitment that this administration has made to improving broadband access, as well as the overarching telecommunications sector, in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Keith Hutchings, minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development.

“It is through this process that we can outline our working relationship with our commercial partners – within a federally-regulated sector – to make it more attractive for them to deliver more advanced services to residents who are currently without access,” he continued.

In 2011, the provincial government provided $7 million to internet service providers to address capacity issues in Labrador and create broadband access in communities in the Northern Peninsula, western, central, southern, and eastern regions of the province. These investments brought the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s total commitment to improving broadband access to more than $27 million.

“By working with industry we have been able to increase the number of communities with broadband access by 312 per cent since 2003,” said Hutchings. “Approximately 85% of the island has access while in Labrador that number has grown to more than 95%, we are looking to build on this progress and identify opportunities where we can continue to make advancements in broadband and the telecommunications sector as a whole.”

Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future has allocated $2 million for the Rural Broadband Initiative.

Internet service providers seeking more information and/or terms and conditions should contact Hayward Keats at 709-729-0677 or hayardkeats@gov.nl.ca. The call for proposals is also available online at www.gov.nl.ca/ibrd. The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 2 at 5:00 p.m.