Annapolis County pitches sale of rural internet system

·2 min read
The rural internet system is being constructed by Eagle and is supposed to be completed by March 2022. (Google Streetview - image credit)
The rural internet system is being constructed by Eagle and is supposed to be completed by March 2022. (Google Streetview - image credit)

The Municipality of the County of Annapolis has put out a call for companies interested in buying its rural internet system that is under construction.

Annapolis County has invested $13 million into 480 kilometres of high-speed cable that will pass by about 9,500 homes and businesses.

The total cost is $17 million, with additional money from the provincial and federal governments.

The network is being constructed by Eagle. It's supposed to be completed by next March.

The system will be operated and maintained by Seaside Communications, which has a contract until 2025.

According to the request for proposals, the municipality began the project in 2017 "because of a lack of commercial interest in providing high speed internet services to underserved communities."

Quality must be maintained

But the municipality's warden said councillors have had a change of heart.

"Council felt they shouldn't be running a business like this," said Alan Parish. "There's a lot of internet providers in the area."

If Annapolis County does decide to sell the system, there will be conditions, including a fixed cost to residential customers for a period of five years.

"The system we are putting in is very high speed and the [request for proposals] requires anybody that purchases the system to maintain that quality," said Parish.

The municipality is looking to recover all of its costs. Companies have until Oct. 25 to submit bids.

Annapolis County has reserved the right to reject all of the proposals.

If the sale does go ahead, the municipality wants to have a new agreement in place by the end of this year so the new owners can take over when construction is finished.

It would also leave Pictou County as the only municipality in the province that owns an internet system.

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