Ottawa spending $55 million to connect rural N.B. communities to high-speed internet

·1 min read

FREDERICTON — The federal government said Friday it will invest $55 million to expand high-speed internet in several rural, remote and Indigenous communities in New Brunswick.

Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings says the funding will help connect 11,000 households.

"Connectivity was an issue long before the pandemic, but the pandemic kind of ripped off the Band-Aid," Hutching said as she made the announcement in Miramichi, N.B.

We have kids now doing their homework around the kitchen table; we can work from home, can access goods and services and medical appointments online and keep in touch with loves ones," she said. "It's also our future for Canada because that's where the true economic growth is."

Details of the projects with Rogers and Xplornet will be announced in the coming months, but the minister said the projects will involve connecting homes with fibre-optic cable.

The funding announcement did not include provincial funding.

"I have memorandums of understanding with Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island," Hutchings said. "This funding today is strictly federal government money. We're in negotiations with other provinces and territories."

Hutchings said there will still be about 20,000 New Brunswick homes without high-speed access that will need to be included in future projects.

The federal government has set a national target of giving all Canadians access to high-speed internet by 2030.

Earlier this week, Bell announced plans to expand fibre broadband access to more than 20,000 locations in New Brunswick. That plan, which is fully funded by Bell, will expand access in more than 25 communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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