Residents in Stanley Bridge cutting cheques to improve 'very slow' internet

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Internet infrastructure upgrades coming to north shore Resort Municipality

The resort municipality that looks after various communities in the Cavendish area of P.E.I. is hoping some extra cheques from residents will help encourage an internet provider to improve service.

"We believe that solutions require people to step up and contribute," said Matthew Jelley, chair of Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico.

Jelley has been talking to residents around Seawood Estates about signing cheques to help the municipality come up with a proposal to lure a provider to give that particularly bad area better internet.

"We've gone door to door and said are you willing to make a capital contribution to make higher speed internet in this community a reality," said Jelley. 

"A large number of the residents have said yes."

$500 per household

Jelley explained the collecting the actual cheques will begin soon. He estimated about $30,000 already pledged. 

"We set the standard at $500 per household," he said

The area of Seawood Estates in Stanley Bridge is just outside the main tourist area. 

"This area, and the businesses surrounding it on Route 6, I would submit, have some of the worst internet within our community and some of the worst internet on Prince Edward Island right now," said Jelley who also has a cottage in the subdivision. 

'Our internet service is very bad'

Tourist operator Barbara Witte owns Beach & Breeze Cottages and can't wait for bettter service. 

"Our internet service is very bad here, really bad, it's very slow, it cuts out at times," said Witte. 

"We have a big problem with bad comments on wifi," She said.  

"We are really hoping that he [Jelley] can push the process forward and get us on high speed internet very soon."

Witte has pledged $2,000 to help improve service — more than the residential amount, to cover her business.

Jelley said the municipality will also contribute about $11,000 and it has applied for additional funding from federal and provincial government. 

Economic importance of good internet

​Matthew Jelley believes internet now falls in the same category as essentials like roads, water and electricity. 

"What used to be seen as a luxury service is now a very basic thing that people expect," said Matthew Jelley.

He said improving the service will make a tremendous difference, and will boost the local economy.

"It impacts decisions on buying, improving homes, how much time you live there."

"We've had people come that want to operate a home based business from this area because of the beauty of it and can't do it because it's just not reliable enough," he said.

"We're forecasting that we should be able to achieve a 100,000 per cent increase in available speeds in this community." 

Hoping deal close

Jelley said the community has met with several providers over the last couple of years has now identified the company they want to work with, they are not making that name public yet.

"We've identified a preferred provider and hoping to conclude an agreement, but it's contingent on an additional funds,"said Jelley. 

Eastlink confirmed it is working with the community.

The municipality hopes to have better internet in time for the summer. 

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