Cape Breton hooking up to high speed internet service
Premier Rodney MacDonald lit the first tower for high-speed internet in rural Cape Breton on Monday at L’Arche Cape Breton in Orangedale.
Fiddler on the roof: Premier Rodney MacDonald hooks up first rural high speed internet user.
Emcee Adam Conter, Seaside Communications, welcomed everyone to L’Arche for the event and thanked everyone at L’Arche for “opening their home to us.”
The event in Orangedale was another milestone for the province’s $75-million Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia initiative that promises 100 per cent high-speed access to all Nova Scotians by the end of 2009.
“We are celebrating Orangedale as the first area in Cape Breton to experience the benefits of high-speed through this initiative that connects rural Nova Scotia quickly and economically to the world,” said Premier MacDonald. “By making this important service available, we are encouraging people to build careers, raise their families and enjoy the advantages of living in rural Nova Scotia.
The premier said it was an exciting day for Nova Scotia because a few years ago when he wanted to bring high-speed to all of Nova Scotia people said it couldn’t be done.
“It can be done, it is being done,” he added. “By next year we will be the most connected province in the country.”
He said the U.S. governors are very interested in what is happening in Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotia will be more connected than most of North America.
The premier said it will help keep and bring people here, grow the economy and give rural Nova Scotia the same infrastructure as our urban friends.
He knew it would happen in Eastern Nova Scotia when Seaside owner Irving Schwartz said, “I guarantee it.”
Irving Schwartz said while this is the first tower, there will be many more towers in the coming months.
In the 31 years of Seaside he said this has been the most challenging and exciting project, to bridge the gap between urban and rural.
He pointed to Halifax Biomedicals of Mabou as an example of what can come to rural areas with the internet.
He said it will enhance education and business opportunities.
“It is the 21st-century equivalent to rural electrification of the last century,” he said.
He called the premier and his government “true pioneers.”
L’Arche Cape Breton is part of an international program creating homes and jobs for people who have developmental disabilities. The Cape Breton location is the only rural member of the L’Arche organization in Canada.
“Our organization is now able to communicate more efficiently and effectively within its partner communities worldwide,” said Jenn Power, executive director of L’Arche Cape Breton. “We attract international staff who now have high-speed connections for research, as well as the ability to communicate with colleagues and family around the world.”
She said they were the only L’Arche community not to have high-speed, and they “are happy to leave that behind.”
“It will be a cost-efficient way to stay in touch, a meeting ground where we can all share news and information and to advocate for people with disabilities,” Power said.
She said it will now be easier to recruit and to keep assistants. The voices of people here will be heard in the 21st century society.
Power spoke of how important YouTube is for the 18-25 crowd.
She said a recent movie starring Ben Stiller used the word retarded, and through YouTube they can say, “Ben, I’m not going to see any more of your movies.”
“They can now fight for their own rights,” she said. “Thanks for making it happen.”
Jakob Brunken, assistant, said he can now stay in touch with his family in Germany and take on-line courses.
Lindsay Quimby, L’Arche resident for 14 years said she can shop, exchange pictures and learn so many new things now that they have high-speed. She can also share her opinions and interests with the world.
Seaside Communications won the contract to provide high-speed access to northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. When its network is completed, the company will be providing upwards of 39,000 civic addresses with the opportunity to subscribe to high-speed.
“We are pleased to partner with the province to help provide this service in our region,” said Irving Schwartz, president of Seaside Communications. “Orangedale is the first of hundreds of sites in our coverage area that we are pleased to connect as a result of rigorous planning.”
The Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia initiative will give Nova Scotia schools, businesses and families the opportunity to connect and compete worldwide. It is being cost-shared by the provincial and federal governments and high-speed service providers.
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