Antigonish County lobbies for better cell service after Internet announcement

ANTIGONISH: Better Internet is on the way for parts of the county and municipal council is aiming for better cell phone coverage as well.

On February 7, Develop Nova Scotia announced the first round of Internet for Nova Scotia initiative projects. The Nova Scotia Internet Trust Fund is investing $2.6 million to offer wired connections to approximately 1,500 homes and businesses in an area described as the Eastern Strait, affecting communities including Goshen and parts of Antigonish County’s Districts 1 and 3.

Warden Owen McCarron said Bell will expand coverage for Cape George, Arisaig, and West Lochaber.

“Several companies bid on bits and pieces across the province, so Bell was the successful one here in this area,” said McCarron. “So they got a commitment of funding from Develop [NS] to expand the cable and fibre through the Cape [George] and Arisaig area and also out the Number 7-West Lochaber as well so that’s a great thing for us. Those are areas where it was noted for a long time the broadband coverage was poor.”

Develop Nova Scotia already started work in a few areas and will start in most communities this year. Develop Nova Scotia is also issuing another call for projects for areas in need of improved service.

A release from the province states an investment of almost $45 million is committed to the 11 announced projects through the Nova Scotia Internet Trust Fund, a $193 million fund established in 2018 by the government.

During a regular meeting on February 10, council voted to issue a Request For Proposals for cell providers for residents in District 1, which includes Cape George, Pleasant Valley, Maryvale, and Arisaig.

“That is in hopes of looking at expanding cellular coverage in that area,” said McCarron. “We’re going to work very closely though and funding opportunities to see if there is a possibility we can get more cellular connectivity in that region.”

For more on attempts to improve Internet service in Antigonish County, go to: https://porthawkesburyreporter.com/antigonish-county-continues-push-better-internet-cell-services/.