1st tower installed in Pictou County internet project

One of the 17 towers needed for the high-speed internet system in Nova Scotia’s Pictou County has been installed.

The municipality is the only one in the province that plans to construct and own its network. It will have to install 1,123 kilometers of fiber optic cable.

Warden Robert Parker said at a March council meeting the municipality was “very close” to having its first customers.

Pictou County council has committed $54 million to the project. The municipality is receiving $4.4 million from Ottawa.

The councilor for District 2 said at the March council meeting that she is hearing from residents who are worried about the price tag.

“The debt we’re putting this county in with the internet, along with the debt of the province and the debt federally, people are just getting really concerned and I have to agree with them on that,” said Coun. Debbie Wadden.

There will be an update on the internet project at a series of ratepayer meetings over the next three weeks. The first one will take place Wednesday night at the Millbrook Community Hall.

According to a presentation put together for the meetings, the municipality plans to pay for the construction of the system by leasing the infrastructure to different service providers.

Municipal officials plan to have wireless service ready by the end of summer and the fiber optic service done by the end of 2023.

A spokesperson for Develop Nova Scotia, which is overseeing internet projects in the rest of Nova Scotia, told CBC News in an email that two-thirds of the 90,000 rural residents in those parts of the province now have access to high-speed service and there should be 98 per cent coverage by the end of 2023.

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