In their April budget the government announced a new, government-owned, high-speed internet backbone. It would take years to build and be very expensive. In the mean time many, many Islanders still wouldn’t have high speed internet.
I asked why the government is not taking action right now.
I suggested loans to internet service providers – including local internet service providers. This could create dozens, if not hundreds of jobs.
Now in September – only a few months later – the government has cancelled the internet backbone project. Instead they are requesting proposals from internet service providers.
Good to see they are finally listening! If only this government had started taking action sooner.
Video – May 15, 2018 – Take Action Now To Improve High-Speed Internet on PEI
Hansard excerpt – Improve High-Speed Internet on PEI Now
You can see the transcript here starting at page 20 of 76 (labeled 2655):
“Mr. Trivers: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So in the meantime, consumers and businesses, really across this province, are without access to a basic service and they can’t run their business and they can’t live their everyday lives the way that some others in the province can. This government has no problem issuing millions of dollars of loans to help their friends buy hotels. Also, we have a vibrant network of Internet service providers and I think you agree with me, minister, in this province, locally-owned businesses building our communities. Even with the existing high-speed Internet backbone that we have right now on PEI, there are local Internet service providers that are looking to provide real, reliable, high-speed Internet to all Islanders. And in the process, create dozens, if not hundreds of jobs. A question to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism: Why aren’t you making loan dollars available to this industry through a competitive process to get this project done now?
Speaker: The hon. Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.
Mr. Palmer: Mr. Speaker, to build a network across the province takes some planning. I’ve been involved in fibre networks in the past – high-speed Internet delivery across a couple of provinces. I have experience in that and I understand from that experience, planning is the most important part. You need to know where you’re going so that you can drive –
Mr. Trivers: (Indistinct) Islanders are tired of waiting.
Mr. Palmer: – and get the Internet down to the last mile so that ISPs can deliver to get that high-speed Internet to the homes and to the businesses and we are working with all ISPs on PEI to deliver just that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”
Additional Links To Debate – Improve High-Speed Internet on PEI
Here’s another link going back to September 2016 where I was shut down in Standing Committee while debating this subject:
And yet another when I asked questions on November 24, 2016:
Premier Wade MacLauchlan – Fall 2016 – Commitment to Best High-Speed Internet Service In Canada by End of 2017
But this is my favourite quote from the Premier from November 24, 2016:
“Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, it is important to ensure that Islanders have information about the options that are open to them. I had a meeting with three constituents earlier this week, along with officials from the department. They left with information about two additional services that they could consider. That’s what government needs to do and for all of us to recognize, that there are new options, competitive options, and that by the end of next year we’re going to have the best Internet service in Canada.”
See the Hansard at page 11 of 76 (labeled 1732):