June 15, 2004
(Innovation, Trade and Rural Development)


Twenty-four communities on southern Avalon Peninsula to receive high-speed Internet services

Twenty-four communities on the southern Avalon Peninsula will receive high-speed Internet services through the efforts of a regional economic development board and funding from the provincial government. The Irish Loop Regional Economic Development Board will receive $285,000 from the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development to complement funding the board is receiving from the federal government under the Broadband and Rural and Northern Development (BRAND) initiative.

"Attracting new business to a region depends in part on being able to offer up-to-date infrastructure, particularly high-speed Internet access. I am sure this new service will enhance the board�s economic development efforts," said Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. The Irish Loop Regional Economic Development Board was one of five non-profit organizations across Newfoundland and Labrador approved for funding by the federal government under its BRAND initiative.

The total cost of the The Irish Loop Regional Economic Development Board project is $4 million. Funding from federal sources will cover approximately 63 per cent of the project cost and the rest is being provided by Aliant, the proponents and the provincial government. As a result of this project, 19 communities will receive full broadband coverage and five communities will receive partial coverage.

"To remain competitive in a global economy, we must have quick and easy access to the world around us. This new initiative will provide the Ferryland district with the technological edge that it needs to compete locally, nationally and internationally," said Loyola Sullivan, MHA for Ferryland and Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board. "I have no doubt that high speed Internet will provide the Irish Loop with numerous social, economic and educational benefits."

The Broadband and Rural and Northern Development initiative is a $105 million project of Industry Canada to enable community-based broadband demonstration or pilot projects in communities that have no high-speed Internet access. The total costs for the five Round I projects is estimated at $16.4 million. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is also a partner in this initiative.

The Irish Loop Regional Economic Development Board includes communities from Bay Bulls to Mall Bay on the Southern Avalon Peninsula and is the lead economic development agency in the area.

Media contact: Lynn Evans, Communications, (709) 729-4570

2004 06 15                                       4:20 p.m.

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