Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
May 11, 2007

Minister Pleased Opposition Sees Merit in Fibre Optic Project

After months of criticizing government�s decision to invest in a second fibre optic link for the province, the Opposition finally admitted in the House of Assembly and to the media on Thursday that the project has merit.

"It�s refreshing to see that the Opposition has finally recanted its stance and acknowledged to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that this is a good investment," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. "As a result of our openness and accountability on this file and all the information we have released publicly and to the Auditor General, we have clearly demonstrated that all of their accusations and insinuations were unfounded. They were looking for a smoking gun, but admitted it was not there."

Minister Taylor said, however, he remains concerned with the Opposition�s call to restart the process. "I want to be very clear on this," said Minister Taylor. "This government had the absolute and complete authority to approve this project in the manner that we did.

"I think the important thing now is for everyone to start focusing on the merits of this project," said Minister Taylor. "This project will have benefits for both consumers and businesses in the province. We will see new telecommunications services being offered to residents and businesses; and having carrier redundancy will allow businesses to guarantee their connectivity. The second line will also better position our province as a location for information technology development as these firms demand the presence of two independent networks."

Minister Taylor said, along with the creation of significant employment opportunities in the design, build and operation of this network, the people of the province will also enjoy greater access to high-speed Internet and other telecommunications services and, for the first time, fibre optic lines will be built along the south coast of the island. The new network will also give researchers at Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic more affordable access to advanced research networks in the pursuit of major national and international research and development projects.

Minister Taylor also corrected the erroneous statement made by the Opposition about the Northern Peninsula and Labrador being left out of this project. "Nothing could be further from the truth. As part of this project, the province will receive four strands of fibre from Deer Lake to St. Anthony. Also, our consultants are currently investigating how we can best link into Labrador."


Media contact:

Lynn Evans. Director of Communications
Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290

2007 05 11                                                      3:35 p.m.


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