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Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
June 29, 2011

Rural Broadband Initiative Launched with Call for Proposals

Internet service providers are invited by the Provincial Government to develop a plan to assist in improving broadband access in underserviced areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Over the last several months, officials from the Provincial Government have engaged with industry on a variety of solutions to address broadband access in underserviced areas of the province,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. “Today’s release of a call for proposals creates the environment to have formal discussions with industry and protects their intellectual property, while providing the Provincial Government with the ability to address broadband availability in the province.”

Through the Rural Broadband Initiative, the Provincial Government will work with industry and government partners and within the confines of a sector that is heavily-regulated by the Federal Government, to advance initiatives that improve broadband access in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Our track record of successful investments and partnerships has created a positive foundation from which we can implement our Rural Broadband Initiative,” said Minister Sullivan. “The benefits attached to our previous investments totalling $20.6 million and the more than $90 million which they have in turn levered has led to considerable growth in access. The most notable benefit is that broadband access is now available in 450 communities – up from 114 communities in 2003. We believe that through partnerships with industry and the Federal Government we can continue to create greater access in the province.”

Internet service providers seeking more information and/or terms and conditions should contact Hayward Keats at 709-729-0677 or haywardkeats@gov.nl.ca. The call for proposals will also be available at www.gov.nl.ca/intrd. The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 5, at 4:00 p.m.

“Each submission will be closely examined for maximum benefit, as well as the potential impact on residential and commercial users,” said Minister Sullivan. “We anticipate being in a position to announce next steps of the Rural Broadband Initiative later this year. We will be prudent and ensure maximum return on our investments.”

Budget 2011 Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador, allocated $8 million to improve broadband access in underserviced areas and take steps to further develop an internal telecommunications network.

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Media contact:
Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290

2011 06 29                                                                          9:30 a.m.

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