Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
February 21, 2019

Provincial Government Partnering with Industry and Communities to Expand Cellular Service in St. Mary’s Bay

The Provincial Government’s latest project to expand wireless coverage in communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador was announced today by the Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister of Service NL and MHA for Placentia - St. Mary's, on behalf of the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.

Through a cost-shared agreement between SMB Connect Inc. and Bell Canada, the Provincial Government is contributing $258,000 to expand cellular service to the communities in the southwest portion of Avalon Peninsula, specifically the St. Mary’s Bay area, which currently does not have access to cellular coverage. This non-repayable contribution represents 25 per cent of total funding for the project, which is estimated to cost over $1 million. Bell will contribute $639,000, with SMB Connect Inc. funding the remaining portion.

The funding will enable the deployment of Bell’s LTE (Long Term Evolution) broadband wireless technology throughout the communities.

Representing the communities of St. Mary’s, Gaskiers-Point La Haye, Riverhead and St. Vincent’s-St. Stephen’s-Peter’s River, SMB Connect Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the region on behalf of local community groups, businesses and municipalities to integrate technology with economic development initiatives.

In April 2018, as part of Budget 2018 and through the Regional Development Fund, the Provincial Government issued a call for proposals that would invest $1 million in a new cost-shared cellular service pilot program, contributing up to a maximum of 25 per cent of project costs towards cellular coverage infrastructure upgrades. With the remaining 75 per cent provided by the service provider, municipalities, private ventures, co-operatives, social enterprises and/or regional government partnerships. The final submission date for proposals was October 1, 2018.

Support for innovation and technology delivers on commitments in The Way Forward to strengthen the province’s economic foundation and deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at thewayforward.gov.nl.ca.

Quotes
“Our investment in cellular communications is increasing business and community competitiveness, improving quality of life and enhancing health and public safety services. I applaud the partnership between these communities in St. Mary’s Bay, to further strengthen and enhance the region.”
Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

“I am delighted with this announcement today to expand cellular coverage to the greater St. Mary’s Bay area. Cellular service is a critical piece of infrastructure that we rely heavily on. It is an integral part of doing business, sustaining rural communities, and growing tourism. As outlined in Budget 2018, government is committed and delivering on its promise for improved cellular coverage in rural communities.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL and MHA for Placentia - St. Mary’s

“Connectivity is one of the biggest barriers to diversifying rural economies. This investment will allow the region to access the necessary infrastructure to unlock the full potential of the tourism industry as well as provide a better quality of life for residents. We would like to thank our partners at Bell Canada, the municipalities of the area, Minister Gambin-Walsh and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation for their support on this project.”
Colin Corcoran
SMB Connect Inc.

“Bell is proud to partner with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, local communities and SMB Connect to expand Bell broadband wireless coverage in the St. Mary’s Bay area. Through this investment, residents, local businesses and visitors will have access to Bell’s advanced wireless infrastructure and the connectivity and economic development opportunities that mobile broadband delivers.”
Glen LeBlanc
Vice Chair, Atlantic, Bell Canada

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Learn more
Cellular Service Pilot Initiative Call for Proposals PDF icon

Bell Canada external link icon

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Media contacts
Eric Humber
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
709-729-4819, 725-9655
erichumber@gov.nl.ca

Krista Dalton
Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492
kristadalton@gov.nl.ca

Colin Corcoran
SMB Connect Inc.
709 728 3196
smbconnect@outlook.com

Isabelle Boulet
Bell Canada
506-457-5554, 506-478-7823
isabelle.boulet@bellaliant.ca

2019 02 21                              12:40 p.m.