April 22, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Hundreds of rural New Brunswickers are enjoying faster Internet access at lower prices as the result of a recent agreement between the provincial government and Barrett Xplore Inc. Under this agreement, all residents and businesses in the province will have access to high-speed service by July 2010.
"I am pleased that Barrett Xplore Inc., is meeting its obligations under the contract, and it has reduced the price of its Internet service to reflect the government's investment," said Business New Brunswick Minister Greg Byrne. "We are well on our way to becoming the first jurisdiction in North America to deliver high-speed Internet to 100 per cent of our people."
On Feb. 3, the government announced plans to invest $13 million toward building the infrastructure needed to provide fixed wireless and satellite Internet coverage in rural New Brunswick. The investment is creating about 200 jobs in New Brunswick.
The government's investment ensures new broadband customers will pay $99 for professional installation, regardless of where they live or the type of technology offered. Customers are charged monthly fees of $44.99 for fixed wireless or $49.99 for satellite. These fees will include the rental cost of equipment without contract term requirements.
Charles Beaudet, general manager for Barrett Xplore Inc. Eastern Canada, said customers started receiving the lower rates on Feb. 3, and hundreds of customers have signed up for the new, high-speed satellite option.
Beaudet said the design and construction schedule for a new wireless network is on schedule to be completed in May. Barrett Xplore Inc. is planning to use about 200 new or improved wireless towers.
"The tall trees and rolling terrain in combination with relatively low population density makes it challenging for us in terms of delivering of high-speed Internet service using our fixed wireless technology," said Beaudet. "This means that our network will be constructed to use fixed wireless towers wherever possible and satellite services for areas that cannot be serviced by the towers."
About 90 per cent of the province already has access to high-speed Internet, thanks in part to a $44.6 million federal-provincial infrastructure program launched in 2003. This newest investment will extend Internet service to an estimated 39,000 dwellings, located mostly in rural and low-density population areas.
The government is helping to offset the cost because it is not economically viable for the private sector to cover all of the expenses to extend Internet service to sparsely populated areas.
Barrett Xplore Inc. has been contracted to provide high-speed Internet to customers with the minimum configuration standards:
"Our goal was to provide the best possible service for residents and businesses at a fair and affordable price - and at the best possible price for taxpayers," said Byrne. "I am confident we have achieved this, and I am excited about the benefits that high-speed Internet access will bring to our rural communities."
For more information, visit www.gnb.ca/cnb/promos/bnb/index-e.asp or contact Xplornet Customer Care at 1-866-841-6001.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Ryan Donaghy, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-453-2694, e-mail, email@example.com; Darlene Doucet, Barrett Xplore Inc. (The Bristol Group), 506-381-1294, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.