Business New Brunswick

Schedule provides timeline for high-speed Internet access for rural New Brunswick (09/06/08)

NB 818

June 8, 2009

MUSQUASH (CNB) - The release today of a fixed wireless coverage map and construction schedule will inform rural communities around the province when they will receive high-speed Internet access. Acting Business New Brunswick Minister Jack Keir and officials from Barrett Xplore Inc. made the announcement in Musquash.

(Multimedia)

"We are pleased to participate in this next phase of providing high-speed Internet access to 100 per cent of New Brunswickers," said Keir. "The map and construction schedule are essential information for residents and business owners who want to know when their communities will get access to this very important economic development tool."

By July 2010, all New Brunswick residents will have high-speed Internet access, thanks to an agreement between Barrett Xplore Inc. and the Government of New Brunswick.

"The construction schedule was designed using sound business criteria," said Charles Beaudet, Barrett Xplore's general manager for Eastern Canada. "We wanted to reach the largest group of households and business customers in the shortest time frame possible, using existing locations to accommodate our choice of technology. New Brunswick's rolling terrain and tall trees make it very difficult to deliver high-speed access via wireless towers only, which is why we are offering immediate access to satellite Internet with no waiting and no contract."

Keir and Barrett Xplore Inc. officials released the map and schedule at the Musquash Fire Department, where a high-speed satellite Internet connection has improved communications with the provincial fire marshal's office, and opened the door to online training for about 40 volunteer firefighters serving the area.

Work on the fixed wireless network will begin immediately, and will focus simultaneously in a number of areas in the province. Some rural areas near and around Florenceville, Grand Falls, Nackawic, Woodstock, Caraquet, Bouctouche, Moncton, Hampton, Oromocto, St. Stephen, Dalhousie and Perth-Andover will be among the first to receive access via fixed wireless. The towers, to be completed by the end of the summer, were identified as those that will allow the company to reach the greatest number of households and business customers in the shortest time.

To help New Brunswickers better understand what services are available to them, Barrett Xplore Inc. has launched a coverage locator tool that will allow people to enter their address to determine what technology, services and pricing is available at their location. Households and businesses without Internet access may also call 1-866-841-6001 to get the same information.

The Woodstock-based high-speed Internet provider is completing a contract with the province to provide high-speed Internet to the remaining 10 per cent of residents who do not currently have it. When the project is finished, New Brunswick will be the first jurisdiction in North America to provide fast, affordable broadband access to 100 per cent of residents and businesses.

Barrett Xplore Inc. is providing rural New Brunswickers with access to fixed wireless and satellite Internet at rates that compare to urban markets. High-speed Internet via satellite technology is currently available to all Barrett Xplore customers in New Brunswick, at the negotiated rate.

For residents and business owners wishing to wait for fixed wireless service, the map explains when and where wireless towers will be built.

"We believe that high-speed Internet access can help rural communities compete in the increasingly connected global marketplace," said Keir. "It can help small businesses be more profitable; allow people to work from home; and help people upgrade their career credentials through online learning. Providing this access is essential to helping rural New Brunswick compete in the global economy."

More information concerning provincewide high-speed Internet access may be found online.

09/06/08

MEDIA CONTACTS: Ryan Donaghy, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-453-2694, e-mail: ryan.donaghy@gnb.ca; Darlene Doucet, Barrett Xplore Inc., The Bristol Group, 506-381-1294.

09/06/08