The province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) has signed deals with Bell Canada and Xplornet to extend high speed fixed internet coverage for rural users, Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay announced on Friday. As reported by PEI’s Guardian newspaper, the projects should result in around 97% of PEI households having access to internet download/upload speeds of at least 50Mbps/10Mbps – the minimum broadband standard set by the Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission (CRTC) – by August 2023 via investment totalling CAD74 million (USD53.6 million) including CAD33 million provided by the federal government and CAD3.6 million from the PEI government.
Work on broadband network improvement will begin in April 2020, with Bell tasked with upgrading 9,422 homes with high speed fibre access by 31 December 2021, focused on rural towns including Montague, Cavendish, Mount Stewart, Covehead, Charlottetown, New Haven, Tignish and Tyne Valley. Xplornet will upgrade 20,000 homes – 17,000 using fixed-wireless technology and 3,000 via fibre – by end-August 2023, concentrating on eastern Prince County and parts of Kings County. Mr MacKay said that around 2,000 PEI addresses would remain uncovered by high speed broadband, mostly in harder-to-reach areas.