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I'm in a project area. What happens when the project is complete?

Bell:
As projects are complete or nearing completion, Bell has indicated they plan to reach out to customers by phone, door knockers and door-to-door (COVID permitting) as that is available. Local retailers will also share information once they know locations covered. Residents can check availability here. This is updated as Bell enters information and addresses into their system once work is complete and access to connections available.

Branches/call centres may not have this information until a location is complete or nearing completion. They can then provide more information on pricing, options etc. at that time.

Eastlink:
Visit the Eastlink contact site here.

Cross Country:
Visit the Cross Country site to check on their service area section here. You can also contact them through the site with specific questions and ask to sign up for notifications.

Mainland Telecommunications:
Visit their Support section here.

Seaside Communications:
Visit theSeaside Communications Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative page here. This page outlines the various project areas, and anticipated timelines. A Contact section is also available.

Xplore (previously Xplornet):
Xplore updates overall plan availability options on their website to include coverage for all towers as available and fibre options. You can visit contact them here or you can call 1-877-959-5717 to learn more about availability etc. They can also add you to an update list if service isn’t currently available at this time.

They’ve come to do work in our area (trim trees, run cable etc.) but haven’t been back?

To help projects stay on track, crews may move from project area to project area depending on what work can be completed or advanced at the time in a certain area.

What is make-ready work and why does that impact some estimated completion dates?

When a project area is announced, the provider still needs to do some detailed site and engineering work. This helps refine the footprint so more detail around street and address level detail can be provided.

Part of the project work is make-ready work. This can include tree trimming, pole inspections, pole replacements with new poles, and water and road/railway crossing permits. The level of work can vary and providers also work with other levels of government and private sector on these items. We continue to work with partners to speed up regulatory approvals and optimize coordination among all of the partners.

Am I getting fibre?

All solutions delivered through this initiative must meet or exceed minimum speed targets. The majority of projects are fibre or coax directly to the home, but not all. Speeds can be delivered through a variety of technologies, including fibre/coaxial, signal off a tower, or satellite -- and all are considered in terms of solutions for those remaining.

It looks like fibre is now outside of my house. How do I know?

Access to connections is the final step in the process. Items including networks that are downstream, termination equipment, and back-office support must be in place prior to making service available to customers. Please refer to our list of complete addresses on project pages as available or ISP websites to know when service is available to order.

What speeds should I expect with approved projects?

All projects approved for funding by the arms-length Trust in Round 2 are fibre to the home/business, which provides much higher speed service than the minimum speeds required by the CRTC.

All projects will meet or exceed minimum required speeds of 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for wired connections, and 25 Mbps download/5Mbps upload for wireless connections, with a plan to reach 50 Mbps across the board. Projects that aren't able to meet these standards are not recommended for funding.

Speeds are delivered through a variety of technologies, including fibre/coaxial, signal off a tower, or satellite.

How do I know when I can get service in my project area?

When access to connections are available to an address, that information is fed by the provider into their customer service centre. They may also reach out to potential customers in advance and can also provide more information on options, pricing etc.

How does this project help ensure I will get high-speed access? We talked to a provider in our area and they indicated costs to us would be substantial?

These barriers to extending access are exactly what this initiative is designed to overcome. The reason that service has not been extended in many areas has to do with the business case for Internet providers—it just isn’t strong enough to make extending the service a worthwhile business investment.

This initiative helps bridge the gaps with respect to pre-qualified Internet Service Providers' business cases. The funding from the Trust, when combined with funding from the private sector as well as, in some cases, municipalities, helps to defray the costs of the significant infrastructure build-out required to reach homes and businesses in less densely populated areas of the province.

Why are some areas complete and others not until 2023?

Projects announced in Round 1 were projects that could be substantially complete in 6-12 months. These areas often had some or all of the required backbone, or key infrastructure in place. Round 2 and expansion projects are generally much larger in scope than round 1 projects, requiring greater amounts of planning, make-ready, materials and labour to complete.

Internet Service Provider’s outline what they expect to over within an estimated timeframe and in different project areas. Projects are completed in stages, so access to connections can happen and not all necessarily at the end of the estimated timeline.

My area is further out than originally thought re: getting access? What are my options in the interim?

If you’re in a Bell project area for example, there may be a Bell wireless high-speed option available. This is a separate Bell project. As part of the 10-year Service Delivery Agreement between Develop Nova Scotia and the providers, customers of the provider who have current contracts with them will be permitted to opt out of their existing contract without penalty. Starlink, which is a low earth satellite service in our region, may also be an option to explore in the interim.

It seems like it takes a long time for some of these projects to be completed?

It is a complex infrastructure project that relies on the installation of thousands of kilometres of fibre and significant engineering and preparation to enable the delivery. You may not see work in the area but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

It’s like building a house. You start with designing the home, followed by clearing the building lot, next secure the materials and then construction begins. There is a lot of the work behind the scenes that you don’t necessarily see. Plumbing, wiring – work that needs to happen to have lights and water.

Having access to the high-speed Internet connection is the end result with the required work happening along the way.

I understand I’m in an unserved/underserved area. What does that mean for me?

The goal remains to bring high-speed internet access for as close to 100 per cent of the remaining homes and businesses as possible.

The Satellite Internet Service Rebate program announced July 29, 2022 will cover the one-time costs for eligible homes and businesses to set-up satellite internet, including hardware, taxes, shipping and installation, up to a maximum of $1,000. The rebate will be available to about 3,700 homes and businesses for which no other internet service solution has been found.

The program, led by Develop Nova Scotia, opened on Tuesday, August 2. Nova Scotians should confirm they are eligible for the rebate before purchasing satellite equipment. They can confirm their eligibility by visiting https://internet.developns.ca/satellite and entering their home or business address.

It has since expanded to residents and business owners who are not expected to gain access to wired or wireless internet until after December 31, 2023. The expansion is expected to help an additional estimated 2,200 homes and businesses.

Depending on program uptake, we will assess how best to expand the program further. Click here to learn more about how the program works.

What is the Satellite Internet Rebate Program?

For remaining underserved, the Satellite Internet Service Rebate Program will cover the one-time costs for eligible homes and businesses to set-up satellite internet, including hardware, taxes, shipping and installation, up to a maximum of $1,000.

The rebate is available to the approximate 3,700 homes and businesses for which no feasible wired or wireless internet solution has been found.

The program has expanded to residents and business owners who are not expected to gain access to wired or wireless internet until after December 31, 2023. The expansion is expected to help an additional estimated 2,200 homes and businesses. Depending on program uptake, we will assess how best to expand the program further.

My area was included in the scope expansions projects announced in November 2020 and January 2021. When will these scope expansion projects be completed?


Overall, it is anticipated that all homes and businesses as part of the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative will have access to improved network by the end of or before 2023. We fully expect that these projects will continue to be completed in stages (as some are complete or nearing completion for example) and many will be done prior to the end of 2023.

Access to connections will be ongoing up to and including this date. We are working closely with Internet Service Providers to accelerate the work as much as possible and anticipate some will be complete earlier than that. Please continue to check back for more details and updates.

How do I know if I’m included in Round 2 projects?

With the Round 2 announcement announced in September 2020, an additional 32,000 homes and businesses will have access to connections—all with fibre to the home. This agreement with pre-qualified Internet service provider, Bell Media includes more than 100 communities across the province.

For a general list of project areas, click here. This details communities or parts of communities that are included in all projects to date.

We will also be hosting community-based webinars in many areas as well as sharing information with local libraries, community hubs, etc.

Why has only Bell Canada been awarded in Round 2?

The Round 2 RFP was open to all 15 pre-qualified proponents and we received proposals from a number of them. In this case, when the proposals were evaluated and scored, the highest ranked projects all happened to be Bell projects. You will recall that five separate ISPs, both big and small, were awarded projects through Round 1.

We should also recognize CRTC regulations around open access mean that portions of backbone networks installed are open to other providers to access, so more robust Internet networks could encourage further competition at the customer level over time.

Why do projects take so long to complete?

Having access to a connection is really the final step in the process. So even if you don’t see work going on in your community, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t started.

These projects are large and complex with significant engineering challenges and the requirement to install thousands of kilometres of fibre. Completion takes place in stages depending on when the project begins and the amount of preparation and engineering required. We recognize the urgency.

We are making good progress and we will continue to work with our providers to accelerate projects wherever possible. We know how important reliable high-speed Internet is for Nova Scotians. It is simply essential in our modern world.

How do you keep the project/providers on track?

Develop Nova Scotia has signed Contribution and Service Delivery Agreements with the providers. The Contribution Agreement includes provisions for the regular review of network construction (inspections and audits) and progress against schedule for the projects. The Service Delivery Agreement includes provisions that require regular quality and service reporting to ensure the network is meeting the standards defined by Develop Nova Scotia (ie. upload/download speeds, etc.).

Develop Nova Scotia has regular meetings with partners to review and check progress against their objectives. We are able to check on equipment and installation progress through pictures and video, and, when it is safe to do so, through in-person inspections by an experienced network engineer.

How do you monitor progress and ensure accountability with these agreements?

The Service Level Agreements signed with Develop Nova Scotia include provisions that require regular quality and service reporting and allow us to inspect and audit the network installation.

We are having regular meetings with partners to review and check progress against their objectives. We are able to check on equipment and installation progress through pictures and video, and, when it is safe to do so, through in-person inspections by an experienced network engineer.

Why are you going through a formal process and don’t just give money to providers if they already have infrastructure in place near my home/business/community?

We work through a competitive procurement process which is important. It ensures fairness, transparency in how proposals are evaluated, and informed decision-making. It encourages both large and small organizations, of many different types, to participate— illustrated by the funded projects announced in February 2020 which will see access to connections provided for more than 42,000 homes and businesses. With our project announcement in September 2020, there will now be access to connections for an additional 32,000 Nova Scotians. The scope expansion projects announced in November 2020 and January 2021 will bring access to connections to an additional 12,300.

It is because of the integrity of this process that good recommendations can be made to the arms-length Trust for the investment of significant public funds. We also work to leverage funds from the Internet Service Providers and other partners.

What about affordability of service? Are there data caps with any of the approved projects?

Included in the Service Level Agreements with providers are provisions to ensure pricing competitiveness. Comparable Internet services must be price competitive with those already available, regardless of where they are offered. The same service should be priced the same in Scots Bay as it is in Halifax.

In terms of data caps, this is something that is regulated federally by the CRTC. However, in order for a service to be cost competitive between markets, what you receive as part of that service must be comparable. If one service has a data cap, and the other does not, the services are not comparable.

I am having issues with my current Internet provider. What are my options?

If you are not able to resolve directly you can reach out to the Federal government who regulates Internet Service Providers and sets the minimum speeds. Some contacts for your reference.

  • Contact Public Interest Advocacy Centre, a consumer-advocacy group based in Ottawa that specializes in Canadian telecommunications. They can provide information regarding contracts & pricing issues.

    piac@piac.ca | 1-613-562-4002

What kind of protection is in place for us regarding Internet?

The Federal government’s Internet Code protects Canadians who subscribe to Internet services.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) created the code so that customers of Internet services are better informed of their rights and responsibilities contained in their contracts with service providers. This includes easy to understand contracts, clearer information about prices, bill shock protection and greater flexibility. Read more here.

What happens after the project wraps up?

Develop Nova Scotia holds the Service Delivery Agreements with the providers for 10 years. These ensure accountability for service and quality standards, a competitive pricing structure, and ongoing maintenance and investment in the network.

What about high-speed Internet in Pictou County?

The Pictou Consortium is leading their own high-speed Internet project for the area. Learn more here.

Through the Satellite Internet Rebate Program, it has expanded to residents and business owners who are not expected to gain access to wired or wireless internet until after December 31, 2023. The expansion is expected to help an additional estimated 2,200 homes and businesses throughout Pictou County.

When first launched on August 2, 2022 to reach the 3,700 homes and businesses across the province for which no feasible wired or wireless internet solution has been found.

Depending on program uptake, we will assess how best to expand the program further.

You can check if your location is eligible in the search tool with the search bar.

Click here to learn more about how the program works.

What about cell coverage?

Cell coverage is not explicitly part of Develop Nova Scotia's Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative mandate. However, we recognize this is an issue in many rural areas of the Province and they have conducted a cell coverage gap analysis.

The extension of robust backbone networks (like fibre) further into communities does help to improve the business case for cellular providers. We will continue to look at opportunities to locate Internet infrastructure so that it may eventually help to address cellular issues wherever possible.

Should we expect further delays in project areas?

We continue to work very closely with providers and partners. It’s a complex project taking place during a pandemic. We work with them regularly to help mitigate potential delays as much as possible. Some projects have been accelerated and some delayed in an effort to optimize efficiencies for the overall project.

I'm in a Bell project area. How do I know when it's available?

Access to connections is the final step in the process. Individual addresses may have service available before the full area is complete.

As projects are complete or nearing completion, Bell often reaches out to customers by phone, door knockers and door-to-door (COVID permitting) as that is available. Local retailers will also share information when available. Residents can check availability at https://aliant.bell.ca/Bell_Internet/Internet_access This is updated as Bell enters information and addresses into their system once work is complete and access to connections available so customer service agents may not have information until then. They can then provide more information on pricing, options etc. at that time.

How can I sign up for future Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative updates?

Complete our contact form, email us at info@developns.ca or call 1-833-422-6591

What is the Nova Scotia Internet Trust Fund?

The Nova Scotia Internet Trust Fund is a $193 million fund established in 2018 by the government to bring access to high-speed Internet to 95% and as close to 100% of Nova Scotian homes and businesses as possible.

Develop Nova Scotia was engaged by the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust to plan, design, and manage the implementation of the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative.

How does this tie into the Federal rural broadband program?

The projects announced in both Round 1 and 2 are funded entirely through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust. We continue to work with our Federal counterparts to understand and align with their programming accordingly.

What efforts took place support people during COVID-19?


In March, 2020 with the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the Province committed that up to an additional $15M could be spent of the $193M already committed to the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust.

This helped to support acceleration of Internet delivery for health and education, and for business continuity and competitiveness. This was in addition to the $45M originally committed to the first round of projects.

Approximately $5.6M was invested to speed up installation of Round 1 projects. The efforts were designed to support the installation of 19 towers in 100 days verses 12 months in Cumberland/Colchester, faster completion in Elmsdale, Caledonia, and Shelburne projects, some easing of congestion on existing tower networks, as well as some acceleration of fibre installation in projects across Nova Scotia.

We have also been looking at all projects to work to eliminate red tape, speed up regulatory approvals, and ensure better coordination among all of the people working to bring service to your door, where possible.

What happens to the remainder of the additional $15M indicated for accelerated projects?

We continue to work with our Internet service partners to look at every project to see if acceleration is possible. Any remaining funds will be part of the Nova Scotia Internet Trust for future projects.

What does the Rogers and Seaside announcement mean for the project?

Seaside Communications and Rogers Communications announced a joint agreement that would see Rogers acquire Seaside, a leading, locally operated, telecommunications company based in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Rogers has committed to retaining Seaside's local presence and all existing staff moving forward. Read more here.

We're looking forward to continuing our partnership through the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative and the projects we have underway with Seaside to bring access to high-speed Internet to those areas.

Visit Seaside's update page including FAQ's for more information.

What about 5G options?

We are focused on outcomes not technologies. We have invited service providers to put forward their best solutions to meet requirements now and into the future. We’re confident that when it is feasible for providers to include new technologies in their solutions, they will do so. In the end, we’ll rely on federal regulators to guide the introduction of these technologies into the Canadian marketplace.

How does the position by the federal government—siding with large companies on CRTC decision to lower wholesale rates—impact progress here in Nova Scotia?

Neither the original CRTC decision, nor an impending review decision, has prevented the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative from progressing. Each pre-approved ISP makes its own decision to respond to our Request for Proposals based on individual business circumstances, and we respect whatever they decide.

Have questions? Need more information?

Please use the form below to reach out to our team. If you are reaching out about a project or potential project in your area, please include your full address, community and postal code.

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