NDP questions how broadband money is spent
The NDP critic for Innovation, Business, and Rural Development had questions in the House of Assembly today about the Rural Broadband Initiative. Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says government should look at more affordable wireless solutions rather than giving money to private industry to build traditional delivery models.
“The Tory Blue Book promised to make a concerted effort to provide province-wide high speed access by 2015. In round one of the Rural Broadband Initiative they announced only 20 communities, and a whopping $7M went to private companies,” Mitchelmore said today.
“Wireless networks are inexpensive solutions to provide internet service for rural and remote communities. Two hundred communities are still without broadband. When will the Minister of IBRD stop padding the pockets of big companies and build our own inexpensive wireless networks?”
Mitchelmore also wanted to know why only three-quarters of the budgeted amount for the second round of RBI was awarded. The second round of the rural broadband initiative had budgeted $2 million dollars yet in Tuesday’s announcement only $1.5 million was awarded,” he pointed out.
“It is quite evident that wireless solutions can provide far greater reach, enable local ownership and provide low cost Internet to rural and remote communities. So why is the Minister continuously shortchanging the people of rural Newfoundland & Labrador, and subsidizing the large companies?”