A Call to Action

The Municipality of Pictou County has a population of about 20,000 and is the largest of the six municipal governments located in Pictou County. It is considered a rural government unlike the other five units that are urban. 

It has heard the call for action on internet service from its rural citizens who realize access to the internet is not an option for everyone in today’s broadband world.

In 2016, Council initiated a planning process to remedy the situation by taking the future into its own hands, without waiting for outside agencies for relief.

 The Network Goal: When complete, the network will provide:
  • A Municipally-governed service based on community values;
  • Equitable coverage at levels that meet Canadian standards.
  • Shared revenue with the Municipality to repay the funding and provide funds for new activity; 
  • An Open Access network that will allow the lowest-cost service and the greatest choice;

The Municipality of Pictou County can adopt these ambitious targets because it is adopting a different approach to network provision than the traditional urban model. The lesson that has been learned over the years is that the traditional urban approach does not apply in rural areas.

The network design is a ‘fibre-rich’ plan, with extensive use of fibre optic cable to provide service to residents:  “This will provide additional future-proofing of the network and give us the ability to better serve our community. The network will see approximately two-thirds of the homes served by fibre to the premise providing speeds up to 1 Gigabyte per second.

This Municipally led network combines revenue sharing and world-class quality with competitive Open Access pricing and choice. Public and private sectors will combine strengths for the quick delivery of a network that sparks new businesses and social initiatives.

Service quality will meet or exceed Canadian standards, and pricing will be competitive and equitable. Because the network is open access, all Internet Service Providers are welcome to offer services—a benefit that will provide variety and ensure good consumer value.

The network is being created by a partnership between the public and private sector. It involves the MOPC and a consortium of private companies performing the construction, operation and maintenance. The MOPC will own and govern the network, setting the standards for the private sector partners’ operations.