By Richard Bell
Three groups in Sheet Harbour and Moser River will be getting some much-needed funding to pay for improving high-speed internet access. The provincial grants are part of a total of $1.44 million going to 24 municipal and community groups. This funding is part of Municipal and Community Rural High-Speed Internet Funding Program that started in November 2016
Robert Moser, president of one of the winning groups, the Sheet Harbour & Area Chamber of Commerce and Civic Affairs, welcomed the opportunity. “We’ve identified the lack of high-speed internet service as a major issue deterring the growth of business,” Moser said. “We’ve got a great quality of life here, but people who want to run home businesses can’t do it without better internet service. We’ve got businesses here that need to communicate with their home offices that end up having to courier date instead of uploading it.”
Moser explained that when the government solicited applications for funding last November, “We looked at the criteria, and saw our area qualified. We formed a small committee at the Chamber, and brought in other community members, real estate agents, and other businesses. We talked to all our politicians, and got lots of letters of support.”
The Chamber worked cooperatively with two other winning organizations, the Moser River United Board of Trade and the Moser River Community Hall Association. Each group will be receiving a grant of $75,000.
“The grant we got is great,” Moser said, “but it’s still a small one. We’re looking at it as the first of many grants for our whole area. Now that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has stated that high-speed internet is a basic service, we’re talking about applying for more funds from a federal program. The first applications are due in April, and we’re working on one.”