One of the largest optic fibre-based high speed internet networks in rural Canada is being built in the Municipalities of Colchester and Cumberland.   An Agreement between the Municipalities and Xplornet Communications Inc. was signed on August 21st following unanimous approval of both Councils.


“This considerable investment paves the way for a bright future for our region” said Cumberland Warden Al Gillis at the online signing event.  Colchester Mayor Christine Blair pointed to the value of municipal collaboration: “Our work together on broadband and the new Geopark should be celebrated.”  The Cumberland-Colchester project was selected for funding by Develop Nova Scotia in its first round of approvals under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative.  Deputy Premier and MLA for Colchester North, Karen Casey, commented “I am proud of the financial commitment our government has made to support internet service across rural Nova Scotia.”  A Joint Internet Improvement Committee made up of Councillors and staff is overseeing the municipal component of the project.

Xplornet will invest $34 million toward the $61.1 million project.  The Province will contribute $21.1 million from the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust.  The two Municipalities will pay a combined $6 million over the next three to five years.  Cumberland’s share will be $3,327,600 and Colchester’s $2,672,400, reflecting the amount of fibre in each jurisdiction.  The network infrastructure will be Open Access for other internet service providers to rent wholesale capacity.

The network will consist of 19 fixed-wireless towers and approximately 670 kilometres of optic fibre, including over 500 km. of new fibre. It will have capacity to serve 100% of civic addresses in the combined Counties, including 24,400 addresses currently not covered.  Wireless services require line-of-sight.  Xplornet will offer up to 100 Mbps service to 22,500 of these currently underserved addresses and up to 50 Mbps satellite service for the remaining 1,900 addresses.  As many as 3,500 civic addresses will have access to fibre-to-the-home service.  Unlimited data packages priced at $99 will be available.   

A unique aspect of the project is acquisition by the Municipalities of Cumberland and Colchester of use of two pairs of ‘dark fibres’ (optic fibres for exclusive use) on the entire new network.  This will position the Municipalities to partner on innovative ventures in coming years.  “At Xplornet, we have been proud to take the lead in expanding high-speed Internet to rural homes and businesses in Nova Scotia,” said Jeff Burlock, Executive Vice-President and Co-Founder of Xplornet, “ Colchester and Cumberland believe in a bright future for rural communities, and we’re excited to be working with them.”

The project is well underway, with new wireless service offered in many areas. Network completion is expected within three years.

Media contact:

Mark Austin, Economic Developer
Municipality of Colchester
902 956 2711
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