Opposition Leader Roger Melanson is calling upon the Higgs government to move forward with bringing high speed internet to all areas of the province.
“Getting all areas of the province access to high speed internet should be a priority of government,” said Melanson. “We are not just talking about convenience. High Speed availability is crucial to communities for economic development and ensuring that people have equitable access to healthcare and education.”
Melanson points out that the Covid19 pandemic has further accented the disparity of service in different areas of the province and the need for government to address it.
“When the pandemic hit, there was a need to close the schools and children had to access their studies online. That’s fine if you are in a larger municipality”, said Melanson, “but what if you are in a more remote area of rural New Brunswick and can’t access high speed internet? Your children have a real disadvantage.”
Given that virtual care is also playing a greater role in delivery of healthcare, the Official Opposition believes that not having access to high speed internet leaves people who need to access virtual health services at a disadvantage as well.
“The program of Equal Opportunity brought in by Louis Robichaud was put in place to ensure that regardless of where you live in New Brunswick you would have equitable access to services like health and education”, said the Opposition critic for Rural Affairs, Robert Gauvin. “We cannot allow an erosion of the cherished principle by failing to address internet access.”
Gauvin also emphasized the importance of high speed internet as a tool for investment attraction and economic growth. “As we seek to grow our population, expand existing businesses and attract new business, availability of high speed internet is often a factor that is taken into account by both companies and individuals.”
“The previous Liberal government made a commitment to invest over $10 million in expanding high speed internet”, said Roger Melanson. “During the Past election campaign, the Premier committed to expanding High speed internet. He needs to honour that commitment and time is of the essence.”