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Supporting Sustainable Communities in New Brunswick through Greater Broadband Access

MINTO, NB,March 21 2005 --Access to broadband for thousands of
New Brunswick residents is closer to reality thanks to signed agreements
between the Government of Canada, the Province of New Brunswick and Aliant.
Increasing broadband service in rural areas of the province will contribute to
improved quality of life and social development, and will increase the
potential for innovation and economic development in all communities.
    Andy Scott, Member of Parliament for the riding of Fredericton and
Regional Minister for New Brunswick, together with Peter Mesheau, Minister of
Business New Brunswick and Heather Tulk, Vice President, Broadband and
Marketing, Aliant, today announced the signing of these agreements totaling
$44.6-million. The funding will facilitate the deployment of broadband access
to over 100,000 residential homes and more than 24,000 sites including
businesses, schools, community access sites, health care centres and business
parks as well as all 15 First Nations communities in New Brunswick.
    "Access to broadband provides important tools for communities - tools
that will enhance their sustainable growth, support economic prosperity, and
improve quality of life," said Minister Scott. "And I am so pleased that this
project will bring broadband access to 100% for First Nations communities in
this province. We are committed to working with the provinces, territories,
municipalities and partners like Aliant to support sustainable communities all
across Canada, as part of our commitment to a New Deal for Cities and
Communities."
    The project involves the installation of broadband equipment and upgrades
in 336 existing wire centres at strategic locations in the Province to extend
coverage to 327 communities in rural New Brunswick. The project is being
rolled out in three phases. The first phase began in 2003 and the final phase
will be completed in 2006.
    "This broadband initiative is a step toward greater prosperity for all
New Brunswickers," said Minister Mesheau. "Businesses, whether they are in our
urban centres or rural New Brunswick, will be able to take their products or
services to world markets faster and more efficiently. With the support and
commitment from our partners, New Brunswickers are set on a path for a future
of success and growth - personally, professionally, and internationally."
    The Government of Canada will contribute a total of $16.5 million towards
this broadband access project with $4 million dedicated to First Nations
communities. The Province of New Brunswick will contribute $12.5 million and
Aliant will invest $15.6 million.
    "It's partnerships such as this that enable us to keep Atlantic Canada at
the forefront of innovation and among the best connected regions in the
world," said Heather Tulk, Vice President, Broadband and Marketing, Aliant.
"Aliant's commitment to broadband expansion allows New Brunswickers to do more
of what they want online by providing the tools that they need, while ensuring
the highest quality of service, value and convenience." "Aliant's vision and
belief is that broadband is not just a technology that delivers data over a
pipeline that's connected to a home or business," continued Tulk. "It's an
opportunity to expand businesses, learn from experts around the world, bring
new services to customers and remove barriers to prosperity for Atlantic
Canada."
    Extending broadband services to rural New Brunswick supports the
Government of Canada's sustainable growth commitment to make broadband widely
available to Canadian communities and is an important component of New
Brunswick's prosperity plan. Broadband provides an infrastructure for
delivering innovative applications and offering electronic services in the
areas of health, education, government services and business. The project will
leverage the existing broadband infrastructure and core network assets
provided by Aliant in New Brunswick to extend coverage to rural communities.
Improved access to broadband will enhance education and training opportunities
and enable technology growth.

    Federal funds will come from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund
(CSIF), through which the Government of Canada collaborates with provincial,
territorial and municipal governments, as well as the private sector, to meet
strategic infrastructure needs throughout the country. The CSIF supports
large-scale strategic infrastructure projects that improve quality of life and
further sustainable growth. Since 1994, the Government of Canada has committed
$12 billion in infrastructure funding, which is expected to leverage over
$30 billion from all partners.


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                                Backgrounder
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                   Broadband Access in Rural New Brunswick

    On November 18, 2003 the Government of Canada, Province of New Brunswick
and Aliant announced their commitment to a rural broadband deployment project
that would extend broadband access to 327 rural communities. Since that time,
negotiations have been underway between all partners to implement this very
important project. The signing of these agreements marks a final step in
making this project a reality.
    Under the agreements announced today, the Government of Canada has
committed up to $16.5 million including $4 million dedicated for First Nations
communities, the Province of New Brunswick has committed up to $12.5 million,
Aliant has dedicated $15.6 million. The total of this funding agreement is
$44.6 million.

    Project Details

    The project will increase availability of broadband services in rural
New Brunswick to more than 106,800 residential homes, 24,240 businesses,
130 schools, 29 health care centres, 108 Community Access Program (CAP) sites
and 16 business parks.
    There are 15 First Nations communities in the province of which only two
have full access and two have partial access to broadband. This initiative
will bring First Nations broadband coverage in the province to 100%.
    The network will be fully scalable to allow for future upgrades. All
interconnections between Aliant and third parties will use open standard
protocols, and the network will comply with the Government of Canada policy on
'Open Access,' which promotes a competitive market for broadband.
    Broadband services with a minimum standard level of 1.5 megabits per
second (mbps) download speed and 640 kilobits per second (kbps) upload speed
will be provided. Access to Aliant's broadband network, the Global Internet,
static or dynamic IP addresses and Internet service provider (ISP) services
such as domain name service access and electronic mail will also be provided.
    Extending broadband services to rural New Brunswick communities furthers
the Government of Canada's commitment to provide broadband services to all
Canadian communities. The Government of Canada has already announced a
$155 million contribution towards the National Satellite Initiative;
$5 million in contributions towards expanding broadband services in
Newfoundland and Labrador's remote schools and communities; and $6.9 million
for the installation of underwater fibre optic cables between Gaspesie and
Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine.
    Industry Canada's Broadband for Rural and Northern Development (BRAND)
program is a pilot project funded by the federal government to provide high
speed Internet access to First Nations, rural and northern communities. This
program has been successful in engaging partners across the country through a
community driven approach and will be providing service to more than
880 communities, including over 100 First Nations communities.

    Aliant

    In 2003, though a competitive Request for Proposal process, the Province
selected Aliant as their private sector partner for the project. This public-
private investment allows for leveraging of the current infrastructure as well
as assuring a high quality of service. Aliant, as a telecommunications
provider, has invested over $300 million over the past four years towards
broadband infrastructure and services across Atlantic Canada. The project will
build on Aliant's existing network and broadband infrastructure to extend
coverage and an affordable cost to rural communities.
    Aliant offers a unique High Speed experience, delivered over Digital
Subscriber Lines (DSL). DSL is the only high-speed service that delivers a
dedicated, unshared access connection to each customer, providing the speed,
security and consistency Internet customers rely upon every day, and it
doesn't tie up phone lines.
    From its home base in Atlantic Canada, Aliant delivers a wide variety of
innovative and traditional communications services, including local and long
distance telephony, wireless, Internet, e-commerce, interactive multimedia,
data and managed network services, to more than two million consumers and over
80,000 enterprises. Aliant complements its industry-leading telecommunications
business with strengths in information technology solutions and knowledge-
services applications. Aliant's approximately 8,400 employees build on its
100-plus year history by collaborating to deliver the highest quality of
customer service, choice and convenience. Aliant has a market capitalization
of approximately $3.8 billion.



For further information: Infrastructure Canada, (613) 948-1148; Sarah
Ketcheson, Business New Brunswick, (506) 444-4983; Isabelle Robinson, Aliant,
(506) 694-6762, (866) 694-6762, isabelle.robinson@aliant.ca

SOURCE Telephone / Wireline

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