Investment in information and communication technologies - $1,746,084 in funding from the Government of Canada to improve access to high-speed Internet in Gaspésie

    GASPE, QC, Jan. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of
State for Canada Economic Development, today announced that the Réseau
collectif de communications électroniques et d'outils de gestion
Gaspésie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine has been awarded $1,746,084 in non-repayable
funding to extend high-speed Internet access to 43 peninsula communities that,
until now, have not benefited from these services. This initiative will
generate more than $3 million in investment.
    This funding from the Government of Canada will help bring about a
project considered central to the region's priorities by enabling Gaspésie's
small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed workers to benefit
from high-speed Internet connection. Virtually the entire region will thus
have access to this service, which will complement that offered by existing
service providers. The assistance will be used to hire a project coordinator,
retain the services of a firm specialized in technical studies and purchase
the antennas and other equipment needed to ensure access to the network.
    "To attract investment and new enterprises, a region needs to be able to
capitalize on all of its assets and the Gaspésie region will now have one more
to add to its drawing power. We are convinced that high-speed Internet access
will generate positive spinoffs by helping to strengthen the region's economic
activity and make it more competitive. Cyber solutions are clearly the way of
the future in order to bring markets closer and facilitate trade," noted the
Minister of State.
    In today's era of information and communication technologies, the
Internet is an indispensable tool for development. The globalized environment
demands that businesses conduct some of their activities online if they are to
conquer new markets and increase their customer base. This project will ensure
that 375 more SMEs on the peninsula are able to add electronic commerce to
their regular business practices.
    "We firmly believe that the community as a whole stands to reap the
benefits of this project, which will translate into a competitive advantage
that is sure to encourage new enterprises to set up shop in the Gaspésie
region and to foster the growth and expansion of those already established
here. Our support is based precisely on that tenet and is directly in line
with the vision and priorities laid out in the Advantage Canada plan: to build
a strong economy capable of ensuring all Canadians a better quality of life,"
Minister Lebel concluded.
    According to Majella Emond, President of the Réseau collectif de
communications électroniques et d'outils de gestion
Gaspésie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine, "high-speed Internet access will allow the
Gaspésie region, on the one hand, to climb aboard the technology train and
make up any lost ground, and, on the other, to support the development and
diversification of the regional economy. The communities benefiting from this
service will thus gain access to the knowledge society." Expressing his
delight at today's announcement, Mr. Emond said the Réseau collectif intends
to do everything in its power to ensure this project is completed as quickly
as possible this year.
    This financial assistance has been awarded through the Major Economic and
Tourism Facilities - Access to Broadband Services initiative established by
Canada Economic Development as part of its 2008-2011 strategic plan.

    The Réseau collectif de communications électroniques et d'outils de
gestion Gaspésie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine is a non-profit organization and sole
owner of a 940-kilometre fibre optics network circling the peninsula.
Construction of this network required an investment of more than $18 million,
of which $6 million was awarded by the Government of Canada through the
Canada-Quebec Infrastructure Works program.

For further information:

For further information: Karina Gagnon, Communications, Canada Economic
Development, (418) 368-6048, 1-866-368-0044,; Eric
Lefebvre, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Canada
Economic Development, Cellular: (613) 608-7906,;
Canada Economic Development is online at Subscribe to the
Agency's press releases at to keep up with
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