Award-winning N.S. musician says career is in jeopardy without high-speed internet at his home
COOKS BROOK, N.S. -- Acclaimed Maritime guitarist J.P. Cormier is known for his fast fingers, but his internet service is anything but.
"Absolutely dismal," Cormier says. "We have a download speed of only 2.6 megs, and even more sad, an upload of 1.2."
Most basic internet packages in the province start at 100 megabytes per second, but that infrastructure doesn't exist in Cormier's community.
When he built his home studio in a rural part of the Halifax Regional Municipality last year, Cormier had no idea a pandemic would devastate his industry.
Without live concert venues, he now depends on livestreaming and uploading content to make a living.
"My entire career depends solely on whether I can get a signal to put performances online and so far, it's been nearly impossible," says Cormier, who adds he's not alone.
He says there are about 60 houses around Cooks Lake that also have the same problem.
"Doctors, lawyers, teachers, Canadian Forces, pilots, all of these people in this community, can't do their jobs online," he said.
Deborah Page is the director of marketing for Develop Nova Scotia. She says there are minimum standards for internet service set by the CRTC.
"If it's a wired service, so wired into the home, it has to meet a 50 megabit download, and a 10 upload," Page said.
Develop Nova Scotia is the Crown corporation tasked with meeting those standards as it works towards connecting as much of the province as possible.
Cooks Brook, N.S., is on the list, but it will take time.
"We will be turning over every rock, on every project, looking to see how we can make it go faster," Page said.
Cormier says the stakes might be higher for him than his neighbours.
"It's not about download speeds or convenience, in my case, it's about my career ending, literally," he said.
Meanwhile, Cormier says he keeps paying his taxes and paying for what internet service he does have -- neither of which is giving him what he needs right now to pay the bills.