PCs Privatization Agenda Fails on Broadband for Thousands of Rural Manitobans

April 27, 2023

The Manitoba NDP has learned that all work has ceased since February on the Rural Broadband Expansion Program because of a dispute with a private company, Xplore, with no timeline on the resumption of service.

“Rural broadband services are a necessity. For years we warned the PC Government their privatization agenda would mean rural Manitobans will not receive broadband services and we are now seeing the results. A private company has forced Hydro to cease work on the project and staff have been redeployed as there is no timeline to resume work. This sets a dangerous precedent that puts our publicly owned assets at risk,” said Adrien Sala, NDP critic for Manitoba Hydro. “We are seeing yet again why the PC government’s privatization agenda is bad for rural Manitobans.”

The PC government contracted with Xplore, a private company, giving access to millions in taxpayer-owned assets. An email obtained by the NDP dated April 24, 2023 shows that Xplore instructed Manitoba Hydro to “cease fibre work” until a payment dispute was resolved. “At this time it’s unknown when a resolution will be reached or when the project will resume,” the email from a Manitoba Hydro manager to staff reads while “staff have been redeployed to other projects in the department”.