09/28/2012 12:00 EDT | Updated 11/28/2012 05:12 EST

Rural Internet loss in Saskatchewan slowed down by federal extension

REGINA - About 8,000 rural Internet customers in Saskatchewan won't be slowed down by the loss of their high-speed service just yet.

The federal government says it won't take back the broadband spectrum that SaskTel uses for its wireless Internet service until the end of March 2014.

Ottawa plans to auction off the spectrum to telecom companies and says the move will improve connectivity.

But that meant rural Internet users would lose their SaskTel service at the end of this year.

There was an outcry from many rural residents who argued they bought expensive new equipment for the service.

Kelly Block, the MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, says in a news release that the extension will give SaskTel more time it upgrade its system.