High-speed Internet provides British Columbians in rural and remote communities with better opportunities to do business, learn, access services and stay connected.
As part of the #BCTECH Strategy, the goal is to see every British Columbian with access to high-speed Internet.
The Province works with other levels of government and the private sector, including large and small Internet service providers, to improve connectivity throughout B.C.
Connecting British Columbia Program:
- As part of the Province’s Rural Economic Development Strategy, government is investing $40 million to expand the initial $10 million Connecting British Columbia program to expand or enhance Internet connectivity to currently unconnected and underserved areas of the province.
- Under this program, $10 million has been allocated to 30 projects that will improve or expand Internet services in over 200 communities and locales around the province.
- To date, more than 40,000 households have benefited through the Connecting British Columbia program.
- The program helps close the gap for British Columbians living in rural areas who don’t have an option for high-speed service or who have poor Internet access.
- Northern Development Initiative Trust administers the program on behalf of the Province.
Connecting British Columbia Agreement:
- On July 29, 2011, the Province signed a 10-year, non-monetary telecommunications agreement with TELUS, which provides telecommunications benefits for people in rural and remote areas (rural benefits). The rural benefits are provided at no cost to taxpayers.
- The Connecting British Columbia Agreement with TELUS increases access to Internet services in communities and expands access to cellular services along unconnected segments of provincial highways.
- Benefits in the agreement include:
- TELUS has completed a project to provide more than 1,700 kilometres of additional cellular coverage along unconnected primary and secondary highway segments.
- 375 of B.C.’s public schools have been upgraded to high-speed fibre-optic cables to enable faster access to information for the province’s youngest learners.
- Maintaining 119 points-of-presence (facilities that connect to an Internet gateway) within communities throughout the province to ensure local Internet providers have the required capacity at an affordable price. As of February 2017, 58 communities out of 70 have upgrades complete.
Pathways to Technology Project:
- Led by First Nations organizations through the Pathways to Technology Project Steering Committee, federal and provincial governments have jointly funded this project.
- 197 of 203 First Nations communities have access to broadband infrastructure, up from 85 in 2008.
BC Broadband Satellite Initiative:
- Launched in January 2014, the BC Broadband Satellite Initiative is designed to help make access to satellite-based high-speed Internet more affordable for citizens and small businesses in remote areas that currently, and for the foreseeable future, have no other broadband Internet solutions.
- The BC Broadband Satellite Initiative is a partnership between the B.C. government, Xplornet Communications and local installers.
- Residents may qualify for up to a 50% reduction in the cost of installation to a maximum of $350, to help make installing a new satellite broadband connection from Xplornet Communications more affordable.
- To be eligible, customers must have no access to Internet services, or rely on older dial-up connections. The program is available to all British Columbians who qualify, regardless of location.
- Over 4,450 households in B.C.’s most remote areas were connected for the first time through the BC Broadband Satellite Initiative.
An interactive and searchable map that shows broadband availability in British Columbia can be found at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/communications-technology/internet-in-bc/network-bc-connectivity-map
Joanne WhittierCommunications Manager
Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services