Connectivity removes barriers for remote communities
VICTORIA - More citizens and communities across British Columbia are benefiting from better access to cellular and Internet service, thanks to work being done through a number of Network BC projects.
This is just one more example of significant progress made by government in the past year to improve the lives of British Columbians and their families by creating and protecting jobs, by becoming more open and transparent, and by continuing to be fiscally responsible in these uncertain economic times.
Today, 93 per cent of British Columbians have access to high-speed Internet, making B.C. one of the most connected jurisdictions in the world. Work is currently underway to increase the level of Internet and cellular access throughout B.C., and communities throughout the province are already seeing the benefits of improved connectivity.
Increasing access to the Internet removes significant barriers for rural and remote communities and creates new business opportunities. Businesses are able to use online banking to manage everything from investments to taxes and can hold conferences with other communities without stepping out the door. Community members can stay in contact with family and friends through social media websites. Expanded Internet access also means students can access thousands of educational programs and benefits they couldn't use before.Quick Facts:
Network BC is working to bridge the digital divide through the following programs:
Connecting British Columbia Agreement with TELUS -
As part of the 10-year strategic telecommunications contract signed in July 2011, TELUS agreed to provide the following rural benefits at no additional cost to the taxpayer:
- Work toward increasing Internet connectivity across B.C. to 97 per cent of the province.
- Maintain service to designated communities through Internet gateways, which enable local Internet service providers to offer services to citizens and businesses.
- Provide over 1,700 km of new cellular coverage along previously unconnected highway segments within five years to improve public safety.
- Increase Internet speeds or bandwidth by up to tenfold in many previously connected areas.
- Upgrade up to 450 schools with high-speed fibre optic cables over the next 10 years to enable faster access to information for young learners.
Pathways to Technology -
- $40.8 million federal and provincial investment to connect First Nations Communities to the Internet. This program is being led by the Pathways to Technology Project Steering Committee.
- To date, 157 of 203 communities have Internet access and the program is working to enhance connectivity to more than 50 communities that either have little or no Internet access.
- More than $6.8 million was granted to nearly 150 projects, resulting in 210 rural locales being connected to the Internet.
- Funding for the three-year program concluded in March 2011.
Read about how Network BC is connecting B.C. at: http://www.network.gov.bc.ca/.
Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government