More than $1.1 million in grants for a second wave of nine projects funded through the provincewide Connecting British Columbia program will benefit more than 80 B.C. communities located in rural and remote areas of the province by improving access to high-speed Internet.
Connecting British Columbia is a $10-million, multi-year grant program administered on behalf of the Province by Northern Development Initiative Trust that helps to pay for infrastructure required to deliver high-speed Internet connectivity to homes and businesses in rural locations throughout British Columbia. A total of $5.8 million in Connecting British Columbia funding for eight projects benefiting 70 communities was provided in the first wave of grants last year.
B.C. is on track to meet its goal of 100% high-speed connectivity before 2021 by providing 94% of British Columbians with access to high-speed Internet. This makes B.C. one of the most connected jurisdictions in the world.
Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk –
“Government has enabled dozens of rural and remote British Columbia communities with access to the high-speed Internet people need to learn, train, do business, find services and stay connected. This is a direct reflection of our commitment to ensuring 100% high-speed connectivity is available in every area of the province before 2021.”
Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO Janine North –
“To date, Northern Development Initiative Trust has administered nearly $7 million in Connecting British Columbia grants to communities across the province. These funds will ensure that local or regional Internet services providers and other organizations can expand and extend high-speed Internet services to communities in every region of the province.”
Peace Region Internet Society system administrator Brad Melanson-
“We are striving to ensure that broadband access is available to all. With the help of the provincial government, our rural and remote broadband connectivity project is connecting local residents, allowing businesses to remain competitive, supporting education and enhancing the delivery of public services.”
To ensure high-speed Internet connections in communities and cellular access along highways is available to citizens living in rural and remote areas, the Province works closely with other levels of government and the private sector, including large and small Internet service providers, to offer a number of connectivity programs and services including:
- A $2-million BC Broadband Satellite Initiative, designed to expand access to high-speed Internet service in remote and geographically challenging locations where no other connectivity options exist. The program contributes toward the installation of Xplornet Inc. satellite Internet with the provincial contribution recently increasing from $250 to a maximum of $350 per installation.
- The provincially and federally supported, First Nations-led Pathways to Technology project, which has connected 190 of 203 First Nations communities, up from 85 in 2008.
- A non-monetary agreement with Telus which has completed nearly 1,500 kilometres of new cellular coverage along unconnected primary and secondary highway segments, with the rest to be complete by end of 2016.
- Upgrades to high-speed fibre optic cables in 400 public schools to enable faster access to information for young learners. As of December 2015, 346 schools have been upgraded by Telus.
BC Broadband Satellite Initiative factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/factsheet-bc-broadband-satellite-initiative
Connecting BC grant program: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/business-development/connecting-british-columbia/
Pathways to Technology: http://www.pathwaystotechnology.ca/
Connecting British Columbia Agreement with Telus: http://about.telus.com/community/english/about_us/for_our_customers/connecting_bc_program
A backgrounder follows.