Residents and businesses in New Hazelton and Lake Kathlyn will be better able to access faster Internet speeds, thanks to the B.C. government's over-$828,000 investment in two new connectivity projects that will soon get underway by CityWest.
Local Internet service provider CityWest will contribute over $1.93 million to the projects for a total investment of more than $2.76 million. The provincial portion is being provided through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Over 1,100 rural households and businesses will have better opportunities to learn, do business, access services and stay connected through the installation of the first direct fibre lines in the areas. CityWest’s new fibre connections will provide Lake Kathlyn and New Hazelton with Internet speeds comparable with major urban centres. CityWest’s projects complement other Internet improvements being made by other Internet service providers operating in the wider region.
Connecting British Columbia is a multi-year grant program funded by the Province and administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust, to support new and upgraded backbone and last-mile infrastructure projects in rural and remote communities in B.C. to drive innovation, regional growth and the creation of new jobs. The program can be used for new Internet connections and to upgrade existing Internet connections, for local Internet infrastructure builds and for new pathways.
As part of its Rural Economic Development Strategy, the Province recently announced a further investment of $40 million to the Connecting British Columbia program for a total of $50 million, to help regional Internet service providers, Aboriginal organizations, local governments and other organizations to expand or enhance Internet connectivity in currently unconnected and underserved areas of B.C.
This additional funding aligns with the Province’s #BCTECH Strategy to bring the province closer to 100% high-speed connectivity and help eligible B.C.-based Internet service providers leverage the new federal $500-million Connect to Innovate program to maximize funding available for rural connectivity projects.
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services –
“As part of our renewed #BCTECH Strategy, our government recognizes the importance of improving high-speed Internet access provincewide. This funding will ensure Lake Kathlyn and New Hazelton residents can enjoy the same high speeds as bigger cities, providing improved access to government services, business opportunities and online learning.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development –
“We’re investing more than $828,000 to help CityWest bring broadband to more than 1,100 residences and businesses in the North. The Connecting British Columbia program is one of the many ways the Rural Economic Development Strategy supports rural communities. It is expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.”
Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust –
“The Connecting British Columbia program helps level the playing field between communities’ rural and remote locations and their urban counterparts. Northern Development is pleased to partner with the Province in the delivery of this program to ensure more than 1,100 customers have access to services and economic opportunities.”
Donovan Dias, vice-president, sales and project management, CityWest –
“As a company that was built in the North, we're proud to provide Lake Kathlyn and New Hazelton with the fastest Internet speeds possible and future-proof the community as faster speeds become available. Thanks to this provincial funding, we're able to provide residents of Lake Kathlyn and New Hazelton with the same great experience we give to all our customers in all our communities."
- Under the Connecting British Columbia program, nearly $10 million has been allocated to more than 25 projects that will improve or expand Internet services in over 200 communities around the province.
- To date, more than 40,000 households have benefited from the Connecting British Columbia program.
Connecting British Columbia program: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/business-development/connecting-british-columbia
#BCTECH Strategy: http://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca
Rural Economic Development Strategy: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/21/2017/03/BCRED_Strategy_FINAL.pdf
Northern Development Initiative Trust: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca
Interactive and searchable map showing broadband availability in B.C.: 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
Marketing and Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust