Northern Kootenay Lake residents and businesses will be better able to access faster Internet speeds, thanks to the B.C. government's $433,650 investment in a new underwater connectivity project that will soon get underway by Columbia Basin Trust.
Columbia Basin Trust will contribute an additional $445,160 for a total investment of $878,810. The provincial portion is being provided through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Approximately 700 rural households and businesses will have better opportunities to learn, do business, access services and stay connected as a result of a new underwater fibre cable installed beneath Kootenay Lake to establish a fibre-optic link between Balfour and Kaslo. The fibre connection will provide northern Kootenay Lake communities with Internet speeds comparable with major urban centres. This project complements other Internet improvements being made by other Internet service providers operating in the wider region.
Northern Kootenay Lake communities benefitting from this investment include Ainsworth, Argenta, Cooper Creek, Fletcher Creek, Johnsons Landing, Kaslo, Lardeau, Mirror Lake, Pineridge, Schroeder Creek, Shutty Bench, Woodbury Creek Resort and Woodbury Village.
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 –
“By investing in this project, we’re improving Internet connections to residents living near Kootenay Lake and funding an innovative approach to fibre-optic deployment in B.C. This project will provide opportunities for residents to communicate more easily with the world, for students to connect with online learning and for local businesses to grow and compete.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“This $433,650 investment will help Columbia Basin Trust make high-speed Internet available to more than 700 rural homes and businesses along northern Kootenay Lake. We’re taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities by expanding the Connecting British Columbia program through the Rural Economic Development Strategy.”
Joel McKay, Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO –
“Northern Development is proud to play a role in the access to broadband Internet across the province. By putting in place innovative and affordable approaches to providing this service, approximately 700 rural households will benefit from faster Internet speeds. Through these methods freshwater resources can become a tool for connectivity rather than a barrier for economic and social development.”
Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO –
“High-speed Internet is a priority to residents in our region, as it can improve quality of life and help our communities thrive. This provincial funding enables an important expansion to our regional fibre-optic network in North Kootenay Lake where 700 rural and small-town businesses and residents will now be able to take advantage of services similar to those found in larger municipalities. In particular, this expansion complements the efforts of Kaslo infoNet Society to improve services in North Kootenay Lake.”
- 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
Columbia Basin Trust: http://broadband.ourtrust.org
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
Kim HayhurstDirector, Marketing and Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust