Residents and businesses on Gambier Island, Keats Island, Port Mellon and surrounding areas will be better able to access faster Internet speeds, thanks to the B.C. government's $560,000 investment in a new connectivity project that will soon get underway by Base Technology Ltd.
Local Internet service provider Base Technology will contribute more than $661,000 to the project for a total investment of over $1.22 million. The provincial portion is being provided through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Over 1,000 households and businesses in areas of the Sunshine Coast will have better opportunities to learn, do business, access services and stay connected through expanded network coverage. The expansion will also have the potential to support local emergency services communication.
This project will overcome a number of unique challenges, including the physical terrain of the islands. Base Technology plans to hire local contractors with knowledge of the area and implement additional transportation, such as barges and helicopters, to complete the installation.
Base Technology’s project complements 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. This funding will help regional Internet service providers, Aboriginal organizations, local governments, and other organizations 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 –
“Our $560,000 investment will help connect residents on Gambier Island, Keats Island and Port Mellon, providing more learning opportunities for students and helping local businesses better compete. This project brings us another step closer to ensuring high-speed connectivity is available to 100% of British Columbians.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development –
“The Connecting British Columbia program helps connect rural communities throughout B.C., like the 1,000 Sunshine Coast households and businesses benefiting from this project. We’re making an additional $40 million available to the program through the Rural Economic Development Strategy, part of a series of plans expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.”
Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust –
“This project supports the access to broadband Internet for more than 1,000 rural and remote communities, industrial operations, businesses and farms. This access is critical to their ability to advance their economic development strategies and Northern Development is proud to partner with Network BC in the delivery of this service.”
Davin Peterson, executive director, Base Technology Ltd. –
“This funding will help us expand high-speed Internet availability in harder-to-reach parts of the Sunshine Coast, which I hope will encourage many summer homes to become full-time residences. By investing in improved connectivity, together with the Province, we’re expanding opportunities for small businesses and community development.”
- 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 more than 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
Base Technology Ltd.: https://www.basewireless.com/site
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