Nearly 80 residences and businesses in the Upper Slocan Valley, including Hills, will be better able to access faster Internet speeds, thanks to the B.C. government's $15,600 investment in a new connectivity project that will soon get underway by Red Mountain Internet Society.
Local service provider Red Mountain Internet Society and the Regional District of Kootenay will also contribute to the project for a total investment of $31,825. The provincial portion is being provided through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Nearly 80 rural households and businesses will have better opportunities to learn, do business, access services and stay connected through Red Mountain Internet Society’s technology upgrades and bandwidth expansion. Red Mountain’s project builds on its previous backhaul and tower upgrade undertaken in 2016.
This 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, 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 –
“Our $15,600 investment in Internet improvements for these communities brings us another step closer to ensuring high-speed connectivity is available to 100% of British Columbians. This project will provide more learning opportunities for students, help local businesses better compete and keep residents connected with services and the world.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“This investment will help Red Mountain Internet Society make faster Internet speeds available to nearly 80 rural homes and businesses in upper Slocan Valley. Our government is 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 partner with the Province to help deliver improved Internet services to nearly 80 homes in Hills and nearby upper Slocan Valley communities. This project will allow new opportunities for community and economic development by investing in broadband infrastructure that will help bridge the urban-rural divide.”
Larry Lavan, Red Mountain Internet Society president –
“Having access to fast, reliable Internet creates a solution to a growing lack of mobility for our local aging population. We’re improving our services to better serve older residents and to help attract young families and business owners to the upper Slocan Valley.”
Karen Hamling, Regional District of Central Kootenay chair –
“Investing in the social, economic and environmental well-being of local residents is a priority for the district. We are helping Red Mountain Internet Society improve Internet access and reliability for residents by funding $3,500 of this project."
- Under the Connecting British Columbia program, nearly $10 million has been allocated to 30 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
Red Mountain Internet Society: http://www.redmtn.ca
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