Local governments, internet service providers and community organizations can now apply for grant funding to connect high-speed internet for British Columbians who need it the most – those living in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
“High costs are one of the main barriers to connecting communities,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “This funding will support last-mile projects that will help close the gap between urban and rural areas, and allow B.C.’s smaller communities to better participate in the digital economy.”
Beginning on Sunday, July 1, 2018, Northern Development Initiative Trust is accepting applications for the Connecting British Columbia program, so homes, businesses and other institutions can connect to high-speed internet. Funding is also available to help communities plan for the future by creating regional infrastructure strategies for high-speed connectivity.
Successful applications could see last-mile projects receive up to a 50% contribution for eligible costs. Funding will also be available for improving connectivity to entire regions of British Columbia. Applications for transport fibre projects will be accepted beginning Sept. 1, 2018. A total of $16 million is available.
“Connecting British Columbia has helped our province accelerate the growth of our digital economy. By leveraging funds from the private sector and other levels of government, the program has been critical in helping deliver the infrastructure projects B.C. needs to compete, now and in the future,” said Joel McKay, Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO.
Submissions will be reviewed and assessed on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants must demonstrate that their projects will be completed by March 31, 2020.
- This funding is part of $40 million that is committed in 2017 to expand the Connecting British Columbia program, which is administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.
- An additional $83 million in funding from federal, provincial and local partners has been announced since January 2018, which will benefit an estimated 187 communities — including 69 First Nations and Indigenous communities.
For more information on eligibility and application requirements, as well as the Connecting British Columbia program, visit Northern Development Initiative Trust: www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca
To see a video about a new round of connectivity funding for B.C. communities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKYeGSG6xE0&feature=youtu.be