People in Clinton, Deka Lake and Wells will soon enjoy the economic, social and safety benefits of high-speed internet as a result of new or upgraded broadband infrastructure.
“High-speed internet access is critical for people to learn, do business and communicate with each other. In today’s connected world, reliable and affordable internet access is no longer a luxury — it’s an absolute necessity,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “These new projects will help ensure residents of Clinton, Deka Lake and Wells have the same opportunities online as British Columbians in urban centres.”
In July 2018, $16 million was made available through the Connecting British Columbia program. The fund, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust, offers internet service providers and other local organizations the opportunity to apply for grants to improve high-speed internet access in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
Applications are being accepted for projects that connect homes and businesses directly, as well as transport infrastructure projects to bring connectivity to entire regions of British Columbia. Successful applicants may receive up to a 50% contribution for project costs and submissions are being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The local company, ABC Communications, is receiving Connecting British Columbia grant funding to install or upgrade existing networks and provide homes and businesses with high-speed internet at download speeds reaching 50 Mbps. Residents in these communities will have a connection that is fast enough to load a web page instantly and stream high-definition multimedia content.
Karen Jeffery, executive artistic director, Sunset Theatre Society in Wells —
“The connection between arts and the internet have become a lifeline for rural arts organizations. In the fast-paced world of having information at your fingertips, it’s imperative that we continue to be able to offer that service to visiting artists wanting to create in a rural environment while still being connected to an urban centre.”
Wayne Walch, chief, Clinton Volunteer Fire Department —
“Broadband connectivity is essential to Clinton. As fire chief, I can attest to the need for reliable connectivity during emergency situations. With the wildfire of 2017 approaching our village, the fire commissioner set up a mobile command centre enabled through broadband connections. They had access to satellite information, news coverage and other levels of government organizations, which greatly assisted in the co-ordination of our efforts and the dissemination of critical information.”
Falko Kadenbach, vice-president, ABC Communications —
“Throughout the past two summers, British Columbians have been challenged by natural disasters. ABC Communications, along with many other service providers, provides a lifeline to many residents in rural B.C. during these events. Programs like the Connecting British Columbia program play an important role in making these services available, affordable and reliable to British Columbians.”
- The Connecting British Columbia program provided the following contributions:
- Deka Lake LTE A project: $78,862 to upgrade the network, allowing an estimated 200 homes and businesses in Deka Lake to access high-speed internet. Nearby Sulphurous Lake will also receive improved coverage.
- Wells LTE A project: $59,794 to enhance internet services for 130 homes and businesses in a community that depends on the tourism, arts and mining sectors and also sees a yearly influx of seasonal workers.
- Clinton fibre-to-the-home project: $334,108 to install a fibre-optic network for 327 homes and businesses in Clinton.
- Approximately 650 households and businesses in the three communities will benefit from these projects.
- The total value of these three investments is $945,530, which includes the provincial contribution and spending by ABC Communications.
To read personal accounts of the positive effect high-speed internet will have on the three communities, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/CITZ90474.pdf
For more information on internet in British Columbia and the Province’s work to expand connectivity in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/internet-in-bc
Northern Development Initiative Trust administers the Connecting British Columbia program: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/