Rural, remote and Indigenous communities can access grants for high-speed internet projects, which will help people get connected, learn, do business and access vital services.
This is thanks to the largest-ever funding intake of the Connecting British Columbia program.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for communities looking to move forward on high-speed internet projects. The Province is now accepting applications for this historic $50 million in grant funding that is expected to benefit hundreds of B.C. communities,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Combined with the launch of the recently released federal government’s $750-million broadband fund, underserved rural communities can now have the opportunity to access even more funds to benefit from much-needed investment in local infrastructure to deliver high-speed internet.”
This next phase of the Connecting British Columbia program will provide access to funds to support connectivity projects throughout the province. These funds may include building infrastructure to bring connectivity to entire regions or making final connections to homes and businesses.
“Many of our rural and Indigenous communities, traditionally dependent on resource industries like forestry, are working hard to diversify and strengthen their economies. Not having access to high-speed internet can be an incredible challenge for businesses looking to make investments or hire new workers,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Extending the reach of our digital infrastructure into new areas of the province supports the creation of new opportunities for investment and business growth that help rural communities thrive.”
The Connecting British Columbia program is administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust. Local governments and community organizations are encouraged to work with service providers to develop applications to the program. Submissions are reviewed and assessed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Falko Kadenbach, vice-president, ABC Communications –
“The Province of British Columbia has always been a leader in the development of essential services. This new commitment of $50 million towards broadband projects will go a long way to achieving the goal of delivering 50 megabits-per-second services to rural and Indigenous communities. As a rural service provider, we are challenged to build fast, reliable and affordable networks into more remote areas. Programs like Connecting British Columbia are vital for businesses like ours to deliver these services. We look forward to working with community champions and local governments around B.C. to apply for projects in their regions.”
Roger Stratton, owner, Horse Lake Garden Centre –
“Having high-speed internet makes it easier for us to interact with our customers, such as by taking payments using debit and updating our website. We pride ourselves on providing quality plants and personal service. Our clients today want to be able to learn about our products and services online and having this access has allowed us to modernize our business.”
Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust –
“The digital economy is growing rapidly in British Columbia, and the launch of this new $50-million connectivity fund will help to accelerate that growth even further. High-speed internet infrastructure is critical to our province’s competitiveness, and investments in connectivity for rural and Indigenous communities ensure everyone in British Columbia can share in the benefits.”
- Since July 2017, projects supported through the Province’s Connecting British Columbia program are underway or completed in 479 communities, including 83 Indigenous communities.
- This means that approximately 45,000 B.C. households now have access to high-speed internet.
- The launch of this latest phase of the program is expected to benefit people living in approximately 200 rural and Indigenous communities throughout the province.
Connecting British Columbia program: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/partner-programs/connecting-british-columbia/
For background on the Government of Canada’s connectivity strategy, visit: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/139.nsf/eng/h_00002.html
Information on internet access in B.C., including multimedia and success stories, is available via Network BC: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/internet-in-bc