People living in more rural, remote and Indigenous communities throughout B.C. have enhanced internet services because of projects quickly completed through a recently launched connectivity initiative.
“These projects are providing upgraded internet for many people in rural or remote communities who are working or studying from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Internet service providers joined the B.C. government to find ways to quickly boost connectivity and make a difference for B.C. households and businesses in many areas of the province.”
In April 2020, the B.C. government launched the COVID-19 Response Intake through the Connecting British Columbia Program. Internet service providers applied for grants of up to $50,000 – or 90% of their project expenses.
The COVID-19 Response Intake was a success, with 47 rapid network upgrade projects completed. A total of 9,300 households in various areas of the province have benefited from the positive impact of this initiative. Seventeen of these projects were awarded to community-based internet service providers, with the remaining awarded to one of Canada’s leading internet service providers.
Projects completed include equipment upgrades to electronics, antennas and other equipment that directly support and enhance capacity, performance or the range of the network.
“I’m pleased to see the outcomes of this initiative and the rapid deployment of these upgrades,” said Bob Allen, president, British Columbia Broadband Association (BCBA). “Our members stepped up to the challenge, completing projects that provided an immediate benefit to internet speed and capacity. This work has made a difference to so many people. The BCBA is grateful to the Province for this timely and helpful support.”
The projects completed as part of the COVID-19 Response Intake mean that more people have access to the connectivity they need. Since July 2017, projects supported through the Province’s Connecting British Columbia program are underway or completed in over 500 communities, including 87 Indigenous communities.
“For an adventure tourism operation like us, reliable connectivity in the backcountry is critical to the safety of our staff and guests,” said Shelly Glasheen, owner, Valkyr Adventures. “Having internet access at our lodge allows us to access weather forecasts and bulletins in real time. It also provides our guests with the ability to connect with family or work while on vacation. We are thankful to the Edgewood Internet Society for bringing reliable internet to our community.”
Through initiatives like this, the B.C. government remains committed to providing reliable access to high-speed internet to every British Columbian in every region of the province.
Connecting British Columbia program:
Connectivity in B.C.:
To view the full list of over 500 communities, visit:
A backgrounder follows.