Published On: Monday, 22 January 2018

$45 Million to Speed Up Internet for 154 BC Communities

$45 Million to Speed Up Internet for 154 BC Communities
The Internet Connectivity Map, maintained by the province, shows the current limited access in rural and coastal communities. Areas with Internet access are highlighted in green. To access, click on the map image.

BC - With a combined investment of $45.4 million, the Government of Canada in partnership with the Government of British Columbia will bring new or improved high-speed Internet to 154 rural and remote communities.

This improvement to online access includes service to 44 First Nations.

The funding was announced at Canada Place in Vancouver by Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

“Access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury; it’s essential," Bains said, citing the federal government's Connect to Innovate program. "High-speed Internet service is a basic tool that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of their postal code."

Philpott added, "Broadband Internet is critical to ensuring quick and reliable access to educational resources, economic development opportunities and telehealth services. The federal government is proud to partner with the province, First Nations, local communities, and the private sector to bring high-speed Internet to unserved and underserved communities, including 44 First Nations, in British Columbia.”

Representing the province at the announcment were Jinny Sims, British Columbia Minister for Citizens' Services; and Jennifer Rice, British Columbia Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and MLA for the North Coast.

This investment will help residents of these communities connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education, and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age. It will also help connect schools, hospitals, libraries, and businesses to networks that are essential to their services.

The project requires a new subsea fibre optic cable that will connect communities between Prince Rupert and Vancouver, as well as around Vancouver Island. A total of 3.5 million metres of cable will be installed.

"For too long, people living along BC’s coast and Haida Gwaii have been forced to live in technological isolation, which has affected their ability to communicate and do business in a digital world," Rice said.

"This important investment will give coastal communities and First Nations better access to key services like healthcare and education, bring new economic opportunities in tourism and other industries, and improve our ability to respond to emergencies throughout the region.”