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Governments of Canada and British Columbia working together to bring high-speed Internet to more than 7,500 households

April 4, 2024 at 12:00 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

From Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2024/03/governments-of-canada-and-british-columbia-working-together-to-bring-high-speed-internet-to-more-than-7500-households.html  

All Canadians need reliable and affordable high-speed Internet and mobile connectivity, no matter where they live. The governments of Canada and British Columbia are taking action to improve connectivity for underserved communities.

On March 4, 2024, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, together with the Honourable George Chow, British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services, announced more than $37 million in federal and provincial funding for 14 projects to bring high-speed Internet access to communities across British Columbia. Over 7,500 households will have access to high-speed Internet, of which 1,320 are Indigenous. One project will also provide mobile service to an underserved roadway through Nisga’a Nation lands.

The funding recipients are the Nisga’a Lisims Government, TELUS, Ktunaxa Nation (FlexiNET), CityWest Cable & Telephone Corp., and Kaslo infoNET Society.

The federal and provincial funding commitments made today are part of an existing agreement between the governments of Canada and British Columbia. In March 2022, both governments announced a historic partnership to invest up to $830 million to connect households in all remaining rural, remote and Indigenous communities throughout the province to high-speed Internet.

These projects build on the Government of Canada’s progress toward ensuring that 98% of Canadians have access to high-speed Internet by 2026, and 100% by 2030, and to improve mobile connectivity across the country. On track to exceed its 2026 target, the federal government will continue to make investments in infrastructure to build strong communities and a more competitive and resilient Canada for everyone.

Quotes:

“Connectivity is an essential tool to access education and health care and to grow a business. It also improves safety and provides peace of mind. Your government has made a historic commitment to connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2026. These investments will provide reliable high-speed Internet access to more than 7,500 underserved homes in communities across British Columbia.”
– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“By increasing access to high-speed Internet, we are building strong, resilient communities in B.C. where people can thrive. The funding announced today means people in rural and remote areas of the province are able to fully participate in the digital economy and access online resources. We are committed to providing every underserved community with high-speed Internet access by 2027, so everyone can benefit from a stronger, more connected B.C.”
– The Honourable George Chow, British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services

“Today’s announcement sets the stage to bring improved connectivity to more underserved communities across the province. CityWest’s fibre-to-the-home projects will bring these residents and businesses urban-class connectivity, creating equal opportunities for more rural, remote and Indigenous British Columbians. We would like to express our thanks to the Province of B.C. and the federal government for their vision on ensuring that these communities are able to unlock their connectivity destiny.”
– Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest Cable & Telephone Corp.

“This is not just a story about Internet connectivity; this is a story about our ability as a self-governing nation to create partnerships to improve the lives of Nisga’a citizens and advance our economy on Nisga’a Lands. Our investments in the Lisims network will enable us to determine our own success and increase the ability of our people, our businesses and our youth to fully participate and thrive in our increasingly digital world.”
– Eva Clayton, President of Nisga’a Nation

“As a community non-profit, Kaslo infoNet Society (KiN) has direct experience with the impact connectivity can have in small, rural communities. We’ve seen first-hand how access to high-speed Internet can transform lives, enabling local businesses to thrive, students to learn without boundaries, and health care services to be delivered more efficiently. This generous funding acknowledges the crucial role of connectivity in levelling the playing field for rural areas, and we are both excited and grateful for the opportunity. Through this investment, KiN is committed to enhancing digital access and ensuring that our community not only stays connected but also moves forward together in today’s increasingly digital world.”
– Isaac Maxfield, Executive Director of Kaslo infoNet Society

“TELUS is committed to ensuring that all British Columbians have access to reliable, high-speed Internet to thrive in today’s digital world. We are proud to partner with the Government of Canada to bring our world-leading PureFibre network to more rural and Indigenous communities to ensure everyone here can connect to the people and information that matter most to them. This well-needed gigabit connectivity will enable these communities to participate globally to enable better economic, educational, health and social outcomes.”
– Shazia Zeb Sobani, Vice-President of Customer Network Planning, TELUS

Quick Facts:

  • Canada’s Connectivity Strategy aims to provide all Canadians with access to Internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download / 10 Mbps upload.
  • The Universal Broadband Fund is a $3.225 billion investment by the Government of Canada designed to help provide high-speed Internet access to 98% of Canadians by 2026 and achieve the national target of 100% access by 2030.
  • Today, 93.5% of Canadian households have access to high-speed Internet, compared to just 79% in 2014.
  • In March 2022, Canada and British Columbia announced a broadband partnership. This agreement represents a plan to connect all remaining rural households in British Columbia to high-speed Internet through a total combined investment of up to $830 million.
  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested over $533 million in connectivity projects in British Columbia.
  • Since 2017, the Government of British Columbia has invested $584 million in connectivity projects in the province.

Associated links:

Universal Broadband Fund: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/high-speed-internet-canada/en/universal-broadband-fund

High-Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/high-speed-internet-canada/en/canadas-connectivity-strategy/high-speed-access-all-canadas-connectivity-strategy

High-Speed Internet Access Dashboard: https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/stsidcr/web/high-speed-internet-canada/en/universal-access/broadband-dashboard.html

National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/app/scr/sittibc/web/bbmap?lang=eng#!/map

High-speed Internet for all Canadians: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/high-speed-internet-canada/en

Rural economic development: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/rural/en

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