Faster, more reliable Internet coming to rural British Columbia

News Release

Projects will improve high-speed Internet coverage throughout north, south and Interior of the province

April 15, 2016 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

For most Canadians, access to affordable and reliable broadband networks is an important part of everyday life. However, communities outside urban centres often face challenges in accessing Internet service at levels comparable to those in cities due to factors such as remote location and challenging terrain.

Ten British Columbia Internet service providers are receiving a total of approximately $16 million from the Government of Canada to increase broadband Internet access for approximately 23,000 households throughout rural British Columbia. The Government of British Columbia is also providing approximately $3.4 million for six of the projects through its Connecting British Columbia program.

Canadians in all parts of the country need access to high-speed Internet to take advantage of new economic and business opportunities and to connect with friends and family in Canada and beyond.

This funding through the Connecting Canadians program will provide the communities with access to broadband at speeds of five megabits per second or more.


"Helping to extend high-speed Internet across the country is one of the most important infrastructure investments the Government of Canada can make to help unlock the tremendous potential of our country's northern and rural regions. By working with partners across the country, the Government is helping to deliver increased broadband coverage to underserved areas across Canada."

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

"Access to high-speed Internet is increasingly important in today's technical world, especially in rural and remote regions. This latest investment will help local British Columbia service providers, both small and large, expand Internet service to thousands of households in the north, south and interior regions of the province, and it complements investments made through our Connecting British Columbia program. As part of our #BCTECH Strategy, we are committed to providing high-speed Internet access to 100 percent of the province by 2021, and today's announcement takes us one step further toward meeting this goal."

– The Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services, Government of British Columbia

"Faster, more reliable broadband Internet is essential for people in rural communities in British Columbia. This is a significant investment that will provide British Columbians with greater employment and business opportunities, better access to online education and e-health, improved communications and media, and increased access to online goods and services."

– Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country

"A strong digital economy is the backbone of Canada's future prosperity, and that begins with ensuring all citizens have access to fast, reliable Internet connections. This new partnership with the Government of Canada will make it possible for us to extend our existing investment to connect even more rural Canadian families to the emerging digital economy and the educational, medical, social and cultural opportunities this connectivity creates, thereby strengthening our communities and the fabric of our nation."

–Tony Geheran, TELUS Executive Vice-President and President of Broadband Networks

"The Connecting Canadians Program will provide a vital boost to expanding and upgrading A.B.C.'s communications network capacity in the Interior of British Columbia. We look forward to providing the next generation of fixed wireless services in British Columbia over the next few years. Our services will deliver fast, affordable and reliable broadband to 12,000 homes using the latest technology available today. The continued commitment by the Government of Canada and the Honorable Navdeep Bains is driving Canada into the next digital age."

– Bob Allen, CEO, A.B.C. Allen Business Communications Ltd.

"Mascon is very excited to be working with the federal government to bring much-needed high-speed Internet to Lee Creek, St. Ives, Mara, Tofino and Silver Creek. Once the project is completed, all these areas will be connected by fibre optics and have speeds up to 1 Gbps. Providing fibre-based services to rural communities is very expensive, but with the government helping to cover some of the costs, these projects become affordable and make a big difference to the people living in these remote regions of British Columbia."

– Darren Muloin, General Manager, Mascon Cable Systems Ltd.

"Twin Island Communications is committed to providing high-speed Internet to remote communities in the Discovery Islands. We are excited for the opportunity to partner with the Canadian government to upgrade our backhaul links in our wireless network. The upgrades will help us continue to provide service to underserved communities and will facilitate the growth we need for the ever-expanding services the Internet has to offer."

– Constantinos Tsakonas, General Manager, Twin Island Communications Ltd.

"These are areas in British Columbia where we are now providing service that have no cell phone coverage and previously no access to high-speed Internet. People living in these communities are at a significant disadvantage in the world today, isolated not only geographically but also without access to essential communications. Now as a direct result of this program, we are able to offer affordable, faster new networks and services that promote social and economic growth. Using the latest developments in wireless communications technology, we deliver high-speed Internet and data for rural communities and remote industrial applications."

– Davin Peterson, Executive Director, Base Technology Ltd.

"Funding provided by the Government of Canada and other partners in 2010 provided the capital to build a dedicated network to replace dial-up Internet access with 1.5 Mbps broadband service. The recent contributions made by the Government of Canada and partners will allow Minto Communications Society to upgrade its network to offer 5 Mbps broadband service, a level of Internet performance that better meets the needs and expectations of our residential and commercial rural users. High-speed Internet access is not an option; it is now a necessity for retaining existing residents and attracting new industry and residents into our community. Minto Communications Society applauds the Government of Canada for making this upgrade possible."

– Chris Donald, Vice-President, Minto Communications Society

"We are extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity. This funding has enabled us to expand our network by upgrading the links between our towers. This now allows us to provide a faster, more reliable quality of service to our customers in the underserved areas so they can access all opportunities of the Internet. Farms, families and small businesses are now enjoying the added benefits of these upgrades to monitor their homes, equipment and other facilities. On behalf of our loyal customers that have supported us through some tough times as we got the infrastructure in place, we'd all like to say thank you to the Connecting Canadians program and other federal partners for making this possible in the rural areas of British Columbia we serve, including Spences Bridge, Boston Bar and North Bend, Yale, and outlying areas of Chilliwack and Mission."

– George Pede, Director of Operations, Sales & Purchases Ltd.

"Without the Connecting Canadians Program we simply never would have been able to raise the funds to connect us to the rest of Canada and the world outside our door. This is our fibre optic backbone, connecting our communities and allowing access to increasing opportunities in medicine, education, cultural exchange and economic diversification."

– Carol‎ Kulesha, CEO, GwaiiTel Society

"Rural communities continually face many challenges to joining the "technical world." Bringing high-speed Internet is a major step, and it is extremely exciting for the Village of Granisle to be included and awarded funding for Internet expansion. This will now allow us to offer increased, faster and reliable service while focusing on economic development and attracting potential business investment. Additionally, with high-speed Internet in the fast-paced technical world, our community strives to ensure that the visiting public as well as our local residents will be in a position to access online education programs, updated e-health and many online goods and services."

– Linda McGuire, Mayor, Village of Granisle

"Brooks Bay Cable Corp. is pleased to announce we are nearing the completion of our microwave project, bringing more bandwidth to the Village of Port Alice. This project was jointly funded by the federal government's Connecting Canadians program, the provincial government's Northern Development Initiative Trust and Brooks Bay Cable Corp. The project involved building a new solar- and wind-powered microwave tower in the Regional District of Mount Waddington, new microwave facilities in Port Alice and a co-locate of dishes in Port Hardy. The initial capacity will improve from 30 Mbps to 200 Mbps, with an upgrade capacity to 500 Mbps. We would like to express our thanks to the Connecting Canadians program, the Northern Development Initiative Trust, the good people at Network B.C., Telus and our office manager Holly Aldis who coordinated the whole project. Thank you all."

– Bill Feader, CEO, Brooks Bay Cable Corp.

Quick facts

  • The $305-million Connecting Canadians program will extend and enhance broadband service to over 300,000 households across Canada.
  • Additionally, through Budget 2016, the Government of Canada will invest $500 million over five years for a new program to extend and enhance broadband service in rural and remote communities.

Associated links


Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada

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