Rural and remote communities in British Columbia will benefit from faster Internet
Residents in 33 communities to get access to new or faster Internet through $38-million investment
March 13, 2018 – Skidegate, British Columbia
Internet access serves as more than just a convenience: it is an essential means by which citizens, businesses, and institutions access information, offer services and create opportunities that could otherwise be out of reach. The Government of Canada, in partnership with the Government of British Columbia and private investors, is helping to bring new or improved high-speed Internet to Canadians in 33 rural and remote communities, enabling residents to get online. The total combined investment of $38 million will benefit 33 communities, 13 of which are Indigenous communities.
The funding was announced by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Honourable Jinny Sims, British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services, at Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate, British Columbia. Today’s funding is in addition to the $45.4-million investment in high-speed Internet for coastal British Columbia announced on January 17, 2018, for a total investment of $83.6 million.
These investments will help residents of rural and remote British Columbia communities connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age. The investments will also help connect schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to networks that are essential to their services.
The Government of Canada’s $500-million Connect to Innovate program is investing an additional $19.7 million in British Columbia to go toward building the digital backbone of high-speed Internet networks. Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities. These highways carry large amounts of data that are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to function in a digital world.
“Access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury; it’s essential. High-speed Internet service is a basic tool that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of their postal code. Canadians need this service to do business, upgrade their education and build stronger communities. Thanks to our Connect to Innovate program, more Canadians will be able to participate fully in the digital economy.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
“Regardless of where they live in British Columbia, people should have access to the same high-speed Internet as that available in major urban centres like Vancouver or Victoria. This is fundamental to how all people access high-quality health care, emergency services, education and the global economy. This partnership is another example of our commitment to investing in the people of this province—urban, rural and Indigenous—creating a better future for all British Columbians.”
– The Honourable Jinny Sims, British Columbia Minister of Citizens’ Services
“We are pleased to see British Columbia and its partners moving swiftly to bring reliable, high-speed Internet access to communities across the province. Connecting communities with limited or non-existent Internet access provides a swift and substantial boost to regional economies.”
– Joel McKay, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust
“Canadians are looking for a quality Internet connection—whether it’s to access education and business development or to reach out to friends, families and loved ones. Our partnership with the governments of Canada and British Columbia enables us to provide superior connectivity to more communities than ever before. We look forward to working with Indigenous communities, local Internet service providers and other institutions to connect their communities to our network.”
– Brad Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, Shaw Communications
Of the additional $38-million investment in high-speed Internet announced today:
- $19.7 million will come from the Connect to Innovate program;
- $11.3 million will come from the Government of British Columbia, through the Connecting British Columbia program and the Northern Development Initiative Trust; and
- $7.2 million will come from other contributors.
The organizations receiving funding are:
- Shaw Communications – $11.73 million from the federal government and $9.01 million from the Government of British Columbia for two new fibre backbone projects to connect a total of 16 communities—6 of which are Indigenous communities—and 5 institutions.
- CityWest Cable & Telephone Corporation – $4 million from the federal government and $1.93 million from the Government of British Columbia for a new fibre backbone project with a small last-mile component to benefit 14 communities in northern British Columbia—including 6 Indigenous communities—and 19 institutions. The small last-mile component of the project will connect 118 households.
- Gwaii Communications – $3.88 million from the federal government and $400,000 from the Government of British Columbia for a new fibre backbone plus last-mile project to connect a total of 2 remote communities, 16 institutions and approximately 341 underserved households in Haida Gwaii.
- Sts’ailes – $135,000 for a new fibre backbone project that will benefit a large Indigenous community with four institutions.
Connect to Innovate will also fund last-mile connections to households that don’t have high-speed Internet. Thanks to this investment in high-capacity networks in remote and underserved communities, all British Columbians, including those in Indigenous communities, will be able to fully participate in the digital economy.
Connect to Innovate is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.
Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA
Karl W. Sasseville
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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