Universal Broadband Fund–supported project will bring high-speed Internet to southern British Columbia
Rural British Columbians to benefit from increased connectivity
February 18, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we rely on our connections. Now more than ever, Canadians across the country need access to reliable high-speed Internet as many of us are working, learning, and staying in touch with friends and family from home. Right now, too many Canadians living in rural and remote communities lack access to high-speed Internet. Through the Universal Broadband Fund’s (UBF) Rapid Response Stream, the Government of Canada is taking immediate action to get Canadians connected to the high-speed Internet they need.
Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced $6.7 million in funding for TELUS Communications to bring high-speed Internet to rural residents of British Columbia. This project will connect 1,977 underserved households in the following regions: Pemberton, Steelhead, Ryder Lake, northwest of Princeton and the north Sunshine Coast.
The $1.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund was launched on November 9, 2020. The project being announced today was approved within three months of the formal launch of the program. Projects funded under the UBF, as well as through other public and private investments, will help connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2026 and achieve the national target of 100% connectivity by 2030.
To facilitate applications for projects like this one, the UBF provides a pathfinder service for applicants, particularly for those who need more support to build partnerships, find potential sources of funding and navigate the application process.
Today’s announcement builds on the progress the Government of Canada has already made to support British Columbians living in rural and remote communities. Since 2015, the federal government has invested over $2 billion in more than 113 infrastructure projects in British Columbia communities. These investments mean 124 km of new or upgraded roads that are making our communities safer; more than 604 projects that are providing residents with cleaner, more sustainable sources of drinking water; and more than 3,282 additional housing units in rural communities, helping ensure all British Colombians have a safe place to call home.
“High-speed Internet service is essential to the success of everyone living and working in rural British Columbia. Today’s investment will bring reliable, high-speed Internet access to 1,977 households in southern British Columbia, helping create jobs, improving access to health care and online learning services, and keeping people connected to their loved ones. Our government has committed approximately $90 million to 20 connectivity projects in British Columbia, which will connect over 28,000 more households to better, faster Internet. We will continue to make investments like these to help connect every Canadian to the high-speed Internet they need.”
- The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
“Access to reliable, high-speed Internet is essential for our health, safety, work and education, as well as for the way we communicate. The pandemic has only reinforced this reality and highlighted the need to bridge the urban-rural connectivity divide. Today’s investment is an important step in doing just that, providing better connection to hundreds of homes on the Sunshine Coast and in the Squamish-Lillooet regional districts. Projects like this will ensure that 98% of Canadian households have access to high-speed Internet by 2026 and that every Canadian has access to high-speed Internet by 2030.”
- Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country
“TELUS is committed to ensuring all British Columbians can stay connected to the people and information that matter the most. Social capitalism is a central thesis of what we do, and by bringing our PureFibre network to 11 more rural communities in partnership with the Universal Broadband Fund, we are bridging digital divides. Since 2013, we have invested more than $5 billion to connect 2.5 million premises in 137 communities to our PureFibre network, including 1.6 million Canadians living in rural and remote parts of our country, as well as 56 First Nations in B.C. These investments ensure British Columbians in more remote parts of our province have equal access to the educational, health and economic opportunities that PureFibre’s speed and capacity provide.”
- Shazia Zeb Sobani, Vice-President of Customer Network Implementation, TELUS
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.
Applications to the Universal Broadband Fund are being accepted until 3:00 p.m. (ET) on March 15, 2021.
The UBF is part of a suite of federal investments to improve high-speed Internet. The suite includes the Connect to Innovate program, which is expected to connect nearly 400,000 households by 2023, and the recently announced $2-billion broadband initiative from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA
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