More than $1.1 million in grants for a second wave of nine projects funded through the provincewide Connecting British Columbia program will benefit more than 80 B.C. communities located in rural and remote areas of the province by improving access to high-speed Internet.
Connecting British Columbia is a $10-million, multi-year grant program administered on behalf of the Province by Northern Development Initiative Trust that helps to pay for infrastructure required to deliver high-speed Internet connectivity to homes and businesses in rural locations throughout B.C. A total of $5.8 million in Connecting British Columbia funding for eight projects benefiting 70 communities was provided in the first wave of grants last year.
A news release said B.C. is on track to meet its goal of 100 per cent high-speed connectivity before 2021 by providing 94 per cent of British Columbians with access to high-speed Internet. “This makes B.C. one of the most connected jurisdictions in the world.”
The newest list of communities affected by the program includes the North Shuswap, Lee Creek, St. Ives, Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, and Chase. Another project will serve Spences Bridge, Boston Bar/North Bend and Yale. As well, rural Lytton areas are slated for upgrading, including Lytton 2 Mile Reserve, Lytton 3 Mile Reserve, St. Georges Road and Lytton 4 Mile Reserve.
A federal announcement last June said the Connecting Canadians program would provide Internet to 2,821 homes in the Kamloops-Thompson-Carboo riding in 2017 and 2018, including 18 at the Whispering Pines reserve and 169 elsewhere in Electoral Area P. Locations weren’t specified.
The Province works with other levels of government and the private sector, including large and small Internet service providers, to offer a number of connectivity programs and services.
A $2-million B.C. Broadband Satellite Initiative contributes toward the installation of Xplornet Inc. satellite Internet with the provincial contribution recently increasing from $250 to a maximum of $350 per installation.