Rural BC communities to receive $45.4 million in high-speed internet funding

This is the latest grant for the federal government's Connect to Innovate fund, and the first for B.C.

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On Wednesday, the provincial government of British Columbia and the federal government of Canada announced $45.4 million in funding aimed at furnishing rural communities in British Columbia with high-speed internet access.

One hundred fifty rural and remote communities — including 44 First Nations communities — along the coast of the province are slated to benefit from the investment. Approximately 160 institutions are set to benefit from the project as well.

A portion of the funding will go towards laying down subsea fibre optic cable that will connect communities between Prince Rupert and Vancouver, as well as around Vancouver Island.

Approximately $22 million of the funding comes courtesy of the federal government’s Connect to Innovate program, while the remaining $23.4 million will come almost equally from Indigenous Services Canada and the Government of British Columbia.

“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,” said Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains in a January 17th media release. “Thanks to our Connect to Innovate program, more Canadians will able to participate fully in the digital economy.”

Two organizations, the Strathcona Regional District and CityWest Cable and Telephone, will receive the entirety of the funding to build out the necessary infrastructure.

The federal government’s Connect to Innovate program is a $500 million fund aimed at improving high-speed internet access in Canada’s rural and remote communities. Previous investments have included parts of Quebec, all 25 Nunavut communities, Newfoundland and Labrador, and northern Ontario.

Source: ISED