Over 12,000 Basin-Boundary households can look forward to better high-speed Internet access
After more than three years of hard work, residents in over 12,000 rural households, in more than 62 communities in the region, will have access to new or improved high-speed Internet.
“Rural Columbia Basin and Boundary residents love their communities for many reasons, including the remoteness, but being able to rely on the Internet to connect with the larger world—and within our own region—has become essential,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new high-speed service means residents in these areas can now access resources and enjoy opportunities that increase their quality of life.”
Partnerships with 14 Internet service providers to secure funding from the federal Connecting Canadians program, the provincial Connecting British Columbia Program and regional districts, in addition to its own funding, allowed the Columbia Basin Trust to improve access to high-speed Internet in rural communities.
Additionally, from planning to implementation, it was the Trust’s collaboration with a Regional Broadband Committee comprised of the regional districts of East Kootenay, Central Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary and Columbia Shuswap, and the Village of Valemount and the Ktunaxa Nation Council that helped make it happen.
“Improving access to high-speed Internet in our rural communities was a key priority for the Regional Broadband Committee,” said Rob Gay, Regional Broadband Committee Chair and Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area C Director. “We’re excited to see the completion of this project and all the benefits that it brings to rural area citizens.”
Important improvements allowing for significantly better connection
The project’s $8-million budget allowed for two significant improvements: the ISPs were able to expand or improve their infrastructure, most of which is wireless; and, the Trust was able to expand or improve its existing fibre optic broadband network so that ISPs could better connect to it.
The new equipment now enables a download speed of at least five megabits per second to rural households with higher speeds available in most communities.
“It’s vitally important for smaller communities throughout B.C. to have reliable, high-speed access in order to grow local economies, create jobs, access education, health care, emergency services and connect with friends and family,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “These significant accomplishments are the result of collaboration between many parties and serves as a model for other regions wanting to expand connectivity in B.C. Congratulations to everyone involved on this important achievement.”
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