Funding announced for a multi-year project to improve connectivity for 5,429 rural households
Funding was announced Thursday in Castlegar for rural communities and areas in the Columbia Basin — encompassing 5,429 homes — to create access to high-speed Internet.
This new multi-year, $82-million project is being funded by the federal and provincial governments, the regional districts of Central Kootenay, Columbia Shuswap, Kootenay Boundary, East Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust.
“The Internet is an essential service for all of society, but unfortunately, we still have areas of the Columbia Basin that do not have access to the same level of high-speed connectivity and reliability as more populated communities,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust following the major announcement Thursday at the CBT office in Castlegar.
“The Trust is pleased to partner in addressing this gap and in helping bring fibre optic infrastructure to over 5,400 rural households across the Basin.”
To better connect more rural households, this project includes some expansion of the Trust’s current fibre optic network and will establish a last-mile network, infrastructure that Internet service providers can use to deliver high-speed Internet to rural communities and areas of the Basin.
As communities are connected, people can get in touch with an Internet service provider to sign up for service.
This project has an overall scheduled completion date of March 2027. First steps are finalizing project design and permitting.
“Connecting rural communities to affordable high-speed Internet service has been an ongoing vision of the Regional Connectivity Committee and our regional districts,” says Southeastern BC Regional Connectivity Committee Chair Rob Gay.
“We are deeply grateful for this significant infrastructure investment and know it will have a profound and lasting impact on our region.”
The communities that will benefit include: Appledale, Baynes Lake, Blaeberry, Brandon, Burton, Caithness, Carrolls Landing, Cassimayooks No.5 (ʔaq̓am), Castledale, Donald, East Arrow Park, Edgewood, Elko, Erie, Fauquier, Field, Forde, Fort Steele, Galloway, Grasmere, Hall, Harrogate, Hills, Jersey, Kicking Horse, Kragmont, Lebahdo, Lemon Creek, Makinson, Mayook, Meadowbrook, Meadows, Moberly, Monroe Lake, Nelway, New Denver, Nicholson, Park Siding, Parson, Passmore, Perrys, Porto Rico, Roosville, Rosebery, Ross Spur, Rural Slocan, Rural Salmo, Silverton including Red Mountain Road, Skookumchuck, Slocan Park, Spillimacheen, Summit Lake, Sweetwater, Ta Ta Creek, Tobacco Plains (Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it First Nation), Vallican, Wardner, Winlaw and Rural Ymir.
For more details, visit ourtrust.org/CTB.
- Quick facts
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.
- The Universal Broadband Fund is a $3.225 billion investment by the Government of Canada designed to help provide high-speed Internet access to 98% of Canadians by 2026 and achieve the national target of 100% access by 2030.
- Today, 93.5% of Canadian households have access to high-speed Internet, compared to just 79% in 2014.
- In March 2022, Canada and British Columbia announced a broadband partnership. This agreement represents a plan to connect all remaining rural households in British
- Columbia to high-speed Internet through a total combined investment of up to $830 million.
- Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested nearly $525 million in connectivity projects in British Columbia.