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East Shore of Kootenay Lake seniors benefit from connectivity investments

People who are looking to access online education and health care services, including seniors, will soon have high-speed internet access in Shuswap and around south Kootenay Lake.

The Connecting British Columbia program will provide up to $3.07 million to Telus and Swift Internet for four projects to improve the speed and reliability of internet access in communities including Tappen, Bastion Bay, Deep Creek, Annis, Carlin, Balmoral, Bastion Bay and communities of Sanca, Boswell and Gray Creek on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake.

"The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society has been proud to help seniors learn how to use technology in a safe, approachable environment for several years," said Thomas Briginshaw, the society's executive director.

"Staying connected to others has been especially important during the pandemic, and improved internet connections in rural areas throughout the Shuswap will help more people access services and stay in touch."

Record investments in connectivity are a crucial component of the StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan. The Connecting British Columbia program was expanded with a one-time, $90-million grant to support investments that set up more people, communities and local businesses for success in the post-pandemic economy.

The Connecting British Columbia program provides grants to internet service providers that help pay for the cost of infrastructure to improve high-speed internet access in rural and Indigenous communities.

Northern Development Initiative Trust has been the fund administrator for the Connecting British Columbia program since its inception in 2015.

Northern Development is a regionally operated economic development funding corporation for central and northern British Columbia and operates independently from government.

The projects being announced are expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2021.