Feds, B.C. to Drop $37 Million to Expand High-Speed Internet

The federal government and British Columbia announced on Tuesday it will spend over $37 million to expand high-speed internet in rural areas in the province.

Funding will see 14 projects bring high-speed internet to over 7,500 households ($4,933/home), with 1,320 of these being Indigenous. One of the projects will bring cellular service to a roadway through Nisga’a Nation lands.

“These investments will provide reliable high-speed Internet access to more than 7,500 underserved homes in communities across British Columbia,” said Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, in a statement.

Who will construct and expand this high-speed internet? It includes Telus, the Nisga’a Lisims Government, Ktunaxa Nation (FlexiNET), CityWest Cable & Telephone Corp., and Kaslo infoNET Society. No contracts were awarded to SpaceX’s Starlink, which is able to connect remote communities at a fraction of the cost.

“Telus is committed to ensuring that all British Columbians have access to reliable, high-speed Internet to thrive in today’s digital world. We are proud to partner with the Government of Canada to bring our world-leading PureFibre network to more rural and Indigenous communities to ensure everyone here can connect to the people and information that matter most to them,” said Shazia Zeb Sobani, Vice-President of Customer Network Planning, Telus.

The funding announced today is part of an existing federal and provincial agreement dating back to March 2022, where $830 million was earmarked to bring high-speed internet to all remaining rural and remote areas.

According to to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the plan is to have 98% of Canadians with access to high-speed by 2026 and 100% by 2023.

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