Government of Canada announces nearly $1.9 million in combined federal-provincial funding to bring high-speed Internet access to 663 rural British Columbia households

OTTAWA, ON , Sept. 6, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, together with Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, announced nearly $1.9 million in combined federal and provincial funding for two projects by CityWest to bring high-speed Internet access to 663 households on Keats Island and in New Brighton, British Columbia. These two projects are part of the larger federal-provincial funding commitment announced in May 2022.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia have partnered to support high-speed Internet projects that will connect all remaining rural households in the province. This historic agreement, announced on March 8, 2022, is being made possible by a joint federal-provincial investment totalling up to $830 million. The governments of Canada and British Columbia are now announcing details of projects selected under that agreement.

Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s progress toward making sure that 98% of Canadians have access to high-speed Internet by 2026 and 100% by 2030. Both the governments of Canada and British Columbia recognize the important role that access to high-speed Internet will have in the economic recovery from the pandemic. Their collaboration to provide better Internet services to residents of rural, remote and Indigenous communities in British Columbia will help create jobs and contribute to the economic growth of the entire province.

Quotes

“We need to close the connectivity gap and ensure that every nook and cranny of British Columbia has access to reliable high-speed Internet. Today’s announcement of nearly $1.9 million in combined federal-provincial funding to connect over 600 households in two rural communities in the province is great news for British Columbians. Investments like these help create jobs, improve access to health care and online learning services, enhance safety and keep us connected to our loved ones. The Government of Canada will continue to make investments like these to help achieve our national target of connecting 98% of Canadians by 2026 and 100% by 2030.” 
– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“Our government is committed to ensuring that all British Columbians have access to affordable and reliable high-speed Internet—a must in today’s increasingly digital world. Our investments in connectivity are creating jobs, improving access to essential services and helping families and friends stay in touch. The projects announced today will connect hundreds of homes in New Brighton and on Keats Island to fast and reliable high-speed Internet. This will make life better for everyone across our community, from families to workers to seniors.” 
Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country

“The importance of connectivity for the growth and success of our rural and remote communities cannot be overstated. Access to high-speed connectivity is vital to daily life and the long-term success of people in B.C. Investments like these ensure our rural communities can have the high-speed connectivity they need for better access to new, diversified economic opportunities. I would like to thank our federal partners for their commitment to supporting our goal to provide every community in B.C. with Internet access by 2027.” 
– The Honourable Lisa Beare, British Columbia Minister of Citizens’ Services

“Remote communities are unique and wonderful places to live, and access to high-speed Internet will make it easier for people on Keats Island and in New Brighton to do business and access online learning, and it will guarantee access to vital services and connections to loved ones near and far. All remote communities should have equitable access to high-speed Internet, and I am happy to see this project move forward.” 
Nicholas Simons, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Powell River–Sunshine Coast

“We’re thrilled to continue expanding our services to more underserved areas of British Columbia. We know how critical connectivity is for the future growth of these communities in the digital age. This last-mile fibre-optic build, along with the Connected Coast’s backbone, will future-proof Internet for Gambier Island and Keats Island for decades to come.” 
Stefan Woloszyn, CEO, CityWest

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 (UBF) is a $2.75 billion investment by the Government of Canada designed to help connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2026 and achieve the national target of 100% connectivity by 2030. Only the hardest-to-reach households may take until 2030 to get connected.

  • The UBF is part of a suite of federal investments to improve high-speed Internet access. Find out more on the High-speed Internet for all of Canada page.

  • On March 8, 2022, a Canada–British Columbia broadband partnership was announced. This agreement represents a plan to connect all remaining rural households in British Columbia to broadband through a total investment of up to $830 million, co-funded equally by both levels of government.

  • Connecting Communities BC is part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan to move the province forward by tackling the challenges of today while growing an economy that works for everyone. British Columbia’s Budget 2022 significantly accelerates the B.C. government’s commitment to close the digital divide, helping communities access new diversified economic opportunities.

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested over $522 million in projects to improve connectivity in British Colombia.

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