B.C. announces funding to improve internet connectivity in remote areas

Funds could benefit North Island communites in Savary Island, Heriot Bay and Zeballos with better connectivity

Internet services to remote communities are going to be amped up, after users voiced a need for better connectivity.

According to the provincial minister of citizens’ services, Anne Kang, new funding will enhance internet connectivity and access in under-served communities.

The Minister announced the targeted funding after communities voiced increased instances of slowdowns and outages.

Kang said that internet connectivity in remote places is essential to support online classrooms and access to Telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People working from home, students learning remotely and families practising physical distancing all need to know they can depend on internet access during this public-health emergency.”

North Island areas such as Savary Island, Heriot Bay and Zeballos will benefit from this as the funding applies to any location in rural B.C. with a cluster of under-served homes that currently have terrestrial internet services less than 25 Megabit service per second (Mbps) download and 5 Mbps upload and is served by an existing network.

Service providers in B.C. can apply for grants of up to $50,000 or 90 per cent of their expenses, said Kang.

The cash for the internet upgrades comes from the $50-million Connecting British Columba program, to improve network gear and antennas, as well as other vital equipment.

Applications for funds are now being accepted by the Northern Development Initiative Trust. Submissions will be reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis, with funding decisions made within three to five business day.

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