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Investments aim to improve internet speed and reliability in remote Island communities

The Province says Cortes Island, Zeballos and Quadra Island are just a few of the rural communities that will benefit from faster and more reliable internet as part of the StrongerBC: Economic Recovery Plan.

“Improvements to internet access will begin to arrive this year, unlocking opportunities for people, families and workplaces in coastal areas,” says Citizens Services Minister Lisa Beare. “Connectivity brings the world to our doorsteps.”

The Connecting British Columbia program expanded last September, with a $90-million grant aimed to encourage investment in broadband and cellular infrastructure. Its goal is to benefit people in rural and Indigenous communities.

Thanks to the program, service provider CityWest will receive more than $10 million to enhance connectivity for more than 2,800 households in places like Whaletown, as well as communities within the territories of the Haida Nation, Nuxalk Nation, Ehattesaht First Nation and Klahoose First Nation.

The Province says CityWest is also a proponent behind Connected Coast Network, a $45.4-million investment in coastal connectivity that’s funded in part by the Connecting British Columbia program. The project will bring a fibre-optic connection to coastal communities on Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island and between Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

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For North Island MLA Michele Babchuk, this comes as welcome news. She says people throughout the North Island and Discovery Islands will soon have access to the same opportunities as many others because of these projects.

“I’m pleased to see we are approaching a day when everyone on our coast has the internet access they need,” Babchuk says. “Our region is in the midst of significant economic shifts and connecting communities to high-speed internet brings opportunities for more diverse economies with good, stable jobs well into the future.”

The Province continues to welcome internet service providers’ applications to the Connecting British Columbia program’s Economic Recovery Intake. “Funds from the program will benefit people in hundreds of rural and Indigenous communities throughout B.C. this year,” it adds.

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