PRINCE GEORGE – Rural communities and highways in British Columbia benefitted from a significant expansion in connectivity and improvements in digital infrastructure in 2014.

Prince George has seen 37.3 km of connectivity added between Prince George and Bear Lake in 2014.

“Wireless accessibility can play a huge role in contributing to travellers’ safety, particularly in rural areas,” Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris said. “Throughout this past year, TELUS has increased safety in our region by expanding coverage service.”

Accomplished as part of the Connecting BC Agreement with TELUS, regional milestones include 12.5 km of connectivity between McBride and Tête Jaune Cache.

“In today’s world, being connected is important for business and personal reasons,” Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said. “For those of us who live in more rural and Northern parts of our province, added connectivity means safer travel and improved access to important information.”

The provincial government’s goal is to see every British Columbian with access to high-speed Internet by 2021. The provincial government is excited to work with other levels of government and the private sector to make this happen in an efficient and timely fashion.

This new expanded service means safer travel for drivers, faster reporting of road accidents and better response times by emergency workers.

The government of B.C. continues to partner with the federal government to support the Pathways to Technology project managed by the All Nations Trust Company to connect First Nations communities to the Internet.

This year the government of B.C. launched the $2 million BC Broadband Satellite Initiative in partnership with Xplornet Communications Inc. As of the end of December 2014, more than 1,000 satellite subscribers around the province now have service in areas where traditional broadband service is not possible. Over the next three years, the program will continue to provide assistance with a portion of the installation cost of a satellite Internet connection for customers with no other options for broadband.

At this year’s UBCM, Premier Christy Clark renewed the government’s commitment to expand high-speed Internet service to rural communities. B.C. is committed to achieving the goal of 100% Internet connectivity to keep it as one of the most connected jurisdictions in the world.