PRINCE GEORGE – Families and communities with high-speed Internet access will benefit from $2.5 million in upgrades as part of up to a $10 million investment by the B.C. Government that will speed up and expand their Internet service and remove bottlenecks.
This investment in connectivity fulfils the commitment made in Budget 2015/16 and is part of the Province’s strategy to reach the goal of 100% high-speed connectivity before 2021.
When complete, ABC’s expanded network will cover 13,500 square kilometres including communities in the Okanagan-Similkameen, Cariboo, North Okanagan, Thompson-Nicola, Kootenay-Boundary and Fraser-Fort George areas.
“Technology is so ingrained in everyday life– and people living in the north want to be active in the online world,” says Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie. “From e-commerce to family Skype sessions, this investment will help individuals stay connected.”
The project will leverage LTE cellular technology to provide a wireless alternative to cable and ADSL broadband using licensed 3.5 GHz radio spectrum. This will expand the available service to the regions covered by ABC’s network.
The Connecting British Columbia program is designed to help with issues such as ‘last-mile infrastructure access’ which is the connection from the main network line to the individual subscriber, often the barrier to expanding Internet service in rural communities.
Connecting British Columbia is administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust and covers the entire province. Eligible applicants are selected based their project’s potential to provide expanded or improved Internet service to British Columbians in rural and remote areas.
“We are proud to have this opportunity to help bring modern Internet access to British Columbians in rural or remote locations that otherwise may not have the ability to access the resources online so many of us benefit from and enjoy,” says Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.
“This project is going to mean significant improvements to service and reach in my community of Quesnel and across the North,” says Bob Allen, CEO, ABC Communications Inc. “Residents and businesses are going to really appreciate what we’re going to build here.”
- The communities benefiting from today’s announcement include 92 Mile, Bear Lake, Beaverdell, Bridge Lake, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Green Lake, Hixon, Horsefly, Lac La Hache, Little Fort, Lumby, Prince George, Quesnel, Rock Creek, and Sinkut.
- High-speed Internet is considered to be at least 5Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed.
- 94% of British Columbians currently have access to high-speed Internet service.
- To date, 190 First Nations communities now have access to broadband infrastructure, up from 85 in 2008.