The Province and CityWest announced Monday that residents and businesses in New Hazelton and Lake Kathlyn will be better able to access faster Internet speeds, with the B.C. government investing over $828,000 investment in two new connectivity projects that will soon get underway.
Prince Rupert-based Internet service provider CityWest will contribute over $1.93 million to the projects for a total investment of more than $2.76 million. The provincial portion is being provided through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Over 1,100 rural households and businesses will have better opportunities to learn, do business, access services and stay connected through the installation of the first direct fibre lines in the areas. CityWest’s new fibre connections will provide Lake Kathlyn and New Hazelton with Internet speeds comparable with major urban centres. CityWest’s projects complement other Internet improvements being made by other Internet service providers operating in the wider region.
Connecting British Columbia is a multi-year grant program funded by the Province and administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust to support new and upgraded backbone and last-mile infrastructure projects in rural and remote communities in B.C. to drive innovation, regional growth and the creation of new jobs. The program can be used for new Internet connections and to upgrade existing Internet connections, for local Internet infrastructure builds and for new pathways.
As part of its Rural Economic Development Strategy, the Province recently announced a further investment of $40 million to the Connecting British Columbia program for a total of $50 million to help regional Internet service providers, Aboriginal organizations, local governments and other organizations to expand or enhance Internet connectivity in currently unconnected and underserved areas of B.C.
This additional funding aligns with the Province’s #BCTECH Strategy to bring the province closer to 100 per cent high-speed connectivity and help eligible B.C.-based Internet service providers leverage the new federal $500-million Connect to Innovate program to maximize funding available for rural connectivity projects.
Under the Connecting British Columbia program, nearly $10 million has been allocated to more than 25 projects that will improve or expand Internet services in over 200 communities around the province. To date, more than 40,000 households have benefited from the Connecting British Columbia program.