(L-R) MP Jati Sidhu, Lytton’s mayor, Jan Polderman, Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims, Rod Bate, Minister of Rural Economic Development Bernadette Jordan, and Dan Mundall at the announcement of high-speed funding from Boston Bar to Lillooet. (Submitted)

Fraser Canyon residents are about to experience life in the fast lane

New gov’t funding will provide internet infrastructure allowing for high-speed access everywhere

High speeds are coming to rural communities in the Fraser Canyon—internet speeds that is.

Last week, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, together with the Honourable Jinny Sims, British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services, announced an investment of $18 million in three projects that will provide new or improved high-speed internet access to eight communities, including seven First Nations, and up to nine institutions across the province.

“This funding will help ensure reliable and affordable broadband internet access to Bridge River, T’it’q’et, Skuppah, Boothroyd, and residents and businesses in other rural communities along a 100 km corridor of the Fraser Canyon,” explained Rod Bate, president of the Lytton Area Wireless Society.

“The project will provide a fibre optic backbone linking the core of our network from Boston Bar to Lillooet, and it will allow redundant connectivity to our partner networks in the region,” Bate continued.

Made possible through the Connect to Innovate program top-up financing provided in the federal government’s Budget 2019, this funding will connect rural Canyon residents to their family and friends, allow them to conduct business online, participate in distance education, and take general advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age.

Quick facts

n Of the additional $18 million investment in high-speed internet announced today:$13.8 million will come from the Connect to Innovate program;

n Approximately $3 million will come from the Government of British Columbia, through the Connecting British Columbia program and the Northern Development Initiative Trust, pending the outcome of a due diligence process and negotiated agreement with the service providers; and

n $1.2 million will come from other contributors.

n In Budget 2019, the Government proposed historic investments of up to $6 billion for high-speed connectivity and committed to topping up Connect to Innovate as part of this funding;

Through Connect to Innovate, the Government is extending high-speed internet service to over 380,000 households and 900 rural and remote communities, of which 190 are Indigenous.

n Rural Opportunity, National Prosperity: An Economic Development Strategy for Rural Canada outlines ways to maximize federal investments to improve the quality and resiliency of community infrastructure, create good jobs, support trade and investment.

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