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High speed internet projects OK’d in the North


NDIT CEO Joel McKay
NDIT CEO Joel McKay

Shaw Communications has been awarded $7 million to build fibre-optic cable along Highway 97 between Prince George and Dawson Creek.

The funds are part of $38 million in federal, provincial, and private sector funding for five major connectivity projects in rural and Indigenous communities.

Of the total amount, the province is contributing more than $11.3 million in funding to four major connectivity projects through the provincial Connecting British Columbia program.

The provincial contribution includes:

  • $1.9 million to CityWest Cable and Telephone Corp. for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako;
  • $400,000 to Gwaii Communications for communities on Haida Gwaii;
  • $1.9 million to Shaw Communications for fibre-optic cable along Highway 99 between Whistler and Cache Creek; and
  • $7 million to Shaw Communications to build fibre-optic cable along Highway 97 between Prince George and Dawson Creek.

The federal government committed a further $19,748,063 to these four projects, plus a fifth project with the Sts’ailes Band. The federal funding for five projects is through the federal Connect to Innovate program.

In total, with federal and provincial funding, these five projects will receive $38,265,697 as local partners contribute an additional $7,151,757. That means that 33 communities in British Columbia, including 13 Indigenous communities, will benefit from this partnership.

Connecting British Columbia is a program funded by the province, and administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust, to expand and upgrade broadband connections in rural and remote communities throughout B.C.

“We are pleased to see British Columbia and its partners moving swiftly to bring reliable, high-speed internet access to communities across the province,” said Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO Joel McKay, in a news release. “Connecting communities with limited or non-existent internet access provides a swift and substantial boost to regional economies.”

“Canadians are looking for a quality internet connection – whether it’s to access education, business development, or to reach out to friends, families and loved ones,” said Brad Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications. “Our partnership with the governments of Canada and British Columbia enables us to provide superior connectivity to more communities than ever before. We look forward to working with Indigenous communities, local internet service providers and other institutions to connect their communities to our network.”

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