It’s a milestone being felt around the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions: after more than three years of hard work, residents in over 12,000 rural households, in more than 62 communities in the region, will have access to new or improved high-speed Internet.
“Rural Columbia Basin and Boundary residents love their communities for many reasons, including their remoteness, but being able to rely on the Internet to connect with the larger world—and within our own region—has become essential,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and chief executive officer. “The new high-speed service means residents in these areas can now access resources and enjoy opportunities that increase their quality of life.”
Columbia Basin Trust partnered with 14 Internet service providers to secure funding from the federal Connecting Canadians program, the provincial Connecting British Columbia Program and regional districts, in addition to Trust funding.
“Improving access to high-speed Internet in our rural communities was a key priority for the Regional Broadband Committee,” said Rob Gay, Regional Broadband Committee chair and Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area C director.
The project’s $8-million budget allowed for improvements in two ways.
First, the ISPs were able to expand or improve their infrastructure, most of which is wireless.
Second, the Trust was able to expand or improve its existing fibre optic broadband network so that ISPs could better connect to it.