High speed gets a high five

Kootenay region internet upgrade proposal has been approved

RYAN WILLMAN

Arrow Lakes News

Residents in areas of the Columbia Basin-Boundary region that currently do not have high speed internet connections may soon see an upgrade to their online access. On July 8 the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister Responsible for British Columbia, and David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay–Columbia announced that the government program, Connecting Canadians (Digital Canada 150), has approved the Columbia Basin Trust’s funding application to bring internet access to remote and disconnected areas. Connecting Canadians will be providing $3.34 million to the Trust’s subsidiary, Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation, who will be coordinating the project and working with 12 internet service providers to install wire or wireless infrastructures capable of providing high speed internet connection. The proposed project will target over 11,000 homes in the Kootenay region, including homes in Edgewood, Whatshan Lake and Slocan Valley.

“Columbia Basin Trust is committed to bringing better broadband to the Columbia Basin–Boundary region, and this funding is an important step forward in giving over 11,000 households the ability to participate fully in the digital world,” said Neil Muth, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “Thank you to the Minister, the Government of Canada, our local government partners and internet service providers for their efforts in bringing affordable high-speed internet services to our communities.”

Connecting Canadians was created through the 2014 Economic Action Plan and has been backed by a $305 million commitment to connect over 280,000 homes by 2017. Over 99 per cent of Canadian households currently have access to basic broadband with speeds of 1.5 Mbps, but newer online technologies typically require faster speeds and higher data transfer rates. Megabits per second, or Mbps, is an international standard unit of measurement used to measure total amounts of data downloaded. The program aims to provide internet service up to a minimum of 5 Mbps.

In the summer of 2014 the Connecting Canadians program collected data to determine areas in need of high-speed internet access then Industry Canada invited service providers to submit proposals for funding. There have been over 300 applications from service providers from every province and territory in Canada. 

 

“This is great news for the Kootenays and shows that the Government of Canada understands the importance of high-speed internet access for our communities and people.” David Wilks commented, “[This] announcement demonstrates the Government’s commitment to delivering for rural Canadians.”