(from left) MP Jati Sidhu, Lytton mayor Jan Polderman, Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims, Rod Bate, Minister of Rural Economic Development Bernadette Jordan, and Dan Mundall in Lytton at the announcement of funding for a fibre optic backbone from Boston Bar to Lillooet. Photo: Barbara Roden

$4 million federal grant to Lytton group will strengthen fibre optic network

Fibre optic backbone will stretch from Boston Bar to Lillooet

The Lytton Area Wireless Society and Lyttonnet will oversee one of three projects that will provide new or improved high-speed internet access to several communities in B.C., and last week it was announced that the project would receive $4 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and other funders.

The announcement was made in Lytton on July 2 by MP Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, MLA Jinny Sims, B.C. Minister of Citizens’ Services, and Mission-Matsqui-Fraser-Canyon MP Jati Sidhu. The project will see the construction of a fibre optic “backbone” from Boston Bar to Lillooet.

Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities. These highways carry large amounts of data that are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries, and businesses to function in a digital world, and many of the speakers at the funding announcement referred to the social and economic benefits the new fibre optic backbone will bring to small rural communities.

Dan Mundall, a civil engineer who was born in Lytton and has been working on high-speed internet in the area for more than 15 years, said “From south of Lytton to Bridge River, people can now live here because they have good internet, good connectivity.

“We’re able [in Lytton] to have the benefit of that, by keeping sharp minds here. It will greatly reduce the cost of our service and improve reliability.”

Sidhu said that he was pleased to be in Lytton to celebrate the announcement. “Connectivity in rural areas is on everyone’s mind.”

He introduced Jordan, who had left her Nova Scotia riding — which includes Peggy’s Cove — at 2:30 a.m. on July 2 to be in Lytton for 1 p.m. The minister praised the “gorgeous” location, saying “You have the second most beautiful riding in the country.”

On a more serious note, she said that she has heard a lot about the barriers rural communities face when it comes to reliable and affordable high-speed internet access. “Residents will have the opportunity to pursue meaningful careers, access essential services online, access businesses worldwide.”

Sims noted the history of Lytton as a meeting place. “Just as the rivers shake hands here, so too has the area been a meeting place between people. This country was developed by the railroad, and broadband is the railroad of the 21st century.

“The projects announced today will improve lives in B.C. People will be able to chat online, start online businesses that much easier. Students will be on a level playing field with their peers in cities. Internet connectivity brings hope, so that families can grow and flourish in rural communities. It brings the world to people’s doorsteps.”

She added “High speed internet and digital technology will help us preserve and revitalize First Nations languages. It gives rural residents the tools they need to open doors; allows them to keep their children at home, and brings back those who have left.

“And Canada’s Connectivity Strategy recognizes that Canadians exist outside the big cities.”

Rod Bate, president of the Lytton Area Wireless Society, said it would take a few years to get the work done: “I hope everyone has patience with us.” Lytton mayor Jan Polderman said that the project, being a backbone network, would help make internet service more reliable throughout the province. “On behalf of the people of Lytton, thank you to the federal and provincial governments for choosing our local service.”

Speaking with the Journal afterward, Polderman said that the project would allow people in the area to learn new skills, and was also good for employment. He added that it would probably be at least two years before the project was complete.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Local Liberal MP Jati Sidhu says he forgives Trudeau for brownface photos

Sidhu says Trudeau ‘didn’t know any better’ and that photos will prompt discussion

Local Liberal candidate says ad showing him with Abbotsford police officer was ‘not acceptable’

Jati Sidhu said advertisement only appeared for 30 minutes and was created by Montreal company

Cache Creek councillor has committee appointments rescinded

Council also presented with need for roof repairs to Cache Creek fire hall

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

HUB Online Network finding its feet, documenting the region

New venture already has nearly three dozen videos up on YouTube channel

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Most Read