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61,000 rural B.C. homes supplied with high-speed internet since 2019: project update

The project aims to provide high-speed internet coverage to rural and remote areas of the province
Less than 40 per cent of rural and remote communities in B.C. have access to high-speed internet. (File photo)

Over the past three years, more than 61,000 homes across B.C. now have high-speed internet and cellular coverage, thanks to the Connecting British Columbia Project.

Since starting in 2019, phase three of the project has connected an estimated 29,000 B.C. households in areas such as the Creston and Squamish Valleys, at a cost of $48 million, according to a B.C. auditor general’s report released this week.

Phase four, which began in 2020, has seen 55 projects to date, costing $85 million and connecting 32,000 homes across 224 communities, including the northern B.C. Indigenous regions of Nechako, the Cariboo and North Coast. Increased cell coverage has also been added along 252 kilometres of Highway 16, with another 177 kilometres of service across other northern highways.

The report says that COVID has highlighted the need for high-speed internet and better cell service in more rural areas of B.C. Phase three addressed this by accelerating the implementation of some projects to provide access to the services quicker, while phase four has been integrated into StrongerBC’s economy recovery plan.

The report notes some of the challenges facing the project, including the complex infrastructure needed to supply high-speed internet.

Phase three’s projects are scheduled for a March 2025 completion while phase four is slated to wrap up in October 2022.


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