People in Clinton, Deka Lake, and Wells will soon enjoy the economic, social, and safety benefits of high-speed Internet as a result of new or upgraded broadband infrastructure.
“High-speed Internet access is critical for people to learn, do business and communicate with each other. In today’s connected world, reliable and affordable internet access is no longer a luxury—it’s an absolute necessity,” says Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services.
“These new projects will help ensure residents of Clinton, Deka Lake and Wells have the same opportunities online as British Columbians in urban centres.”
In July 2018, $16 million was made available through the Connecting British Columbia program. The fund, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust, offers Internet service providers and other local organizations the opportunity to apply for grants to improve high-speed Internet access in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities.
Applications are being accepted for projects that connect homes and businesses directly, as well as transport infrastructure projects to bring connectivity to entire regions of British Columbia. Successful applicants may receive up to a 50 per cent contribution for project costs, and submissions are being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The local company, ABC Communications, is receiving Connecting British Columbia grant funding to install or upgrade existing networks and provide homes and businesses with high-speed Internet at download speeds reaching 50 Mbps. Residents in these communities will have a connection that is fast enough to load a web page instantly and stream high-definition multimedia content.
Wayne Walch, Clinton Volunteer Fire Department chief, says “Broadband connectivity is essential to Clinton. As fire chief, I can attest to the need for reliable connectivity during emergency situations.
“With the wildfire of 2017 approaching our village, the fire commissioner set up a mobile command centre enabled through broadband connections. They had access to satellite information, news coverage and other levels of government organizations, which greatly assisted in the co-ordination of our efforts and the dissemination of critical information.”
Karen Jeffery, executive artistic director, Sunset Theatre Society in Wells, says “The connection between arts and the Internet have become a lifeline for rural arts organizations. In the fast-paced world of having information at your fingertips, it’s imperative that we continue to be able to offer that service to visiting artists wanting to create in a rural environment while still being connected to an urban centre.”
Falko Kadenbach, vice-president, ABC Communications, says “Throughout the past two summers, British Columbians have been challenged by natural disasters. ABC Communications, along with other service providers, provides a lifeline to many in rural B.C. during these events.
Connecting British Columbia will provide $334,108 to install a fibre-optic network for 327 homes and businesses in Clinton.