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Faster internet now available for 5 more island communities

The province's investment is part of StrongerBC: Good Lives in Strong Communities
North Island MLA Michele Babchuk is pleased to announce faster, reliable internet access in Quatsino and Coal Harbour.

People in more than 800 households in five communities on Vancouver Island now have access to high-speed broadband internet unlocking better, faster access to digital services and opportunities.

"Faster, reliable internet access for these five Island communities will provide more economic opportunities and allow people to succeed in their home communities," said Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island and Premier's liaison for cellular and connectivity. "Providing the same level of access to opportunities and services for people across British Columbia ensures everyone can thrive, no matter where they live."

New connectivity infrastructure has been installed at:

* Quatsino Subdivision 18 of the Quatsino First Nation;

* Coal Harbour;

* Sproat Lake;

* Forbidden Plateau; and

* Ross Road, including homes along approximately 2.3 kilometres of the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay.

Service provider Telus is now providing faster, more reliable broadband internet services for residents.

"Providing reliable high-speed internet connections to all residents in northern Vancouver Island has been one of our primary objectives for the past decade," said Andrew Hory, director for Electoral Area B and chair of the board of the Regional District of Mount Waddington. "This communication infrastructure is essential to our programs and services, to retain and attract workers and their families, and to instil the growth and changes much needed in our rural communities."

The Government of British Columbia has invested $2.6 million through the Connecting British Columbia program administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust. Telus contributed more than $2.6 million, alongside $37,500 from the Regional District of Mount Waddington.

"High-speed internet makes it easier for people to stay connected and enables better collaboration within our community," said Norman Champagne, senior manager, Quatsino First Nation. "Access to better, faster broadband internet will support and further our efforts to preserve and share our traditions and stories in the digital age."

The province's investment is part of StrongerBC: Good Lives in Strong Communities, the Province's new vision outlining investments to help build a brighter future for rural communities and the people who call them home. Increasing connectivity also supports Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.'s Industrial Future.

In March 2022, the Governments of British Columbia and Canada announced a partnership to invest up to $830 million to expand high-speed internet services. B.C.'s commitment is to connect all remaining underserved households in B.C. by 2027.

The Connecting British Columbia and Connecting Communities BC funding programs support projects to expand high-speed internet access to rural and remote areas of the province. The plan to connect all households will level the playing field for British Columbians, ensuring better access to services and economic opportunities for every community.

"Telus is proud to partner with the Government of B.C. to bring world-leading PureFibre network to these five Island communities," said Shazia Zeb Sobani, vice-president, customer network planning, Telus. "This project will allow residents to stay connected, support their local communities and access resources they need from the comfort of their own homes. We share the government's commitment to build stronger, more connected communities."

Joel McKay, chief executive officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust, noted that the Connecting BC program "truly works to connect all British Columbians, whether on Vancouver Island or anywhere else. We applaud the Province for its ongoing commitment to bring high-speed internet to everyone in B.C."

About the Author: North Island Gazette Staff

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