The B.C. Government has announced grants to help those living in rural, remote and Indigenous communities to get better access to high-speed internet.
The Northern Development Initiative Trust is now accepting applications for the “Connecting British Columbia” program funding for transport infrastructure projects, which the province says will deliver connectivity to entire regions.
The Ministry of Citizens’ Services says local governments and First Nations have identified the high cost of infrastructure as one of the main barriers to expanding internet services in smaller communities around British Columbia.
Eligible applicants include:
- internet-service providers
- local governments
- First Nations
- non-profit organizations
A third funding stream is also available to help local governments create connectivity strategies for their region
The improved internet is aimed to allow more people to access high-quality education, good-paying jobs, business opportunities, health care and emergency services.
The ministry says transport infrastructure moves data long distances between small towns to where it can be offloaded to the internet and that the infrastructure is necessary for communities to complete last-mile connections to homes and businesses.
NDIT is also accepting applications for projects connecting homes and businesses directly. Both transport infrastructure and last-mile project types are eligible to receive a portion of the $16-million funding.
Successful applicants could receive up to a 50 per cent contribution for project costs.
This funding is part of a $40-million provincial government commitment to expand the Connecting British Columbia program.
The province adds says an additional $83 million in funding from federal, provincial and local partners has been announced since January 2018, which will benefit an estimated 187 communities — including 69 Indigenous communities.