COVID-19: Funding announced to improve internet connectivity for B.C.’s rural, remote and Indigenous communities

COVID-19: Funding announced to improve internet connectivity for B.C.'s rural, remote and Indigenous communities
John Robertson/CBC
B.C. has announced COVID-19 response funding to improve internet connectivity in the province.

The B.C. government has announced funding to help rural, remote and Indigenous communities get faster internet services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government said the $50-million Connecting British Columbia program now has funding available for internet service providers to do immediate network equipment upgrades to rapidly improve capacity and internet speeds in underserved communities in the province.

“People working from home, students learning remotely and families practising physical distancing all need to know they can depend on internet access during this public-health emergency,” Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services, said in a statement.

“Responding to the pandemic requires the best from all of us. Our communities need reliable internet access right now, and this new fund will get projects completed quickly.”

The government said internet service providers (ISPs) have reported an increased demand on networks, which in some cases can cause slowdowns or even outages. The Connecting British Columbia’s COVID-19 response funding will enable ISPs to make immediate upgrades to their networks.

Internet service providers throughout the province can apply for grants of up to $50,000 – or 90% of their expenses – to cover the cost of equipment, including antennas, electronics or other types of devices that relate to the performance or range of their network.

Applications are now being accepted by Northern Development Initiative Trust. Submissions will be reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis, with funding decisions made within three to five business days. Internet service providers must complete their projects by June 30, 2020.

Grants will be funded through the existing Connecting British Columbia program. Applications are being accepted for both the new COVID-19 response funding and the existing Phase 3 Connecting British Columbia quarterly intake, the government said.

The application for the Connecting British Columbia COVID-19 response funding can be found here:


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