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Faster internet incoming for multiple smaller Vancouver Island communities

Rural residents to benefit from $4.5M in funding by province, Telus
Nanoose Bay residents along the Island Highway can look forward to faster internet services soon, according to the provincial government. (Kevin Forsyth photo)

About 1,800 households in seven rural, remote and Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island and three Gulf Island communities can look forward to new high-speed broadband internet.

“Providing the same level of access, quality and opportunities in communities across B.C. is vital,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Reliable, high-speed internet access for rural, remote and Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands will further bridge the digital divide and bring B.C. closer to connecting every community in B.C. with high-speed internet access by 2027.”

Provincial investments for as much as $3.8 million for high-speed connectivity expansions will build new last-mile fibre-to-the-home connectivity infrastructure, providing access to broadband internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads, according to a news release. This means access to faster, more reliable broadband internet services.

More than 600 households in Sproat Lake, Forbidden Plateau near Comox Valley and Ross Road, including approximately 2.3 kilometres along Island Highway East in Nanoose Bay, will benefit from as much as $2.5 million in provincial funding through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered through the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT). Telus contributed as much as $2.2 million toward the approximately $4.7-million total cost of the project.

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People in Telegraph Cove, Holberg, Houpsitas 6 of the Kyuquot First Nation and Winter Harbour on northern Vancouver Island, as well as the communities of Van Anda on Texada Island, Galiano Island and Saturna Island, will benefit from faster internet, thanks to $4.6-million in joint federal and provincial funding that will connect more than 1,200 households.

The province has invested as much as $1.3 million through the Connecting British Columbia program, alongside a $3.3-million investment from the Government of Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund. The estimated $6.5-million total cost of the projects also includes as much as $1.2 million contributed by internet service provider CityWest and as much as $618,000 in other funding.

In March 2022, the province partnered with the federal government to provide as much as $830 million to expand high-speed internet services to underserved rural and First Nations communities.

Telus anticipates residents in 600 homes, which includes those in Nanoose Bay, can expect to notice improved connectivity in approximately 12 months, but hopefully sooner.

The CityWest project will start in 2023.

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