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Province boosting internet speed, service in B.C.'s rural, remote and Indigenous communities

Last Updated Apr 24, 2020 at 4:57 pm PDT

FILE - This June 19, 2017 file photo shows a person working on a laptop in North Andover, Mass. Many now are working and studying from home to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, one that's testing how productive people can be in a pandemic. It's also challenging the capacity of the internet, home Wi-Fi systems and video-chat services amid unprecedented demand. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

A total of $50 million will be available so service can be expanded and sped up by the end of June

As the pandemic forces more people to work, learn from home access to fast and reliable internet service is crucial

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As more of life moves online due to social distancing and self-isolation requirements, internet service in B.C.’s rural, remote and Indigenous communities is getting a boost from the provincial government.

Companies that want to launch internet upgrade projects will be provided grants of up to $50,000 or 90 per cent of the total costs of their projects, according to a release from the province.

“This approach will ensure that underserved businesses and households through B.C. are getting access to faster internet as quickly as possible,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services Friday.

“It will also allow people to learn, to work, stay at home, and remain connected to loved ones. It will also give people better access to online healthcare and mental health supports at this time of self-isolation.”

A total of $50 million will be available so service can be expanded and sped up by the end of June.

The funding is being administered 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.

“We all have to work together to protect the health and safety of our families and neighbours,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust in a statement.

“Immediate investments in network upgrades can help ensure that people have the reliable internet access they need, not just to work and study from home, but to keep in touch remotely with friends and family during this challenging time.”