Government supports Internet access in rural communities

Rural and remote access to the Internet in B.C. has received a boost in the arm.

Rural and remote access to the Internet in B.C. has received a boost in the arm.

On Thursday, the provincial government announced a $2 million investment to help rural and remote residents afford satellite Internet technology.

Customers can receive assistance for installation costs to the tune of 50 per cent or up to $250.

It can cost $500 because technicians have to travel so far in some cases.

Government partnered with Xplornet Communications Inc. and local installers to provide the subsidy to people who live where satellite Internet technology is the only option.

“Getting high speed Internet into remote areas has always been very challenging,” said Thomas Koeth, one of the owners of Can Com Electronics Ltd. in Williams Lake.

“We are excited the government is considering satellite technology as a viable option to deliver high speed service into rural areas.”

Koeth said this is the first investment of its kind made by government, but a needed one due to the challenges of servicing a province with so many forests and mountains.

“It makes it more affordable for us to get into the really remote areas,” Koeth said, noting residents in places like Bella Coola and Nemiah Valley will certainly benefit from the subsidy.

Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson said government is making the investment because the Internet has become a necessity for 21st century life.

“Getting all British Columbians online will help expand economic opportunities, connect families and help bring the world to every corner of the province.”

The program will help with the adoption of broadband, said Xplornet senior vice-president Bill Macdonald Thursday.

“Access to broad band has been out there, the challenge has been the affordability.”

Xplornet presently has three satellites in orbit — two 4Gs were launched last year. The older one will undergo some upgrades in the near future.

The company was successful achieving the tender after the government put out a request for proposals.

“We use all independent dealers to install the satellite dishes for us across the province so it will drive more business to them and benefit local economies,” Macdonald continued.

Making broad band more affordable puts rural and remote communities on a level playing field with urbanites, he added.

“Satellite internet technology can get around some of the terrain challenges faced by towers,” Macdonald said.

“If you get access to satellite TV, you can get access to satellite Internet.”

Today, more than 93 per cent of British Columbians have access to high-speed Internet.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kari, a 12-year-old Belted Galloway, produced triplets Wednesday, April 28 at Bridge Creek Ranch. (Kelly Sinoski photo -100 Mile Free Press).
Holy cow: triplets born in 100 Mile House

Linda and Don Savjord witnessed a rare experience last week at Bridge Creek Ranch.

Fireman’s Fairways between Chimney and Felker lakes is slated to open soon, following a clean up work bee this Sunday, May 9 starting at 10 a.m. (Photo submitted)
Cleanup slated for Sunday, May 9 at Fireman’s Fairways Golf Course

Fireman’s Fairway is an 11-hole, par 3 course, opened in 1994

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 11,075 since the pandemic began

Williams Lake City Hall. (City of Williams Lake photo)
Williams Lake long-term debt decreasing

The city of Williams Lake’s long-term debt sits at $8,324,241, down from… Continue reading

Lakers Car Club members Paul Christianson (from left), Jake Derksen and Frank Ruyter stand alongside a 1977 Rolls Royce the club will be auctioning off in lieu of the annual Spring Roundup. (Photo submitted)
Lakers Car Club raffling 1977 Rolls Royce in lieu of annual Spring Roundup

The Lakers would like to the thank the residents and businesses of Williams Lake for their support

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
Two cougars killed following attack in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Meghan Gilley, a 35-year-old emergency room doctor and new mom was vaccinated from COVID-19 in January, while she was pregnant. She’s encouraging others to do the same. (Submitted)
‘The best decision’: B.C. mom encourages other pregnant women to get COVID-19 shot

Meghan Gilley, 35, delivered a healthy baby after being vaccinated against the virus while pregnant

Most Read