The COVID-19 Pandemic has heightened the need for citizens and businesses to be using services online. But in many parts of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), access to reliable, high-speed Internet connections can be a roadblock.
The issue of access to quality broadband Internet in rural and remote areas of the country has been recognized by the Federal Government, which has set up a $1.75 billion Universal Broadband Fund to get Canadians connected.
The CSRD Board agreed to issue letters of support for two separate applications to this fund which would enhance connectivity in various areas across the regional district.
The first letter of support was issued to TELUS to assist in the upgrade of 17 facilities across the CSRD including sites in the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Field, Three Valley Gap, Yard Creek, Sicamous, Fly Hills, Eagle Bay, Scotch Creek and Falkland. It also includes the development of two new facilities at Gardom Lake and Shaw Road. This project would come at no cost to the CSRD.
The second application is coming from the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation, requiring a six-year funding commitment. In the CSRD region, this application proposes to improve high-speed Internet in Electoral Area A (Rural Golden). The funding structure of the application requires the CSRD to fund five per cent of the proposal, which amounts to $966,000 over a six-year term.
Town of Golden Council also voted to support the proposal at their February 23, 2021 meeting.
Electoral Area A Director Karen Cathcart was thrilled to receive unanimous CSRD Board support for the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation’s application.
“Area A and the entire community will finally be moving forward with connectivity across the board. Right now, the lack of access is a tremendous hurdle. This is a game-changer,” said Cathcart.
Applications to the fund are being accepted until March 15, 2021.