Fast reliable internet is more important
“Fast reliable internet is more important than ever. In fact we couldn’t be here today without it,” said Lisa Beare, BC’s Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Today I can tell you that the Connecting British Columbia program is approving more than $10.5 million in grants to improve internet speeds on BC’s coasts. This means that people in places like Zeballos and Quadra Island and Bella Coola will soon see improved internet speed and reliability. People benefitting from these projects are members of several indigenous projects as well: the Haida, the Nuxalk, Ehattesaht and the Klahoose Nation.”
Cortes, Quadra and Zeballos
More than $4 million of this money will go to the Strathcona Regional District.
According to Cortes Island Regional Director Noba Anderson, “Internet connectivity at a regional scale has been one of the key priorities of the Regional District for a little shy of a decade.”
Telus has been looking at potential sites for communication towers, but a number of Cortes residents expressed their opposition to this kind of idea when Connected Coast came to Manson’s Hall two years ago. They were concerned about electromagnetic waves emanating from wireless communication towers.
“When the Regional District did outreach about our ‘last mile’ priorities a couple of years ago, it was really clear that people wanted fibre (cables) to their homes,” explained Anderson. “We will get fibre active cable that will connect into that subsea cable, run along the telephone poles and into people’s homes. As far as I understand, we need to have this project completed by the Fall.”
She made it clear that this is not a business case that Telus or any other internet provider would have used, it was only financially feasible because of government funding.
Importance to North Island
“I really want to say thank-you to everybody who helped make the investment in coastal communities come to fruition. So many people in my constituency are looking forward to the Connected Coast project. It brings such great benefits to the North Vancouver Island, whether it be just connecting to government services (Tia health), distance education, Emergency Management BC, or to create those economic diversification portfolios for those small communities that are trying to transition through our new economy,” said North Island MLA Michele Babchuk, who was Chair of the Strathcona Regional District during the latter phase of negotiations.
She added, “Struggling with those slow download speeds and unreliable connections has been (difficult) for people in the North Island.”
Links of Interest
- (Gov of BC) Major connectivity investments for coastal communities
- (Cortes Currents) articles about the Connected Coast project
- (Gov of BC) Connectivity in BC
- (Gov of BC) Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery
- Tia health website
- (IntechOpen) Electromagnetic Radiation from Cellphone Towers: A Potential Health Hazard for Birds, Bees, and Humans
- (McGill) A Close Look at Cell Phone Towers
- (Gov of Canada) Facts about towers
This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.
Mom teaching her daughter on a laptop by Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)