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Citizens' Services Minister says connectivity investments are key for north

More reliable internet service is coming to people in 19 northern communities this year, including Rolla.

Harder, better, faster, stronger is more than just lyrics to a Kanye West hit song. It is also the mantra of better Internet services in more rural areas of the Peace region.

More reliable Internet service is coming to people in 19 northern communities this year, including Rolla. Minister of Citizens' Service Lisa Beare says it hard to imagine running a business today without high-speed Internet, and yet that's exactly what many people in northern B.C. deal with.

“We have a commitment to providing high speed connectivity – it is vital for modern world,” said Beare to the Mirror this morning. “Many people don't have access to the speeds they need for business, or personal use.”

The upgrades are expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2021. Telus will receive up to $3.6 million from the Connecting British Columbia program to upgrade the performance of Internet access in northern communities, including Buffalo Creek, Gateway, Forest Grove, Eagle Creek, Canim Lake, Blue River, Salmon Valley, Willow River, Rolla and Westlake. These upgrades will help business owners in northern communities take advantage of other government supports.

"From rural residents using Telehealth, to the social side of things like important connection between grandparents, grand kids and more. Business owners who have been operating for years without it now have the chance looking to get books, billings, and promotion online a bit more.”

More work is expected, adds Beare.

“Work continues with this $90 million of economic recovery funding. It is a huge community investment - part of $180 million for rural, remote and indigenous communities.”

Vincent Communications has completed a project enabling high-speed Internet access for people in Attachie, Bear Flat, Buick, Cecil Lake, Kobes, Mile 62 ½, Montney, Pink Mountain and Wonowon. The service provider received more than $500,000 from Connecting British Columbia for the project that also lays the groundwork for connecting more nearby communities in the future.