The jungle book

Funding secured to expand broadband network


Funding of $ 7.6 million has been secured to expand Columbia Basin Trust’s regional fiber optic network between Fruitvale and Nelson and between Kimberley and Wasa. Permits and other pre-construction work on the projects will begin soon, with the support of federal, provincial and regional partners.

“Our goal is to help the people of the Columbia Basin, whether they are farmers, students or home businesses, access the same level of internet service as they would in more populated areas,” said Johnny Strilaeff. , President and CEO of Columbia Basin Trust. “The development of a fiber optic network between communities is the first step among others needed to improve the connectivity of rural households in ten other communities in the basin. “

The projects will see 70 km of backbone fiber optic cable installed between Fruitvale and Nelson, benefiting the communities of Erie, Hall, Meadows, Montrose, Park Siding, Puerto Rico, Salmo and Ymir; and 30 km of fiber optic backbone cable between Kimberley and Wasa, benefiting the communities of Meadowbrook and Ta Ta Creek.

“Connecting rural communities to affordable high-speed internet service has been an ongoing vision of the Regional Connectivity Committee and our East Kootenay Regional District Board of Directors, ”said East Kootenay Regional District Board Chair Rob Gay. “Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to that goal and is an exciting step forward for the Kimberley to Wasa Corridor.

Hans Cunningham, Zone G manager in the Central Kootenay Regional District, said he was extremely pleased with the extension of the fiber backbone from Fruitvale to Nelson. “This link will provide Wi-Fi security and additional capabilities by completing the Three Towns Loop, and also provide high-speed Wi-Fi to the area it passes through. It is really necessary. “

The goal is to be completed by March 2024, subject to permits and other factors that may impact the construction schedule. Once completed, Internet service providers can connect to the WAN to provide services to homes. In addition to bringing high-speed connectivity to underserved areas, households that already have broadband service will see improved network performance and reduced internet downtime due to outages due to incidents such as downtime. accidental fiber breaks.

“Affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access is so important to many of us in rural British Columbia, and that’s why our government is investing more than ever in connectivity projects for rural communities across the country. the province, ”said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary. for rural development. “These partnerships and investments help give our communities and residents the potential to truly prosper economically, socially and individually. “

The Trust is providing a total of $ 1.29 million to the two projects. Other funders include the Federal Council of Radio-Television and Telecommunications Canada ($ 4.9 million through the Broadband Fund), the provincial government ($ 800,000 through the Connecting British Columbia program), the District Central Kootenay Regional District ($ 400,000) and East Kootenay Regional District ($ 200,000).

These projects, along with the 185 km of backbone currently under construction in the Slocan Valley and the south of the country, will bring the Trust’s fiber optic network in the basin to 1,250 km. Learn about the Trust’s work in broadband

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the basin, visit