British Columbia's digital infrastructure continued to expand in 2013, including new cellular coverage along highways and upgraded fibre optic connections to schools.
Over 730 kilometres of new cellular coverage along B.C.'s remote highways have been completed to date. This expanded service means safer travel for drivers, faster reporting of road accidents and better response times by emergency workers. Expanding connectivity along B.C. highways is one way government can further enhance the safety for all travellers ' residents, businesses and tourists.
Under the Connecting British Columbia Agreement signed in 2011, an additional 986 kilometres is scheduled to be installed by 2017. Through this agreement, the ongoing work between government and Telus continues to be the driving force in improving overall connectivity in B.C., including highway cellular expansion.
Connectivity improvements under the CBCA include:
Over 730 kilometres of new cellular coverage along primary and secondary highways, including segments along highways 1, 3, 3A, 6, 5, 5A, 6, 16, 37, 97 and the Coquihalla Highway.
As of December 2013, 208 of 437 public schools have been upgraded from legacy copper to faster fibre optic internet connections.
Maintaining 119 Internet points of presence within communities around B.C. to ensure local Internet service providers can provide service to their communities at an affordable price.
In addition, in spring 2013 Xplornet Communications was selected through a procurement process to help deliver the British Columbia Broadband Satellite Initiative. Xplornet is a leader in providing rural broadband Internet service through satellite technology. Over the next four years, government will invest up to $2 million to help bring affordable satellite-based, high-speed Internet to citizens in remote or geographically challenging locations.
Government continues to partner with the federal government and the All Nations Trust Company to support the Pathways to Technology project connecting First Nations communities to the Internet. In 2013, seven communities had connections installed.
A total of 177 out of 203 communities now have Internet access. The program continues to work on bringing access to the remaining 36 communities. For the complete media release, click HERE.