Bowser, Qualicum Beach and Nanoose First Nation are included in a multi-million dollar funding announcement for high-speed internet in rural areas. — Photo courtesy of Government of Canada/Government of B.C.

Qualicum Beach, Bowser to get high-speed internet

Funding from provincial, federal governments

Remote communities in B.C. will soon have high-speed internet following a more than $45-million investment from the provincial and federal governments.

This investment will help residents of these communities connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age. It will also help connect schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to networks that are essential to their services.

Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott announced Wednesday (Jan. 17) Ottawa would commit $34 million to build 3.5 million metres of subsea fibre optic cable along B.C.’s coast. The remaining $11.4 million will come from the province through the Connecting British Columbia program.

RELATED: 154 remote B.C. communities to get high-speed internet

The money will also help connect 44 First Nations communities.

Included in the funding are Bowser, Qualicum Beach and the Nanoose First Nation.

However, The NEWS called the Regional District of Nanaimo and Nanoose First Nation and neither was aware of the funding announcement.

“I know there’s work in the background at the federal and provincial level to bring high-speed internet to our more rural areas, so obviously, I see this as a very positive thing.” said RDN Chair and Area H (Bowser) Director Bill Veenhof. “It connects people better. It’s good for business — very good for business.”

Of the $45.4 million, $22 million will come from the Connect to Innovate program, $12 million will come from Indigenous Services Canada and $11.4 million will come from the Government of British Columbia though the Connecting British Columbia program.

According to the Government of Canada news release, Connect to Innovate is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.

With files from Kat Slepian/Government of Canada news release

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