A $366,000 grant will expand high-speed Internet service to Peace Region communities by 2017, the provincial government announced Wednesday.
The expanded service will benefit communities including Arras, Rose Prairie, West Doe, and Swan Lake.
"Accessibility to online services and resources is becoming more and more essential," Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier said in a statement. "This program will help Peace residents take advantage of the opportunities in the digital world."
Expanding high-speed Internet service has been a priority for the provincial government since at least 2012 when it announced a $2-million plan to bring affordable Internet to families in remote regions of the province.
The projects related to this latest announcement will be funded through a $10-million, multi-year grant program called Connecting British Columbia that helps to pay for infrastructure required to deliver high-speed Internet connectivity to homes and businesses in rural B.C.
The Peace Region Internet Society will receive the funding. Other communities to benefit from the funding include Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Hudson’s Hope, Charlie Lake, Blueberry River First Nation, Pouce Coupe, Kiskatinaw, Progress, Grandhaven, Cecil Lake, Two Rivers and Baldonnel.
It is among nine projects funded through Connecting British Columbia granted to more than 80 B.C. communities, totalling more than $1.1 million. An additional eight projects in 70 communities were announced last year.
Connecting British Columbia is administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust and covers the entire province. Eligible applicants are selected based on their project’s potential to provide expanded or improved Internet service to British Columbians in rural and remote areas.
The province says it is on track to meet its goal of 100 per cent high-speed connectivity before 2021. Ninety-four per cent of British Columbians have access to high-speed Internet.