Residents between Jaffray and Roosville are enjoying better internet connectivity thanks to the installation of 60 kilometers of high-speed fiber optic cable funded by a partnership of local and regional government entities.
The broadband network is a series of interconnected fiber optic cables, located both above and below ground, that transfer information at high speed and in volume. New cables connect Jaffray to the US border at Roosville including Yaq̓it ʔa knuqⱡi’it, Grasmere and Baynes Lake plus an additional branch to Kragmont.
“Affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet connectivity is no longer a luxury, it’s a basic requirement for accessing information and services in today’s world,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President of Columbia Basin Trust, which provided over $1 million to the project. .
“Too many basin communities continue to struggle with inadequate connectivity and residents have clearly expressed the need to upgrade their services to the same level as those offered in more populated areas.”
Internet access is critical to accessing and connecting to the services people rely on, especially in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, said Katrine Conroy, MPP for Kootenay West.
“This project to expand internet access in the South Country will open up a world of economic, employment and educational opportunity for people in these communities to succeed and contribute to the continued success of our province,” said Conroy.
The South Country project cost a total of $2.8 million, including more than $1 million in funding from the Columbia Basin Trust and $420,000 from the East Kootenay Regional District. The project also received $1.4 million through the Connecting British Columbia program, funded by the province and administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Joel McKay, chief executive of Northern Development Initiative Trust, said it will strengthen social, business and educational connections for people living in local communities.
“As administrators of the Connecting British Columbia program, we are thrilled to see another project benefiting rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
Tough Country Communications is an Internet service provider that has linked its network to the new section. One client, Janet Williamson, has a home in Kragmont, working as a pharmacist remotely while her husband keeps in touch with his environmental businesses in Calgary and Edmonton.
“We were able to do just about anything we needed to do without worry (with the updated connection),” Williamson said. “Multiple family members can perform various online activities at the same time. It was awesome.
The Trust is about to complete a 125 kilometer expansion of its network in the Slocan Valley, just north of Nakusp. There are two additional projects underway which will add approximately 100 kilometers of cable in total between Fruitvale and Nelson and between Kimberley and Wasa.
When all these sections are completed, the Trust’s backbone will be 1,285 kilometers long.
Internet and Telecom