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Golden’s internet to improve

“Connectivity is critical and extremely critical in rural areas.”
Black Press file photo.

Hundreds of homes in Electoral Area A of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District will become better connected.

At the July 20 board meeting in Salmon Arm, Area A Director Karen Cathcart sought and received board support for a $41,539 withdrawal from the Strategic Priorities Community Works Funds for a large project to improve Internet connectivity.

In a June 30 report to the board, Jodi Pierce, CSRD Manager, Financial Services advised that the Ktunaxa Nation Council had been successful in their application to Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) for the Universal Broadband Fund to provide a mixture of fibre optic and wire connectivity infrastructure to 273 homes.

Area A’s contribution will go to a $2,578,734 project to provide Internet services within the electoral area and Electoral Areas E and F in the Regional District of the East Kootenay.

Funding of $2,473,734 has been leveraged from many partners, leaving a $105,000 shortfall, said Pierce. “Improving connectivity within rural and remote communities enables our residents to engage in numerous aspects of the digital economy, including those residents from under-represented groups,” she noted. “Internet has become an essential service and provides access for residents to numerous benefits such tele-health, distance learning and telework.”

As well, Pierce points out that reliable internet has become a virtual requirement for residents and businesses alike and supports long term growth of our communities.

Directors unanimously approved Cathcart’s request for $41,539 to be contributed to the project. The remainder of the $105,000 has been approved by the Regional District of the East Kootenay, for the portion of the project in their area.

Cathcart noted what a difference the project would make for her residents and Golden Mayor Ron Oszust supported her request by saying, “Connectivity is critical and extremely critical in rural areas.”

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