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High-speed internet services expanded for Coldwater Indian Band

CANADA, March 24 - People in more than 120 households in the First Nations community of Coldwater 1 near Merritt now have access to high-speed internet services with the installation of new infrastructure.

“Building a stronger, more sustainable economy begins with empowering rural, remote and Indigenous communities with better access to the digital world,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “With the completion of this project, people of Coldwater 1 now have access to high-speed internet services, opening up a wide range of opportunities. We are committed to connecting every rural, remote and Indigenous community by 2027 to ensure the benefits of high-speed internet access are shared by everyone in B.C.”

The new infrastructure in the Coldwater Indian Band community has enabled access to high-speed broadband internet speeds of more than 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads.

"I am happy that Telus was able to bring high-speed internet to Coldwater. It feels like we are catching up with the world around us,” said Kristopher Oppenheim, the Coldwater Indian Band’s lands, wills and estates administrator. “Our members can now have stable internet services. We are no longer in the stone age.”

The Province invested approximately $185,000, along with a $173,000 investment by Telus Communications Inc., toward the project with a total cost of approximately $358,000.

“Access to high-speed internet has become increasingly critical for people in rural and remote communities, including many Indigenous communities,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. “It provides economic opportunities and better access to services that improve quality of life through improvements to the social determinants of health, and so much more. The completion of this project will provide more residents with the connectivity they need to access the digital economy, start on new education pathways, open new connections to mental and physical health services, and improve connection to those who matter most to them.”

In March 2022, the Province partnered with the federal government to provide as much as $830 million to expand high-speed internet services to connect all remaining rural and First Nations households in the Province.

The commitment to connect every household in B.C. to high-speed internet services by 2027 will level the playing field for British Columbians and ensure every community has better access to jobs, education, training and health care.

Quotes:

Tony Geheran, executive vice-president and chief operations officer, Telus Communications Inc. –

“Telus is committed to enabling rural, remote and Indigenous communities throughout the province, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to participate in today’s digital world, no matter where they live. We are proud to work alongside Coldwater Indian Band and the Government of British Columbia to bring our world-leading Telus PureFibre connectivity to the community for the first time, providing its members with the speeds and coverage they need to connect to the people, information and resources that matter most.”

Joel McKay, chief executive officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust –

“Residents of Coldwater now have reliable access to high-speed internet as the Connecting British Columbia funding program continues to benefit rural and remote communities throughout the province. Improved connectivity allows people living and working in Coldwater to be confident in their internet service as they participate in the global economy, distance learning opportunities, virtual health care and develop new social connections.”

Learn More:

Connectivity in B.C.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc

Northern Development Initiative Trust:
https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/partner-programs/connecting-british-columbia/

StrongerBC: BC's Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.ca/plan