The Connecting British Columbia program is a province-wide program administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust (Northern Development) and is available to all eligible applicants. It is funded by the Province of British Columbia.
The current objective of the multi-year Connecting British Columbia program is to accelerate the delivery of high-speed internet connectivity at minimum target speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) down and 10 Mbps up to homes and businesses in rural communities in BC. Applications that are able to demonstrate the ability to support the target of 50/10 Mbps are highly preferred.
The high cost of infrastructure has been identified by local governments, First Nations, and internet service providers as one of the key barriers to expanding internet services. The Connecting British Columbia program helps pay for infrastructure required to deliver high-speed internet connectivity to rural areas of the province.
Transport projects funded under the program must achieve one or several of the following objectives:
- Provide new infrastructure or upgrades to existing infrastructure to allow improved availability of high-speed internet in areas with limited coverage. Examples of upgrades are replacing of old copper cables and replacing aging or saturated radio links.
- Improve network diversity by providing alternate paths into regions with single points of failure or circuits exposed to natural or human risk factors like landslides, flooding, or fire.
- Support expansion of the 50/10 Mbps CRTC service objective at affordable rates by providing market options or competitive wholesale pricing to rural and underserved areas, or areas historically dependent on only one provider.
- Provide transport infrastructure capable of supporting future services in areas underserved by other telecommunication services like cellular or public Wi-Fi, by offering breakouts in specific geographical areas where improved coverage can be achieved.
The program intake, effective September 1, 2018, is to provide funding for transport projects to ensure that infrastructure investments are, to the extent possible, coordinated, scalable, provide value for money and achieve priority objectives for the region.
It is highly recommended that applications are in support of regional connectivity strategies that enable outcomes that are a priority for the local government, regional district or First Nation benefiting from the investment. Written support from the local government body is required before an application will be considered for funding.
Transport projects are defined as high-speed fibre or radio links building a point-to-point segment between two communities, or extension or breakout segments splitting from existing transport lines. High-speed means at least 1 Gbps.
Also, eligible projects must clearly provide social benefits to the serviced areas. Some examples of social benefits considered are:
- Multiple points-of-presence along the route where there is no business case for last-mile and potential to enable cellular services or 5G at later date.
- Offers value-added services like free Wi-Fi to community locations and rest areas.
- Offers internet gateway services to last-mile providers under better-than-market conditions.
- Offers pricing models reducing costs over time and improves the affordability of last-mile services.
- Enabling government services in rural and underserved communities.
Applications will be reviewed and assessed on a first come, first serve basis until available funds are committed.
Transport Infrastructure Build
- Transport infrastructure includes all equipment and materials required to build and connect at least two points in a high-speed segment.
- Applications will be required to demonstrate that capacity built over the transport segment will allow for wholesale rates to provide for last-mile services at prices comparable to large urban areas in BC.
- Applications that deliver at least 1 Gbps using high-speed fibre or radio links are strongly preferred.
- Applications providing breakout points or other technical solutions to allow future builds in rural and underserved communities are strongly preferred.
- Applications supporting last-mile projects either in development or in planning phases are strongly preferred.
- Applications that provide new or improved transport where an existing internet service provider does not already provide 50/10 Mbps service will be preferred.
- Applications that share spectrum, infrastructure
Applicants must agree to own, operate, and maintain the transport infrastructure as a condition to obtain the funds.
Examples of eligible applicants include:
- Local, regional or national internet service provider.
- Local government or regional district established by BC legislation.
- First Nation or First Nation organizations – i.e., band or tribal council or a corporation controlled by a First Nation.
- Unincorporated area whose application is submitted through a regional district or a not-for-profit organization.
- Not-for-profit corporations, not-for-profit co-operatives or societies, registered and active in BC.
Individuals cannot apply to the program.
- The goal of this intake is to build high-speed transport (backhaul) infrastructure to underserved communities across BC. Communities eligible for funding are identified in Template 5 – Transport Communities.
- If a transport application contains last-mile components, please include additional attachment Template 4 – Communities and Network Capacity.
- Applications will be eligible for up to 50% contribution of eligible costs.
- Applicants may submit more than one application for transport projects.
- Applicants who received funding during previous intakes are not restricted from applying.
- Funding decisions are final.
Please review and complete all program documents in detail as incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
Complete application forms with all required attachments should be provided electronically to Northern Development by email.
The program will begin to accept applications on September 1, 2018, until funding is fully committed. All applications received by the program will be treated as confidential.
Please contact Northern Development staff to discuss your project in further detail.
Phone : (250) 561-2525