Provincial Rural Internet Connectivity Grant Application Deadline Approaching

Northern Development recognizes that broadband internet connectivity is a strategically important economic development driver for our region, particularly for rural and remote communities in central and northern BC.  We encourage all communities, non-profits, and businesses within the region seeking Provincial funding support for infrastructure required to deliver internet connectivity to homes and businesses in rural and remote areas to apply to the recently announced Connecting Citizens Grant Program.
The application deadline is November 7, 2008.

About the Network BC
Connecting Citizens Grant Program

The Connecting Citizens Grant Program is a $5.2 million, multi-year grant program. It helps to pay for infrastructure required to deliver Internet connectivity to homes and businesses in rural and remote areas of British Columbia.

The high cost of last mile infrastructure has been identified by communities, regional Internet service providers and broadband advocates as one of the key barriers to expanding service to citizens in and around rural and remote communities in British Columbia.

The Connecting Citizens Grant Program was created to eliminate last mile barriers, enabling connectivity to more citizens in more parts of British Columbia.

The first year of this program (ending March 31, 2009) will see $2.2 million in grants dispersed to support BC community connectivity. Network BC will grant up to $50,000 per community to organizations and/or businesses that can demonstrate an ability to expand Internet service to more British Columbians in rural and remote areas.

This program is the latest in a series of initiatives to Bridge the Digital Divide in BC.

Definition of Last Mile Infrastructure

Last mile infrastructure includes networking equipment such as routers, antennae and supplies required to connect local buildings in the community to an Internet gateway or a point-of-presence (POP). Typically, these POPs will be provided through either the Network BC / TELUS Connecting Communities program or other private or government programs.

Application Process

Any communities applying for the Grant are required to complete the Connecting Citizens Grant application form, describing how they plan to use the funding to successfully extend broadband coverage to their community. Applications will be evaluated by an adjudication committee and all applicants will be notified of the results.

Eligible Applicants

An eligible applicant can be a for-profit or a not-for-for profit organization. Examples include: local and regional Internet service providers; community broadband networks; local governments such as regional districts; and, economic development organizations.
National service providers are not eligible for the program.

Program Guidelines

  • These funds are to support the expansion of community-based network projects and to extend broadband connectivity to homes, businesses and community agencies.
  • Demonstrating community support and involvement is a requirement of this application.
    • The majority of members of the organization applying must reside in the community, or the organization applying must represent a region or area where the community is located.
    • Applicants must have letters of support from the community to apply on behalf of the community.
  • The applying organization will own the equipment.
  • Having an Internet service provider is very important for your project’s success.

Funding Priorities

  1. Last mile service in communities that received an Internet gateway or point of presence under the Bridging the Digital Divide program and do not have last mile services in place (http://www.network.gov.bc.ca/docs/Appendix_A_151_Communities.pdf).
  2. Expansion of service within communities that received an Internet gateway or point of presence under the Bridging the Digital Divide program (http://www.network.gov.bc.ca/docs/Appendix_A_151_Communities.pdf).
  3. Expansion of broadband services to communities and locales that neighbour the 366 communities identified under the Bridging the Digital Divide program (http://www.network.gov.bc.ca/docs/Appendix_B_366_Communities.pdf).
  • Preference will be given to applicants that have not directly benefited from previous government funding to establish a broadband network in their community.
  • Preference will be given to local eligible applicants that demonstrate the ability to delivery last mile services.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with locations that have an Internet gateway or point-of-presence in place.

Funding

  • A one-time Grant per community up to $50,000.
  • Only one application will be supported for connectivity in each community.
  • Funding cannot be applied to projects already completed.

Timing

Grants will be provided by March 31, 2009.

Connectivity projects must be completed by March 31, 2010.

Deadlines

Applications must be received no later than Nov 7, 2008.

About Network BC

Network BC provides leadership and support for strategic use of telecommunications in B.C. Currently, Bridging the Digital Divide in rural and remote areas is a key focus. Network BC develops strategies to increase opportunities for connectivity in rural and remote areas, and to sustain connectivity already achieved.

Please contact Network BC with any further questions regarding community eligibility.
More information can be downloaded from the Network BC website at http://www.network.gov.bc.ca, or you can contact the Network BC office at 250-356-6118.

Submit completed application to:
Attention: Connecting Citizens Grant Program
Fax: 250 952-0254
Mail: PO Box 9412 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9V1
E-mail: digitaldivide@gov.bc.ca

For further information please call:
Network BC
Toll-free outside Victoria/Vancouver: 1-800-663-7867
(ask to be transferred to Network BC)
Tel: 250-356-6118