RDEK eyes broadband funding partnerships

The RDEK is looking at using money collected from an existing gas tax fund to go towards the expansion of regional broadband projects

  • Sep. 9, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Trevor Crawley

The RDEK is looking at using money collected from an existing gas tax fund to go towards the expansion of regional broadband projects in partnership with internet service providers.

“We’re really trying to work with the internet service providers, because we feel that this should be done by the private sector,” said Area C director Rob Gay. “Government’s got a role in trying to improve the private sector’s business case in some places.”

Gay said that, until recently, funding from the federal gas tax could only go towards a limited shortlist of water or sewer projects.

“Now, what’s happened is the list is quite long,” continued Gay. “It includes roads, trails, broadband and internet connectivity, so we had a discussion yesterday [Thursday] with the directors to see if there was a desire to use some of that money to help bring broadband to those rural and remote communities that aren’t serviced by the big telecoms or even the little ones.”

Gay acknowledged that there are concerns, which were raised by his fellow directors during the Electoral Area Services committee meeting, that the gas tax funds are limited, and any funding should be judiciously spent.

That being said, Gay adds that the RDEK has done extensive mapping and is aware of the regions that don’t currently have access to broadband.

There is a federal plan in place that calls for five Mbps (megabits per second), but many people only have one or one and a half Mbps, Gay said.

“Our plans for the Kootenay and Boundary are are lining up very closely with the federal plan, so that’s really nice,” Gay said.

“The feds are going to have a call for proposals this fall…it’s only going to be available to the internet service providers, so what we, as a committee, want to do is help these small businesses and not-for-profit societies, in some cases, be ready for that call, so that’ll be another piece of our work.”

The Columbia Basin Trust and the Regional Broadband Committee, which consists of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary, East Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap along with the Village of Valemount and Ktunaxa Nation Council, recognize that collaboration is key to funding broadband access.

The committee has identified seven strategic goals in regard to a regional broadband  strategy, which includes the five Mbps to 80 per cent of households that cannot currently access it by 2016. Priorities include broadband for at-home businesses, tele-workers, students, and healthcare access through tele-medicine diagnostic and specialty care services.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read