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Gulf Islands get Internet boost

The Gulf Islands are about to get a better connection to the world with $253,500 in funding to improve Internet speeds.

The Gulf Islands are about to get a better connection to the world with $253,500 in funding to improve Internet speeds.

The province has partnered with Beacon Wireless on a project that should improve the connectivity of about 1,000 households on the islands.

Beacon Wireless will construct four radio tower sites to connect unserved areas of Gulf Island communities and improve connection speeds for areas with existing coverage. The towers will be shared with emergency services to improve safety, and complement other improvements being made by Internet service providers in the region.

“There is a direct relationship between connectivity and a strong economy. Our $126,750 contribution will help Gulf Island businesses better compete, enable residents to connect with the world and provide opportunities for students to access online education,” said Todd Stone, B.C. minister of transportation and infrastructure.

Parts of Gabriola Island, James Island, Moresby Island, Pender Island, Penelakut Island, Sidney Island, Thetis Island, and Valdes Island will benefit from the investment, as will the smaller islands Coal Island, De Courcy Island, Gooch Island, Hudson Island, Piers Island, Ruxton Island, the Secretary Islands, and Wallace Island.

Provincial funding comes from Connecting British Columbia, a $50-million grant program created to support new and upgraded backbone and last-mile infrastructure projects in rural and remote communities. So far, the program has provided $10 million to about 25 projects around the province. — TC